Starting to Program by Learning Swift

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.08.19 PM
Learning how to code my first app

When I begin to learn something, I like to start with simple explanations and examples. Things that I can work through step by step to pick up concepts. If there was a “Sesame Street” style show for learning programming languages I would be all over it. Especially if it has Muppets.

Two weeks ago, I began learning the Swift coding language and Apple’s XCode. I’ve had ideas floating in my head for the past couple years on apps that I wish I had while using my iPhone and iPad. Loving Apple’s products I wanted to learn how to code mobile apps on the iPad and iPhone first. I could learn how to program on devices I love and test them on products that I own.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.18.58 PM
Learning through doing, Coding iPhone Apps for Kids provides great examples

Thanks to a great deal on Humble Bundle, I picked up “Coding iPhone Apps for Kids” by Gloria Winquist and Matt McCarthy. This a great book for those who want to learn how to code and it’s not just for kids. There’s step by step instructions for coding two apps with explanations on why you’re doing things. A great intro to the Swift Programming Language and a rundown of Xcode as an IDE (Interactive Development Environment).

Starting in September, as part of my college program, I have a yearlong course on iOS app development. I want to be ready for that class. In the first year, we are told to expect to do a lot of self-learning. A professor cannot cram everything about a program into thirteen weeks. To continue understanding programs and design we need to learn outside of school as well. I want to get a head start.

These are the next steps I’m going to take before taking my yearlong Swift Course and iOS App design:

Two books that I want to study:

Three learning paths on that I really want to finish:

  • Master Swift
  • Improve Your Xcode Skills
  • Build an iOS Application

Learning to Code

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 11.09.45 PM
Learning to code through my first program in Java 😀

I know that I lost a year when I decided to go back to school. In the two months since then, I became worried about how much I missed. What would I retain? What did I lose? How far behind was I? I wanted to work on anything that could catch me up before I go back to classes in September. I went back and read textbooks, started learning on, and decided that I was going to back a little earlier than September. I’m taking classes in May.

Still, I want to learn more. When I looked over the course possibilities that I could take in my second year I decided to learn more coding during the summer. In our program, we have three programming course chains, one for web design, two for mobile app design. I decided to focus on the programming languages that I will be learning including:

  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • Swift
  • Python
  • Ruby

Learning programming languages is like learning the world’s cultural languages. There’s a lot of syntaxes, similarities, and they all fall along similar lines of variables, objects, loops, statements. There are few differences too. It’s fun writing and then seeing the process it takes to make apps and web pages. I can’t wait until September when I focus on this in school.

For those wondering about the books, some may be basic but they’re perfect starting off points, I’m learning from here’s a list:

Back to School I Go…

I feel the same way I did when I finished my Degree in Creative Writing, overburdened and creative. The classes I took at Vancouver Island University helped me grow as a person. Screenwriting and film courses gave me a passion that I had since I was a child. Those classes introduced me to new forms of digital media. When I took courses on Interactive Media at North Island College that passion transformed into a love for digital

Peter_SelfPortrait Good
One of my favorite school project pieces was a self portrait using images for IMG 103.

art and design.


The projects I worked on and learning coding was challenging. I knew it was something that I wanted to. I want to combine my writing degree from VIU with the Advanced Communications and Interactive Design diploma from North Island College to create a new media company. Still, there’s a fear that I’m too old. Too old to start my own company or for a job inside this field.

Still, the passion I found drives me. I took a year off from the program to refocus. I was emotionally and physically drained. I spent two years as a Board of Governor. Two years of doing leadership for the school that didn’t want me. I had no focus. That created problems with mental health. You can read about on my other blog.

Now I have goals. I will build a new media company. Something that I have wanted to do for a decade. I will finish the diploma, then go to Simon Fraser University for their Masters in Digital Media. While I build towards these goals I want to write about my passion for digital media and design as well.

This blog is about my journey in design and interactive media. It’s about what I’m learning, and how I’m learning it. I’ll be placing some school work and portfolio pieces on this site. There is a link to my other blog, on how I deal with depression and anxiety in the about section as well.