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15 Nov

Swift Course Number 1

Written by Patrick Delaney
in Blog
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Begin Swift CertBeginning Swift Course....

Well that's the first of my three planned courses done - a rather pleasant couple of days spent with the guys at the Amsys London office on their Beginning Swift Development course.

 

Overview
This course has a maximum of 8 people attending though there were 6 on this particular course.  These two days were led by Richard, who is the Amsys Technical Director, an approachable guy who was more than willing to put up with my constant questions and was certainly good enough to be able to supply the answers :)  Others on the course included a PHP guy, someone from the fashion industry and a stay-at-home Dad looking to bolster his database skills.  The others were Amsys staff, one from the marketing department and a fellow trainer who is learning Swift from his Obj-C background.

Location
Just off Oxford Street, with the nearest tube station being Oxford Circus.  Very central and easy to get to, well served by public transport and lots of nice cafe's and suchlike around.  Obviously Oxford Street can get very busy so I ensured I got there for 07:30 on both days and settled into a coffee shop before the 09:00 start.  My advice would be to get there a touch early to avoid playing elbow tennis with the commuting natives!

Talking of start times, it made a very refreshing change to get a full day in(!) none of this 10:00 start, 16:00 finish and plenty of breaks in the meantime - that just annoys the hell out of me.  This has become so prevelant in the training industry that the 09:00 till 17:30 with an hours lunch gave a "value for money" feeling.

Facilities
Each students area comprised both a new 21" iMac and an iPad.  The iMac had a very clean installation so there was no fussing around the OS trying to find everything, everything we needed was right there and nothing else to get in the way - oh - and the obligatory internet connection.  The iPads hold the training documentation and the labs we walked through, like the iMac's the iPads were free from unnecessary clutter, just holding what we needed.  A nice touch was that the iPads were in stands, portrait oriented, just beside the iMacs which made life very easy.  A very nice, clean, modern, airy and uncluttered setup - nice.

There were two coffee making areas available and each had a biscuit jar for the necessary 3pm sugar rush.  I'm a bit of a coffee hound and the vending machine style coffee makers didn't really cut it for me, not nice - maybe some filter coffee is in order?  Two toilets available, though wasn't a problem, I could see a queue developing with a full house, especially when one went out of order on the second day!

Course Content
Begin Swift ContentThis is a basic course, and it is sold that way.  Heavily focussed in on the Syntax basics - this is an If statement - this is a While loop.  This is as much an introduction to programming course as it is focussed on the language and would be a great starting point for someone looking to get into software development.  In all honesty I didn't learn anything 
and that's a good thing, I was hoping not to, I've been programming long enough that this stuff shouldn't be new to me!!!!  My aim in attending this course was to cement what I've spent a few weeks learning about the language, fundamentals are everything, I wanted confirmation that I'm on the right track.

We were each presented with a memory stick at the end of the course which contained the training manual and labs, this manual is basically copies of the slides the presenter used but should suffice.  Another nice touch is the instructors give you 30 days support after the course via email to supplement what you have learnt.

Conclusion
If I'd been asked to pay full price for this course I wouldn't have attended, however, what it really ended up costing me was my time and for the affirmation that I'm well on the way meant it was a very worthwhile couple of days.  That's not to say I got nothing out of it, I now have a far better understanding of optionals.  Plus Richard was kind enough to indulge my slightly more advanced questions, I just hope I wasn't too much of a pain.   I do recommend this course if your a new developer, this will get you moving in the right direction quickly.  If your an experienced developer then you may be better served with the Apple docs and the freely available online resources, but if you do decide to attend, make sure you have the right mindset to get the most out of it.

I will certainly use Amsys again for the more advanced stuff I need, I just wish their 5 day iOS course was Swift ready sooner than January - I'm looking to move very quickly here so it may be I end up going to the one other provider of Swift training I've found.

Pat Delaney

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