A Look Back At The First ALT-U iOS Apprentice

If you tuned in to Apple’s WWDC16 Keynote, you probably noticed there was a lot of talk about educating the next generation of developers. This was exciting to us, as our passion for development education burns with the intensity of 10,000 5.5” iPhones with the brightness turned up all the way. That’s why we created ALT-U!  Apple’s announcement of the Swift Playgrounds app got us feeling a little nostalgic about why we created ALT-U and about our first class back in April. Cue the harp sound effect as we do a little reminiscing…


10 students with varied backgrounds, 3 industry-seasoned instructors from Five Pack, and Ray and Vicki Wenderlich. We all gathered in a cozy classroom setting to learn, teach, and talk about mobile app development, Apple’s Swift programming language, and how to function as part of a development team.


ALT-U is unique in that the program doesn’t focus only on teaching people how to code. Fifteen minutes into day 1 of the first iOS Apprentice class, the instructor dove right into subjects like project management, agile, scrum, and Jira. That’s because industry and team skills are just as important as knowing how to utilize the Swift language. We would be doing our students an injustice if we didn’t teach the same standards we use daily.

After laying a solid foundation of best practices, we set out to tackle Xcode, git, code review, and more. These were taught via the instructor’s live demo, but students were free (and encouraged) to follow along on their own – making the next item on the schedule much easier: in-class labs! As the ALT-U instructors strolled around the room ready to assist, students worked alone, and in groups, on labs related to the topic they just learned. Another unique aspect of ALT-U is the adoption of the “See One, Do One, Teach One” method, allowing students to teach one another during labs – under supervision of the instructors, of course.

The following days took on a similar structure. Diving deeper into more advanced, code-focused subject matter, students discovered – through demos, labs, and lots of asked questions – UI elements, provisioning profiles, Swift loops, “if let” statements, closures, auto layout, storyboards, defensive coding and so much more. All of this new and exciting knowledge resulted in a fully-functioning iPhone app and a room full of iOS Apprentice graduates by week’s end.


April 25, 2016 marked the first of five 10 hour days where students learned the necessary skills to begin exploring intern level job opportunities. ALT-U is the only developer training program that combines the bootcamp and immersive formats to create the perfect educational hybrid. Not too long, not too short – just right.


The American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Dallas, TX was the perfect location for multiple reasons. Of course, none of those reasons are quite as important as the food supplied by the venue. The many options served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the snacks a developer could want were certainly a perk appreciated by everyone in attendance.


Five Pack hires [great] mobile app developers all the time. The problem is that [great] developers are a rare commodity, so we designed a training program that would produce the caliber of talent we require to create beautiful apps. ALT-U also provides an accelerated career path vs. the 4+ years spent at a traditional university. Ultimately, we hope to enable future developers to close the gap between the vast assortment of unfilled programming jobs and the limited supply of quality programmers.

Don’t worry if you didn’t make it to the April class. The success of the first ALT-U iOS Apprentice combined with our passion for educating developers means we have a handful of additional classes coming up soon. Whether you’re new to programming, you’re  already an experienced app developer, or you’re somewhere in the middle, there is something for everyone at ALT-U. Visit www.altutraining.com to learn more!

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