Going Swift, the Apple Way

My iPod Nano Gen 6

I’ve been using Windows my whole life, and the only segue I’ve had into Apple was my obsession with the iPod Nano, 6th Generation – which I still have, and pulled out just for this post. Every job that I’ve had has used Windows, and every course I’ve taken in school also used Windows; so, I really haven’t had a reason to use, or even learn how to use, the Apple Operating System (iOS) or Mac Operating System (MacOS).

However, the research that I have been doing regarding educating K-12 in Computer Science (CS) pulled up multiple papers regarding teaching CS to K-12 through the utilization of Swift. I wanted to know more about Swift, and oddly enough, Dr. Dana Edberg, Professor and Information Systems (IS) Chair at the University of Nevada, Reno, had recently received an invitation to the Apple Summit Sierra Store** for a Swift demo. Naturally, I asked if I could attend, and was encouraged to go.

The event opened with a panel of speakers that consisted of owners and managers from different types of industries located in Reno, NV. The panel speakers consisted of:

I would like to elaborate on the things that they had to say regarding hiring employees and encouraging the education of CS and IS to youth in another post, but for now I want to focus on Swift.

Watching the presentation and demo, presented by Apple Representative David, was not only informative on the Swift computer language, but it was fun! It was interesting to me to see the comparison between Swift and Javascript, C++, and other programming languages: what takes Javascript pages of code, takes Swift only a single line. For someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to spare, faster code is usually the way I choose to go – and it doesn’t hurt that the code itself would take up less “space.” Just saying.

Apple’s Swift Playgrounds

Now, the demo? I wasn’t able to play Swift Playgrounds directly, but I could see how the simplistic design of the game allowed for easy-learning. To be honest, I wanted to go and buy an iPad so that I could download and play the game. I feel like this will be a summer project that I do so that I can learn the Swift language… maybe.

However, due to the recent birth of the CS for All program in Chicago, IL, there may be more of an incentive for myself and others to learn Swift. The main one being that students in Chicago are being provided with the appropriate technology and tools to not only learn Swift, but to be successful with it. How, you ask? Apple partnered up with the CS for all Program in order to create Everyone Can Code.

What does this mean for myself and others in my field? It means that we may need to educate ourselves about using and understanding Swift in order to remain competitive in the CS/IS industry.

What are your thoughts on this?
Does it seem likely that the older generations will need to learn Swift in order to keep up with this new generation that has access to this opportunity through Apple?
Comment below.

** Special thanks to Rachel Macintyre, the Store Leader of Apple Summit Sierra for her enthusiastic approach to hosting this event!


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