Interview with Karl Pfister, Devmountain’s iOS Development Program Director
At Devmountain, we love our program directors because they’re really passionate about their courses and material. So, we’ve sat down with them. Here’s what Karl Pfister, Devmountain’s iOS Development Program Director, had to say about work, life, and iOS.
What Drew You to Devmountain?
Before I chose to join Devmountain as a student, I was working at Apple as the In-Store Guest Trainer. What I loved about working with Apple was that I had a real opportunity to enrich people’s lives in a positive way. After a little less than five years with Apple, I was ready to move onto the next big thing. When searching for what I wanted to invest my time into, one thing was very important: Can I use these skills to better people’s lives? It was that guiding light that led me to become an iOS developer.
I found Devmountain online and it was one of the few fully immersive programs available. I knew that if I wanted to do this I needed to dive in full force. I scheduled a tour of campus and met one of the instructors, Nathan Falcone, who eventually became one of my best friends and first boss as a developer. What really impressed me about Devmountain was how focused on the student they were. They matched my passion for changing lives and I applied to the program that very same day.
What About iOS Development Excites You?
Two things that really excite me about iOS development are that, as a developer, you have the opportunity to build something that can change a life—so empowering. I also have a full appreciation of how difficult it can be, and how finishing a project or overcoming a problem can be incredibly rewarding.
What Advice Would You Give Someone Looking Into iOS Development for the First Time?
Find a few freebie beginner YouTube tutorials on iOS, download Apple’s Everyone Can Code from iBooks, and follow along. Coding is a skill that is relatively easy to start and takes years to build on, so just dive right in and give it a go! Really, it seems daunting, but it’s beginner-friendly and easier than you think, so stop thinking about it and just jump in.
What Advice Would You Give Someone Looking Into Coding Bootcamps for the First Time?
Take your time researching programs, and make sure that the way they teach matches your learning style. If you don’t do well with online courses, don’t choose an all-online school. Make sure you’re interested in and a good fit for a condensed, straightforward learning environment.
Really understand how much time each program will take away from your hobbies, your friends, and your family. You’re considering completely changing your life, and that doesn’t come without a time commitment. Consider a bootcamp as time invested in your future, and set clear expectations with yourself early.
What Hobbies or Interests Do You Have Besides iOS or Tech?
My current top hobby is passionately trying to make my lawn better than any of my neighbors’, but I also enjoy road biking, casual golfing, and gaming.
What Is the Most Rewarding Part of Knowing Swift and Objective-C?
Objective-C is the foundation that Swift is built on, so understanding it gives you a better grasp on Swift. Basically, knowing one makes you better at the other and knowing both makes you value how clean and straightforward Swift is and how much flexibility you have in Objective-C. Having an understanding of both languages makes you a more well-rounded developer, and opens up the door for more opportunity.
How Is the iOS Program Different from Other Devmountain Programs?
The iOS program requires more hours of work in the day than the other programs, so as far as time commitments go, it’s definitely more challenging. We know how difficult it is for the students—instructors are expected to match the effort each student puts in. We’ve done this by adding optional additional Thursday night lessons and Saturday reviews. Those Saturday reviews are based on what the class struggled with most on their Friday assessment. By doing this, we’re able to cater the program to what each group of students needs the most.
In a Nutshell, How Do You Get an App on the App Store?
Coffee, Whiskey, and Google.
As far as a basic roadmap, find a problem you’re passionate about solving, design an app to solve that problem, then build it, and eventually submit to the app store using your developer license through Xcode, Apple’s IDE. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through it in class.