Mobile devices are an essential part of most of our lives. Our phones allow us to stay in touch with friends and family, work on the go, respond to emails, and even stream our favorite television shows. If we have a question, we can go to the Google app and if we want to chat with a friend, for instance, we can open Zoom.
Smartphones are so popular, in fact, that they are the most popular way used to browse the internet, and it is estimated that 77% of Americans own a smartphone. In addition, even though smartphones are already popular, it is expected that smartphone use will continue to grow in the future, as we find new applications for these devices.
But how are the mobile apps we use everyday built? In the case of Apple devices, the answer lies behind a programming language called Swift. Swift, built by Apple, allows you to create applications for Apple devices, ranging from the Mac to the iPhone.
What Is Swift?
Swift is a powerful programming language that allows you to build applications for Apple devices. Using Swift, you can create iPhone apps, Apple Watch apps, Mac apps, and more.
The Swift programming language is fast, easy to use, and is based on learnings derived from many of the best languages out there. The language was designed with simplicity in mind, so getting started using Swift is simple, and once you know the basics there is no limit to what you can build.
Why Should You Learn Swift?
If you’re reading this article, you’ll be asking yourself the question: Why should I learn Swift? To answer this, we’re going to break down the top six reasons why Swift is a valuable skill to have.
#1: Swift Is Easy to Learn
The Swift programming language was built to be efficient and easy to use.
Swift uses a simple and expressive syntax that is easy to understand, even if you do not have any prior experience with coding. In fact, Swift was designed to be the first programming language for anyone to learn, according to Apple.
It’s not just the simple syntax that makes Swift so easy to learn. Apple has also developed a wide range of free learning resources that cover the main principles of Swift. These cover everything you need to know to master the fundamentals, and were written by the people who actually built Swift.
#2: Swift Developers Are in High Demand
You may be asking yourself: Are Swift developers in demand? The short answer to this question is “yes.”
According to Apple, the company has created 2,000,000 jobs across all 50 states in the United States. In addition, 1,530,000 of those are estimated to be attributable to the App Store ecosystem (meaning that they have been created as a result of companies hiring developers to build apps for Apple devices).
In terms of the labor market for Swift developers, the prospects are promising. According to Glassdoor, there are over 3,400 open jobs available in iOS development across the U.S., and those jobs comprise only a portion of the jobs in mobile application development.
This demonstrates that Swift is, in fact, an in-demand skill, and one in which there are many employers are actively looking for.
#3: Swift Developers Are Paid Well
When learning a new skill, you may be wondering, “Will this skill help me boost my salary?” If you’re interested in learning Swift to earn a higher income, you have made a good decision.
Glassdoor reports that, as of April 24th, 2020, the average base salary for iOS developers is $96,016. That’s an impressive sum even for a job in tech! In addition, as you accrue experience working with Swift, your job prospects will only become more promising.
#4: Swift Is the Future of iOS Development
Swift may have only been released in 2014, but since its launch it has advanced to become one of the most popular programming languages in the world.
According to the TIOBE Index, which tracks the popularity of top programming languages using search engine traffic, Swift is the 12th most searched for programming language, even though it has only been around for a few years.
Also significant is the fact that Swift is already ranked higher than Objective-C, which was the original programming language used for iOS development.
Because Swift is so modern—and Apple is so committed to the language—you can expect it to be around for a long time. So, if you learn Swift, you know that you’ll be learning a skill that will be valuable over the long-term.
#5: Swift Has a Supportive Developer Ecosystem
Earlier, we briefly discussed how Apple has developed a repository of resources that can help you master Swift. This is worth repeating because it shows again how committed Apple is to creating a strong developer ecosystem—the hallmark of any good programming language.
But it’s not just Apple’s online developer resources that make the ecosystem so powerful.
Every year, Apple hosts a conference called the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) where developers can come together and discuss Swift and other Apple development topics. This conference is a great place to meet developers, and also to stay in the loop with the latest in the Apple community.
Furthermore, there is a strong community following of developers who actively produce resources for learning to code in Swift. On platforms like Treehouse, Codecademy and Udemy you’ll find many tutorials that you can use to learn Swift.
#6: Swift Is a Versatile Skill and a Fast Language
Swift may be talked about most in terms of building iPhone apps, but the language is capable of doing more.
Swift is now the favored language to use for developing apps for most Apple devices, from the iPod to the iPad to the Apple Watch. Once you learn the basics of Swift, you will have the skills you need to not only build mobile apps, but also apps for other devices in the Apple ecosystem.
In addition, Swift is known well for its speed. The language uses a high-performance compiler which allows it to run effectively on modern hardware, and also offers a vast standard library which makes the developer experience even more efficient. So, if you’re looking to learn a powerful coding language, Swift is a good one to master.
Should You Learn Swift or Objective-C?
If you’ve spent some time researching iOS development, you’ve likely heard that there are two languages used: Swift and Objective-C. This may have left you wondering which one to learn.
In general, it is best to learn Swift if you want to become an iOS developer. Before Swift was around, Objective-C was the recommended language used for developing apps for Apple devices, but now Swift has largely replaced the language.
The Swift language was designed to be faster, more efficient, and provide a better developer experience than Objective-C could offer. And, since the language has been launched, a wide range of top apps from Kickstarter to Clear to LinkedIn have moved over to using Swift.
That said, learning Objective-C is not entirely useless—it is still an incredibly powerful language to learn. But, given the direction Swift has taken over the last few years to become the main language used for programming apps for Apple devices, it is probably best to learn Swift if you are choosing between the two.
You Should Learn How to Code in Swift
Learning how to code in Swift is a positive long-term investment for both your career and your personal development.
Have you ever had an app idea that you’ve wanted to build? Well, if you know how to code in Swift, you don’t have to let those thoughts remain as thoughts—you can actually turn them into real apps that you can use.
In addition, because mobile technology is such an important part of our lives—and because Apple is such a dominant player in the mobile business—knowing how to code in Swift provides a number of career advantages.
Whether you want to be a professional app developer, or whether you just have an app idea you want to build, learning Swift is a great choice!