Udacity IOS Nanodegree Review - Online Course How

Udacity IOS Nanodegree Review

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Udacity IOS Nanodegree

Upskilling is essential if you want to progress in your career or even change career paths completely. However, it can be difficult to juggle studying and working, leading many people to believe that they simply don’t have the time to study a new subject, particularly if they have a family to look after as well. 

However, the solution to the above issue comes in the form of the nanodegree: a shorter version of a full degree (usually under 12 months) that can be studied online and completed in your own time. 

Udacity is one of the main platforms offering thousands of online courses, and, in this particular article we’ll be focusing on Udacity’s iOS Developer nanodegree – one of the most popular courses offered by the learning platform, and one that is highly relevant to the ever-growing iOS job market and industry. 

If you want to find out all about this course, including what to expect, what other students say, the mentors who teach the course, as well as the cost and duration, keep reading… 

About the course

iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is Apple’s mobile operating system that was created and developed exclusively for its hardware. In Udacity’s nanodegree, you’ll begin by learning the basics of iOS app development using the Swift programming language and Xcode –  Apple’s development environment. 

Through 6 hands-on, reviewed projects, you’ll gain all of the skills you need to become an iOS Developer. You can get creative designing your first iOS apps using layouts, views, UIKit, and more, before progressing to build more complex and advanced applications, using networking and Apple’s Grand Central Dispatch and Core Data.

At the end of the course, you’ll be ready to publish your project in the App Store, and you’ll be ensured it meets Udacity – and Apple’s – high standards before publishing.

This exciting and versatile course not only covers everything you need to know to become a world-class app developer, but also features many other benefits: you’ll get to carry out real-world projects and will be able to immerse yourself in content created alongside top-tier companies specifically for this course.

You’ll also get support from your mentors throughout the program, and will have access to a vibrant online student community, as well as a range of career development opportunities such as LinkedIn optimization and support with your resume. 

Meet the Instructors 

Jarrod Parkes

Jarrod has a BS in Computer Science from the University of Alabama and is also an experienced iOS developer.

He has a passion for reinventing how students learn, so you can expect a myriad of different teaching styles and tasks adapted to a wide range of students.

Gabrielle Miller-Messner 

Gabrielle has an impressive background, having earned a Ph.D. in Population Biology from UC Davis, where she first developed an interest in programming while analyzing DNA samples.

She has experience in teaching and previously worked as an iOS Engineer before her current position at Udacity. 

Kate Rotondo 

Kate is an iOS developer and teacher, as well as a speaker and author who has appeared at conferences all over the world, from AltConf in San Francisco to Mobile Central Europe in Poland.

She also hosts a podcast aimed at parents in tech which covers work-life integration. 

Owen LaRosa 

Alongside teaching, Owen works as an iOS and Android app developer.

He is the Student Experience Lead for iOS programs at Udacity, and he has experienced the nanodegree himself, as he graduated from the iOS Developer program in 2015, so he knows exactly what you’re going through and can give you plenty of guidance. 

What are the prerequisites? 

Complete beginners are welcome to enroll on the Udacity iOS nanodegree, as no programming experience is required. However, if you’d like to try the Swift programming language out beforehand, Udacity offers a free course, Swift for Beginners, which will give you a good solid knowledge to help you throughout the iOS nanodegree. 

The iOS nanodegree involves coursework using Git and GitHub, and you don’t need prior experience of these either, however, Udacity also offers a free course in How to Use Git and GitHub, in case you’d prefer to try these out before starting. 

Course breakdown (modules)

Welcome to the Nanodegree

This is an introductory module to get you set-up and prepared for your nanodegree learning experience.

You’ll learn all about what to expect from the program, can become familiar with programming in Swift, and will also be shown how to download Xcode, Apple’s development environment for iOS.

Learn Swift Programming

In this module, you’ll learn the basics of Swift, the programming language used to develop iOS apps.

You’ll cover the fundamentals and will be assisted with easy-to-follow walkthrough tutorials to make the module as simple and straightforward as possible. 

Intro to iOS App Development with Swift

This is where you can build your first app with Swift and Xcode, Apple’s programming environment for app development.

In this module, you’ll learn how to use AutoLayout, UIButtons, and UILabels to create an interface, as well as how to react to touch events in an app using ViewController and multiple views.

Then you’ll put your new skills to the test by learning how to set up audio recording and playback for a voice recording app. 

UIKit Fundamentals

In this module, you’ll take your app-development skills to the next level by learning how to develop an app with UIKit, Apple’s front-end framework used to develop fast and powerful web interfaces.

You’ll become acquainted with the delegate pattern and will learn how to make connections between the app’s model, view, and controller, and add table views and navigation to your app to make it more user-friendly. 

Network Requests and GCD

Next, you’ll learn how to incorporate networking into your apps so that you can harness the power of APIs to display images and retrieve data.

You’ll use Apple’s Grand Central Dispatch framework (also known as GCD) to create asynchronous apps which will ensure a smooth and efficient user experience even when apps are running lengthy operations behind the scenes.  

Data Persistence

In the Data Persistence module, you’ll learn about simple persistence, the iOS File System, and the “sandbox.”

Through this, you’ll be able to set up the necessary classes to get Core Data up and running so that it’s possible to create, save, and delete model objects.

You’ll then learn how to enable user interfaces to reactively update whenever the model changes, and safely migrate user data between versions.

Final Project

The nanodegree concludes with a hands-on final project that allows you to put your iOS development skills to the test!

For this module, you’ll design and create your own iOS app using all of the steps you’ve learned above, so that you can independently develop your design from the drawing board, to the app store. 

How long does the course take? 

As we said at the beginner, a nanodegree is shorter than your average 3 or 4-year degree, and Udacity’s iOS developer course can be completed from start to finish in just 6 months if you put in about 10 hours a week.

It’s possible to complete the course in more or less time than this, but this depends on how many months’ access you pay for, which we’ll cover below. 

What is the cost?

Like we said, Udacity charges for its courses based on monthly access. This is good because it means you can pay depending on how much time you need, plus you’ll be more motivated to complete the course if you’re paying for a specific duration of access. However, this can add up if you don’t complete the course in good time. 

It costs $399 per month to access the course, or you can pay a one-off payment of  $2,034 which gives you 6 months access – the average time needed to complete the course.

So if you’re a fast learner or you’ve got plenty of time to spend on the course, the monthly option is probably going to be your best bet, otherwise, the one-off payment may work out as better value for money. 

We’d also recommend you look out for one of Udacity’s many promotions, as with the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re aiming to broaden education options for those learning from home. For example, you can enjoy promotions of up to 75% off! 

What have other learners said?

In particular, learners praise the user-friendly style of the course and the teaching methods: 

“Udacity’s iOS Developer nanodegree is the best set of programming courses I have ever taken. Even when compared to training offered by Silicon Valley tech companies, graduate-level university courses, and courses on other online platforms (Coursera and Code School in particular), Udacity’s courses are better designed. Plus, the course projects have been beyond all my expectations. At the completion of every course, I feel confident that I will be able to build world-class software–and this has never happened before. Udacity is worth every penny, and I hope more online schools and offline universities study Udacity’s methods to learn how software engineering education can be made effective.”

-Shantanu R.

They also mentioned how the nanodegree offers a wealth of information and skills that can help individuals become better developers: 

“I can’t believe how great the program was. It has a lot of short focused videos on what is most used and important in iOS Development. The projects at the end of several lessons would encourage you to use what you learned and incorporate it into the project’s solution. Information is constantly being updated so that you know what are the best practices in the technology field. This online school is designed precisely to teach you what you need and I wished I attended this four years ago. I recommend engineers of all levels to take a nanodegree and get a breadth of information that will make them a more well-rounded engineer. The professional development courses and reviews are equally good.” 

-Peter K.

Some users explained how it’s great for beginners or simply developers who want to brush up on their knowledge or improve their skills: 

“I’ve been doing iOS development for a few years now, so I came into this program with some experience. I joined mainly because I’m self-taught and don’t have a background in Computer Science; I wanted to ensure that I’m adhering to best practices and brush up on my weak areas. Some of it has been revision, but overall it’s a great program with excellent learning content–probably the best iOS program I have come across to date. Whether you’re completely new to programming, or you’re like me and have some previous experience, the iOS Nanodegree is definitely worth the time investment.

-Lybron S.

Others praised how the course has helped them excel as a programmer and even prepared them for entering the job market: 

“The iOS Developer Nanodegree is an awesome program to learn all the fundamentals and some advanced stuff of iOS Programming. The feedback reviews of your projects are incredibly useful. Furthermore, it is possible to learn good programming practices, design patterns, how to find answers on forums and documentation, etc. This was important to me because I’m not currently working as a Software Engineer and all the content that is taught in the course made me a better programmer overall. Finally, this course teaches not only how to be better technically as a programmer but also how to do well in your interviews and how to prepare your resume. 10/10 for sure.”

-Marcel O.

One thing that crops up a lot in reviews is that this course is no easy feat – you need to put the work in to get the results you want: 

“I went from 0 knowledge on iOS to a lot, I completed the final app in one day (of coding -16 h) – thanks to Udacity and its fabulous teachers, and can be directly submitted to the App Store sticking to all their standards (which are really high) . Although I’m lousy as a developer, I could be way better if I stuck to 10 hours a week. Beware to engage for those 10 hours/week for at least 2-3 months. Because every time you come back to coding is like you forgot everything. Happy coding!”

-Isaac A.

How is the job market?

Understandably, when investing in a course you want to know how it can broaden your job prospects when you come out of the other side. 

As you might have guessed, this market is booming. Look around: Apple products are everywhere – iPhones, iPads, Macbooks… and with Apple products come iOS and iOS apps. 

In 2017, global app revenue grew by 35% to reach nearly $60 billion, and iOS apps accounted for over half of that revenue, at $38.5 billion.

The talent shortage and high demand for iOS developers has driven salaries upwards: the average iOS app developer salary starts at $87,000 and finishes at $126,000, with junior developers earning around $40,000. 

According to job portal Indeed, the average salary of iOS professionals is 68% higher than the average salary for other job postings.

The main responsibilities of iOS developers and engineers include building and designing advanced native iOS apps for the iOS platform, unit-testing the code for determining sturdiness including usability, edge cases, and general reliability, identifying and fixing bottlenecks and bugs, evaluating and implementing new technologies to maximize development efficiency, and finally, maintaining code quality and organization, and building sophisticated multithreaded apps. 

The good news is that Udacity’s iOS nanodegree will get you equipped with all of the necessary app development knowledge required to enter the iOS job market. The course is continually updated to ensure it’s as relevant as possible – which is essential in this fast-paced industry. 

Is this course for me?

Whether you’re completely new to iOS development or you’re self-taught, Udacity’s nanodegree is perfect for getting you up-to-scratch with the essential knowledge and skills required to develop successful iOS apps.

Even if you have prior experience in the field, the nanodegree can still help you by ensuring your knowledge is up-to-date and that you’ve covered all the bases.

Udacity caters to a broad range of learning styles to ensure that the course is suitable for everyone, and it offers plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials and videos to make learning a breeze.

It’s also great for anyone who enjoys hands-on tasks, as the real-world projects allow you to get a taste of what it’s like to work as an iOS developer, while the immersive content has been built in partnership with top tier companies to ensure you master the most relevant and up-to-date skills. 

Udacity’s courses strike a great balance between offering flexible learning that fits around your schedule, while also ensuring you have support whenever you need it. For example, you’ll have access to resume support, Github portfolio review, and LinkedIn profile optimization to help you take your career to the next level and land a high-paying role.

Not only this, but the course is guided by four knowledgeable mentors who will assist your learning with their expertise by answering your questions and keeping you motivated and on-track throughout the course. 

About the Author Jacob M.

Jacob has a background in finance and engineering. Outside of his day job, he is a lifelong learner, who enjoys reading, taking online courses, and writing about what he's learned.

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