A True iOS Developer Story

Thought this was pretty cool, if a smidge old. Did you hear the one about the Massachusetts State Trooper who became an iOS Developer?

Derek Langton, who had been serving as a state trooper for eighteen years, put in some mean hours to pick up and get adept at iOS application coding over the last year and a half, delving into and learning Cocoa and Objective C, all to be able to build the iOS version of Smoopa, a price check app which rewards you when you use it to comparison shop and share prices from the real, brick-and-mortar stores you patronize anyway.

How did he do it? According to the TechCrunch article, he began simply by auditing the freely available online computer science courses offered by MIT and Stanford, then continuing on with equally freely available YouTube instructional videos, such as this one which explains how to leverage the camera integration on an iPhone into apps.

Was it hard? According to Derek, the answer is, as you’d imagine, an unvarnished “yes.”. However, he also points out that though he certainly worked to get to the point where he could code with sufficient proficiency to create an iOS app, it was very attainable.

“I eat, drink and sleep iOS development. This is the kind of thing where either go or you don’t. You don’t go halfway.”

And of course, even beyond the MIT and Stanford courseware, there are other resources like 360|iDev 🙂 and even other conferences, that not only help developers raise their game but almost more importantly establish social connections and support systems among other developers. The iOS community has really shined IMO with welcoming new people to the fold and making sure they can succeed.

Something to consider:

  • The current national unemployment rate is 8.1% according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics – nearly doublenthe 4-5% unemployment rate the nation experienced before the 2008 economic crisis.
  • One of the sole market sectors which is not experiencing this same dearth of good jobs is Silicon Valley – there is currently what TechCrunch calls a “Hiring-pocalypse,” where coding houses simply cannot find enough skilled workers.

Given this, it seems that there has never been a better time to pick up coding skills.

Being an iOS developer has been described as a “lottery;” but it’s a lottery you can cheat at by being better than many others playing the same game.


See you in September!