Neil learned Swift with Treehouse and released his first Swift app
Electrical engineering student Neil Sardesai was drawn to the mobile industry and the valuable role smartphones play in everyday life. He decided to start building his own apps. In his free time Neil began learning iOS development with Objective-C, but with the growing popularity of Swift, decided he wanted to focus his learning efforts there. So Neil signed up for Treehouse and joined the Swift Track.
Shortly after, he began building Shower Savvy, an app – available in the App Store – that lets people track how long they spend in the shower, helping them cut down on utility bills and conserve water. Having enjoyed the experience of learning Swift and building Shower Savvy so much, Neil has since decided to pursue software development as a career.
We caught up with Neil to hear more about his learning experience, plans for the future, and what advice he’d share with students interested in iOS development.
I thought the teachers did a great job of explaining everything in a way that was clear and fun. And learning by building example apps really helped me gain a practical understanding of Swift and app development.
What first drew you to the mobile industry?
Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days. So I thought it’d be pretty cool to create apps – something neat that everyone can use.
What work were you doing when you first joined Treehouse & what encouraged you to learn with us?
Well, I’m a student at the University of Texas at Austin, studying electrical engineering, and I was already doing some iOS app development on the side in Objective-C. However, Swift has been gaining a lot of popularity and will most likely replace Objective-C in the future. I’d heard some good things about Treehouse’s Swift course, so I thought I might as well check it out.
You've released an app called Shower Savvy. Tell us a little about your experience learning Swift and building your app.
Shower Savvy is an app that lets people keep track of how long they spend in the shower, helping them cut down on utility bills and conserve water. Unlike many programming languages, including Objective-C, Swift is pretty easy to learn. Building the app in Swift made a lot of things much easier than if I had written the app in Objective-C. The code was a lot cleaner, it was easier to avoid bugs thanks to Swift’s strict safety features, and it’s just a fun language to use.
What has the value of a Treehouse education meant to you?
Since Swift is a relatively new language, there are few really good resources like Treehouse for learning. I thought Treehouse structured the Swift course really well. You can learn at your own pace and your own level. There’s everything from the absolute basics to more advanced topics, and you can skip over things you already know. I thought the teachers, Amit and Pasan, did a great job of explaining everything in a way that was clear and fun. And learning by building example apps really helped me gain a practical understanding of Swift and app development.
What are your plans for the future, and what’s up next on your learning path?
Since I started iOS development and really liked it, I’ve been wanting to pursue software development as a career. There are a lot of things one can do in software, and there’s always something new to learn. Recently, I’ve been interested in game development, and I’ve been trying to find some free time to do the Unity game engine course on Treehouse.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with new students who are just starting out with mobile development?
Anyone can build an app, but building a good app is hard. You really have to be motivated and care about what you’re doing. There’ll be times when your code doesn’t work and you have no idea why. You’ll often run into unexpected challenges. But you just have to be persistent. And it’s okay if you don’t know something and have to ask questions. Communities like Stack Overflow are great for that (though be sure to Google your question first. Chances are, someone else has already had the same problem you’re having). Mobile development can be really fun and rewarding, but it can also be challenging, and you have to be prepared to tackle those challenges.