Major organizations and educators in Queensland, Australia, are embracing Swift – the powerful and intuitive open source programming language pioneered by Apple that’s behind some of the world’s best apps – to equip the state’s students with the skills they need to succeed in the booming app economy.
TAFE Queensland, the state’s largest training provider, will soon offer iOS app development with Swift to educate students on fundamental app development skills. The program will be available to students beginning in October 2021 and will be Queensland’s only iOS course co-created with Apple engineers and educators.
“Developing in Swift blends creativity and coding to problem-solve in a way no other language can, giving our students the fundamental skills to create the world’s next transformative apps, from ideation to design, development, and distribution through the App Store,” says Jackie French, director of Creative Arts and Digital Design at TAFE Queensland. “Demand from students and industry continues to grow, proving the need for a larger pipeline of graduates qualified to maximize today’s job opportunities and keep Queensland and Australia at the forefront of creativity and innovation.”
Since the launch of the App Store in 2008, the iOS app ecosystem has been an engine of growth and among the fastest-growing sectors of the world’s economy. There are now close to 160,000 app economy jobs across Australia, a figure that’s been increasing by 10 percent every year since 2017. Today, there are nearly 2 million apps on the App Store, which has facilitated over $600 billion (US) in commerce in 2020 alone, while the sale of digital goods and services through the App Store has earned developers over $200 billion (US) to date.
Cultivating a Passion for Coding
At Siena Catholic College and St Augustine’s College, two high schools in Southeast Queensland, teaching students the principles of app development using Swift is unlocking their creativity and allowing them to reach new levels of innovation and problem solving.
“Our decision to choose Swift was clear and based on the simplicity, versatility, and limitless creativity the language provides,” says Paul Dionysius, who teaches technology courses at Siena Catholic College. “Every day we’re seeing our students develop enterprising ideas and designing real-world solutions to problems, building the essential skills for success in the 21st century. We have future blockbuster developers here today – I am certain of that and incredibly proud.”
Samantha Cray, a student at Siena Catholic College, says, “I love how coding gives me the freedom to be creative and analytical at the same time, helping me to think critically and build real-life apps to solve problems. I think there’s a huge misunderstanding when it comes to the relevance coding has in a modern world, and how challenging it can be. Like every new skill, it takes practice, but the opportunity to provide modern solutions to real problems is really exciting to me, and using Swift makes it easy to turn my ideas into a working app.”
Siena Catholic College and St Augustine’s College share their passion for coding with Energy Queensland, the company overseeing the state’s electricity distribution, retail, and energy services. This month, Energy Queensland initiated a week-long program that blends the classroom and corporate environments, offering students the opportunity to see and experience how Swift and iOS apps are transforming the way the company and its teams work.
Energy Queensland’s Dan Massey is committed to building the skills pipeline within Queensland.
“Innovation is central to the success of Energy Queensland, both in terms of how we use technology to provide better outcomes and service, but also how the organization is sharing these insights with schools and students, giving them a look into a real-world setting to aid their development and, in time, contributing to the prosperity of our community,” says Massey, Energy Queensland’s mobile apps platform manager. “A solid skills pipeline is essential for the success of our students and our state, and this program is something we’re passionate to introduce and plan to grow.”
Energy Queensland first deployed iPhone to its entire employee base of 7,500 in 2018, and iPad to the 4,000 field-based employees in 2019, giving the organization the opportunity to harness Swift to develop iOS apps and software solutions that would increase efficiency, safety, and employee satisfaction.
Gaining New Skills for a Bright Future
Year 10 students from St Augustine’s College and Siena Catholic College are among the first to take part in the Energy Queensland program. They are already incorporating learnings into their existing coding work.
“Spending a week with Energy Queensland opened my eyes to how easily apps can help solve business challenges and even help save the lives of field workers,” says James Nunn, a student at St Augustine’s College. “The experience taught me that a career based on coding can inspire, educate, help, and protect people around us, and it’s something I’m excited to pursue.”
Another St Augustine’s College student, Lincoln Hetherington, says, “When developing with Swift, I really enjoy the ability to think of literally anything and being able to create it for everyone to see. It’s easy to understand, and I love the limitless possibilities it offers. As the world is becoming more technologically advanced, knowing how to code will help me in the future with many different jobs and opportunities.”
As the app economy continues to grow, Apple is investing in educational programs and opportunities that help prepare learners of all ages for the jobs of the future. With Swift Playgrounds, Everyone Can Code, and Develop in Swift, Apple gives anyone interested in learning to code the tools and guidance to create their own apps using the same tools as professional developers. Today, more than 9,000 K-12 and higher education institutions worldwide are using Apple’s coding curricula, and Apple coding academies, accelerators, and Entrepreneur Camps give up-and-coming developers the opportunity to apply the latest technologies to their apps, build their businesses, and market their ideas to a global audience.