Question: "Why I can't learn Swift fast enough while studying full time?"

Written by: Reinder de Vries, March 8 2015, in App Development

Hi there!

I can’t think of any general reasons why learning how to make apps with Swift might take more than 3 months, with any good course you can create your first app in a couple of days.

Let’s see what’s up with your particular situation, and see if we can find a way for you to be more successful with making apps.

Here’s what stands out in what you wrote:

  1. You mention you’re studying full time. Did you consider that “full time” could actually mean that you’re very busy? It could be that there’s simply no time for you left to learn about a topic so complicated as making apps. Also, when your brain is busy learning 8 hours a day, you don’t have much “brain juice” left when you try app making in the evening (after a busy day). Consider this: could it be that you’re actually learning well, but justnot fast enough in your opinion?
  2. If you really took some time off: how much time did you spend programming? 3 months = 500 hours of time, considering 40 hour workweeks. Did you spend all of that learning and coding?
  3. How do you measure improvement? I’m a programmer myself and I’m always stuck with code. If you consider that as an improvement measure, I must suck at coding. But what I forget: the issues I deal with are far greater and harder than 6 years ago. So, the relative strain from challenges and bugs is about the same, but the absolute skill I’ve built up ever since, is bigger! How do you compare yourself with 3 months ago? A good way to measure your programming skill is: how much code can I write, without errors, before I need to build or run the app to see whether the code is working?
  4. You say: I want to get on with coding, so I can start my startup. So, let me get this straight: you’re a full time student, who’s just started to learn how to code, and you want to build a production app, for your startup, in 3 months? That’s a challenge! A big one! I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I’m sensing that the frustration over learning apps is eating away your energy for that learning. In that way, you’re actually hurting yourself by taking up such a big challenge. Why not slim the plans down a bit?

Now, here’s what you can do:

  1. Spend less time learning. Go back to your curriculum, and spend 1-2 days at maximum on learning how to make apps. Give it your undivided time, with no interruptions. Make a habit out of learning, make it a progress, no start or finish.
  2. Set a goal for yourself: a measurable, tangible, realistic goal. Say: In 2 weeks, I want to have finished lesson 1 and 2 of the course. Or: Tomorrow, I’m going to squash this bug.
  3. Write code! Don’t copy from the course, don’t watch a video and think: “Oh I can do this, let’s skip it.” You only learn coding by doing, by typing character by character.
  4. Consider this: your app doesn’t need to be finished in order to start your startup. In a sense, you’ve already started. Is there a way you can create a mockup of your app and a landing page, and have people signup to your beta list?
  5. Consider getting a different learning resource, after reading this question: Reinder de Vries’ answer to What are the best resources to learn iOS development?

Don’t give up. I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is: you’ll be stuck with programming bugs and errors 6 months from now. The good news is: they’re not the same bugs and errors as today.

Good luck!

Originally appeared on Quora.

Reinder de Vries

Reinder de Vries is a professional iOS developer. He teaches app developers how to build their own apps at Since 2009 he has developed a few dozen apps for iOS, worked for global brands and lead development at several startups. When he’s not coding, he enjoys strong espresso and traveling.

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