While Apple’s macOS and iOS aren’t as dominant as Windows or Android, these operating systems still control a significant portion of the market. Around 16% of the laptop and desktop computers use macOS, and 25% of the mobile devices are iOS-based. Therefore, any developer interested in creating software for Apple’s platform has to know Swift, Apple’s all-purpose programming language. Is Swift easy to learn? Strap in - we are about to answer this question and see how tough Swift is to pick up compared to other coding tools.
Swift is a versatile open-source language that can be used to create both mobile and desktop apps. It is also designed to be an accessible first step for anyone that wants to start coding. Even though It’s among the easiest programming languages to learn, it’s challenging to master. Swift is similar to Scala and C++, known for their difficulty.
In Q4 2021, Apple dominated the mobile market, with a massive 22% of all worldwide smartphone shipments. Therefore, learning Swift can be an advantage landing you a mobile app developer position.
As Swift is relatively new compared to other programming languages, there still is room for innovation and new ideas. Furthermore, Swift has an active and supportive community, which newcomers will find very helpful. In addition, Swift developers are in high demand and can expect a six-figure annual salary.
How to Learn Swift?
As you might expect, how quickly you can learn Swift will depend on your programming background. There are some essential terms and concepts that beginners need to adopt before learning to code. The answer to the question “Is Swift easy to learn?” will solely depend on your previous coding experience and programming basics.
Swift is based on C and Objective-C languages while still being an objective-oriented programing language that includes classes and methods and expands on them with its own features.
So, how long does it take to learn Swift? The obvious answer is “it depends.” Obviously, it will be a lot easier if you know other programming languages. For instance, if you started programming with Ruby, you already are familiar with aspects of object-oriented programing, classes, and functions. Those same coding elements are also used in Swift.
You may need anywhere from 20 to 30 days to start writing code in Swift if you have some previous programming experience.
Learning something new can be challenging and even frustrating at times, but there are many resources available to make learning programming in Swift easier. For instance, there are Swift tutorials available online for beginners to learn the basics of coding. By enrolling in a coding boot camp or an online course, you can speed up your learning process and save time that you would otherwise have to spend on lots of trial and error.
There are many helpful resources available online, some of which teach you Swift programming for free. From simple to complex tutorials, there will be something useful that matches your learning skills and goals. If not, the Internet is full of helpful online communities where you can get help from experienced programmers. One of those is Stack Overflow’s Swift section, which, at the time of writing this article, had more than 300,000 questions answered.
Online resources like tutorials and books are a perfect starting point for anyone that wants to learn to program in Swift. “Is Swift easy to learn with these?” question,
One of the best places to start is with the official Swift documentation. It will teach you the basics of Swift programming and help build a solid foundation for further learning. The documentation covers everything from the installation process to compiling a finished program.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how long it will take to learn Swift. If you have previous experience with other coding languages and are passionate about learning the latest technologies, practically nothing can stop you from becoming an expert in Swift.
If you feel like something is missing in your knowledge after taking a course or reading a blog post, don’t hesitate to use one of the many online resources available. You can find Swift example code on many topics online, and there are plenty of video tutorials and references for anything related to the programming language. You can also dig up a lot of handy information on the web, written in easy-to-understand language. It doesn’t matter what your goal is: whether you want to improve your programming skills or start building apps from scratch using Swift, you’ll find many handy videos to teach you.
You can also use Udemy or Codeacademy, as they are often the best way to learn Swift for beginners, at least in terms of online options. The video learning platform has lots of informative courses on different programming languages suitable for beginners, including Swift. Maybe, when you are done with learning swift programming, Python can be next.
Another interactive and inventive way to learn Swift programming is with Swift Playgrounds. This is an application that you can download and install on your MacBook and iPad. It helps in the Swift coding process and for creating top-notch apps that you can later deploy on the App Store. The app includes lessons and walkthroughs that will teach you the core ideas of coding. It also includes an interactive environment and teaches you about implementing a touch-based interface.
Swift Playgrounds is perfect for students and beginners looking to master the basics of coding. It includes special features, like the Learn to Code section, which will show you how Swift works in a visual way. You can quickly learn how variables work and what different operators do just by touching the screen.
Since the app allows developers to create programs directly on their iPads, there is no need for a Mac desktop device. This way, you can learn the basics of how to code in Swift without having an actual computer to work on. Furthermore, if you have a question about your code or want to play around with it, you can simply click on the Assistant button that will show up in the right-hand corner whenever you tap somewhere. It will give you tips and hints on how to improve your code.
On the other hand, if you want to connect a keyboard to your iPad so that you can work with it more comfortably, this is also possible. Also, Swift Playgrounds includes a Learn to Code mode where you can play around with different coding exercises.
Do You Need a Mac or iPad to Start Coding?
To learn Swift code, you may think you’ll have to use a Mac or an iPad device. Thankfully, that's not the case, and you have two other options to consider. You can run a virtual machine on your Windows computer, or build a Hackintosh.
You can install a virtual machine on your Windows computer and run a fully-functioning OS X inside it. This will allow you to develop apps using Swift without owning a Mac. You will then be able to use macOS apps on your computer, as well as Swift Playgrounds.
When it comes to the development environment, you will need a virtualized OS X machine with at least 2GB of RAM and 4GB of disk space. You can then use Xcode and run any app that runs on macOS. If you cannot afford to buy a Mac or build a Hackintosh, running a virtual machine on your computer is a good way to learn about programming and mastering the Swift language.
Building a Hackintosh
Hackintosh is a non-Mac PC modified by the user to run Apple's OS.
Alternatively, you can build a PC from scratch and install OS X on it as well as all the different apps compatible with the operating system. After you’re done with the learning process for Swift, you can install a Windows or Linux-based OS.
To build a Hackintosh, you will need to find compatible hardware components and follow advice and guides by the Hackintosh community on installing macOS on them. The internet is full of guides and tutorials on how to do this and among the best is Hackintosh.com. Just make sure that you have a copy of macOS from the App Store so that you can install it.
When it comes to the hardware components, most computers will work for building Hackintosh. If a piece of hardware is declared compatible, it has been tested and approved by fellow developers. You won't have issues as long as you choose components that are well-known for working with macOS. Nonetheless, it is best to check forums and guides before buying anything to ensure that everything works smoothly.
Swift Basics and Features
Here is what a "Hello World" program looks like when written in Swift:
As you can see in the example, similarly to Ruby, Swift doesn’t require you to end your line of code with a semicolon. However, if it’s easier for you to read the code by ending each line with a semicolon, there won’t be any issues with compiling the program.
Modern Programming Language
On top of that, Swift is a modern, clean programming language that is easy to learn and master. It comes with whole new concepts such as optionals, generics, tuples, and protocols, along with some familiar ones such as classes, methods, functions, conditionals, and data types.
One of the most significant additions to Swift has been its references to optionals. Optionals mean that every variable or constant has the possibility of having either a value or no value at all (nil value). This prevents errors and crashes related to trying to access data that doesn’t exist, which was one of Objective-C’s main issues.
Swift is a type-safe language, which means the language helps you to be clear about the types of values your code can work with. If part of your code requires a string, type safety prevents you from passing it an int by mistake. Likewise, type safety prevents you from accidentally passing an optional string to a piece of code that requires a non-optional one. Type safety helps you catch and fix errors as early as possible in the development process.
Swift has another great feature that's not founded in Objective-C, and that’s tuples. These can be used as a single object that can contain multiple values. A tuple is also considered a value in itself and can contain a string, integer, or any other data value.
Is It Worth Learning Swift in 2022?
So, is Swift worth learning? The answer is an obvious and resounding yes, and there are many reasons why. The popularity of Apple's computers and mobile devices is undeniable. That's why when Swift was launched in 2014, it quickly gained in popularity and took the spot of Objective-C.
Besides being great for beginners, you can use Xcode, Apple's Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which is stable and user-friendly for new devs. Furthermore, IBM has made it possible to easily write servers with Swift using their new Kitura framework, so you are not limited to building applications.