At DevMountain, we provide instruction in web development, UI/UX and iOS. Due to recent growth in demand, we have had to make some new hires. Most recently, we brought Andrew Madsen onto our team as an iOS instructor in Salt Lake City. Andrew has been coding as part of the Mac developer community for a really long time, and has great industry experience. He will be a really valuable asset to our students going through our iOS program. We recently sat down with him to ask a few questions and get to know him better.
DevMountain: How did you get your start in coding?
Andrew Madsen: I am lucky to have a dad who is an electrical engineer and a programmer, and he introduced me to programming pretty early. There’s a home video of me at age 5 in my Ghostbusters pajamas writing a simple BASIC program. I went on to learn C when I was a little older. I went to school for electrical engineering and worked as a hardware engineer after college where I wrote firmware in C.
DM: That’s awesome that you had such an early start with coding! How come you decided to focus on iOS?
AM: Around 2005, I fell in love with the apps being made by the Mac developer community. At the time, it was a small, close-knit community full of people passionate about making truly great apps. The way I saw it, Indie Mac apps were unique in their attention to great user interfaces and user experience. I wanted to be a part of that, and decided to learn how to write Mac apps. I spent about a year learning and practicing Objective-C and Cocoa before I released my first Mac app in January, 2007. The app was a success, and I continued to work on it in my spare time while finishing college, and going to work as an engineer.
When the iPhone was announced in 2007, my very first thought, along with the rest of the Mac developer community was “I want to write apps for that!” We saw an opportunity to take our knowledge of Cocoa and our love for great UI and apply it to an exciting new platform. Of course, we had to wait until 2008 before Apple announced an iPhone SDK and the app store. I started learning how to write iOS apps as soon as I got my hands on the beta of the SDK. I soon got permission to work on an iOS app for a year-long project at work, which was great. The amazing success of the iPhone and iOS made the market for developers explode, and I decided to do iOS and Mac full development full time!
DM: What are you most proud of that you have built?
AM: I’ve spent the last 5 years at Mixed In Key working on apps for DJs. I’m proud of everything I’ve done there, but I’m possibly most proud of an app called iMashup, which lets you make mashup with songs on your iPhone. There’s a lot of technology packed into an app with a simple UI, and it performs well even on an iPhone 4, which was no small feat!
DM: Why DevMountain?
AM: I’ve been teaching part-time at DevMountain since we started iOS classes in Salt Lake City. I have really enjoyed getting to share something I love — programming for iOS — with other people. Seeing the progression of students from their first day all the way through to getting a job as a real iOS developer has been very fulfilling. Technical rigor, and deeply understanding the details is incredibly important to me. DevMountain’s focus on giving every student the resources they need to become an excellent developer has impressed me. When the opportunity to be more involved came along, it was an easy choice.
DM: What is your advice to individuals interested in taking iOS courses?
AM: Learning to program takes hard work, but it can also be a whole lot of fun. I think students who come prepared to work hard and to use all the resources provided by the instructors, mentors, and other staff at DevMountain will have a great experience. The iOS community is full of kind, helpful people with a passion for doing great work all the way from the UI down to the low level technical details. Before and after you graduate, participation in the iOS community can be a great way to continue progressing and to meet people you can work with and learn from.
The opportunity to learn iOS development has given me a career where I get to do what I love. I’m really pleased to be at DevMountain helping others do the same.