WWDC is basically Christmas for developers in the Apple ecosystem. Not only do we get to enjoy the marketing side of it (Hello, ARM Macs!) but we also get a peek at the amazing tech advancements that are going to be enjoyed by users of your app (or the app you work on).
It’s been almost a month since WWDC happened and since I’m a senior developer with 10 years experience, I’ve already seen all of the 100+ videos. I’m completely up to date with advances to Accessibility, Accessories, Apple Pay and Wallet, Business and Enterprise, Carplay, Cloud and Local Storage, Education and Kids, Extensions, Foundation, Health and Fitness, HomeKit, Internationalization and Localization, Machine Learning and Vision, Maps and Location, Networking, Privacy and Security, Safari and Web, Siri and Voice, UI Frameworks. Oh, I also watched all videos on Compiler and LLVM, Debugging, Interface Builder, Performance Swift, Testing, Xcode.
All while writing articles for this blog, teaching at Lambda School, keeping up with my day job, and writing a book.
Or have I?
I read a few articles on what people think about the new frameworks, what amazing apps they think will be possible. My feed is filled with plenty of voices yelling: “look at SwiftUI!”, “omg! testing subscriptions”, “vapor!”, “someone is stealing my clipboard data!”
If you went only by my feed, you’d think that everyone is using the new frameworks.
But, I want to dispel the notion that everyone watches all WWDC videos and that after watching the videos they have enough free time or energy to start playing around with the frameworks. There’s so many videos and articles that there’s no way I (or most devs) have watched them all. Really, I am never going to watch some of them. My time is limited and I need to be careful on how I spend it.
Shouldn’t I be up to date?
At work I help build VPNs clients. I’m expected to solve issues and build features while at the same time keeping up to date. Keeping up to date to me doesn’t mean learn SwiftUI because it’ll be a year before I start using it. Keeping up to date to me means reading up on Subscriptions and Accessibility, learning what’s new regarding Localization and Networking and making sure I completely understand Catalyst.
So I go and watch those videos – on company time, because if your company isn’t giving you time to keep up to date, you may be in a vicious loop that needs fixing.
There’ll come a point where our team at work will be ready to begin the transition to SwiftUI. When that time comes, I’ll catch up by reading amazing articles written by wonderful, passionate devs and watching the WWDC videos and just having a blast in an Xcode playground.
But really, it’s likely I’m never watching the Machine Learning videos unless I’m bored and want to learn more about them on my own time. That’s low on the list because I really like cooking and have a one-year-old daughter; no offense to Machine Learning.
Yeah, but you’re a senior…
Plenty of my students (and now people on the mailing list) have asked me what they should focus on. Some real life questions I’ve had:
- “I want to learn SwiftUI because companies will be asking for it soon. Should I learn it or stick with UIKit?”
- “Apple keeps releasing Machine Learning videos and they look really cool. Should I start looking into them?”
- “I still have many questions about architectures (MVVM? Coordinator pattern?). Should I learn those or start reading up on Accessibility?”
If you have a job, the answer is easy: keep up to date with whatever your employer values. If they are ready to move to SwiftUI now, start reading up on SwiftUI. If they need to up their Accessibility game, there’s plenty of resources. If you feel there’s something vital that your employer is missing, either bring it up or start using your free time. It sucks, but remember that your skills are your responsibility alone.
If you don’t have a job, then just have fun! Go and play with SwiftUI (it’s amazing) and any other things that interest you, but always keep in mind that your end goal is to get employed. Is Machine Learning cool? Yep. Is it used by most apps? It is not. Be an adult and balance fun with marketability.
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