How to Code like a Boss Girl! Create an App in an Afternoon
Computer Science and the Tech world more broadly are the burgeoning industries of our time. They are highly lucrative industries with a promise of job longevity and upward mobility. So why in one of world’s most stable industries of the future are there so few women? Sadly, girls are deterred from learning how to code and pursuing a career in tech as early as high school. For instance even though girls make up more than half of all Advanced Placement (AP) test-takers, boys outnumber girls 4:1 in computer science exams. Given this statistic it is not surprising that less than 1% of college-bound girls plan on going into computer science and 96% of all mobile developers are male.
While society may tell us that a woman’s place is outside the tech world they fail to mention women like Ada Lovelace who is considered the world’s first computer programmer. Yup you read that right, not the world’s first female computer programmer but THE first computer programmer.
So suck it, guys. Chicks and computers go hella back.
Not only have women influenced tech in the past but currently girls as young as seven are rapidly being empowered to pursue a career in tech. Organizations like Girls Who Code and Girls, Inc. are teaching girls how to code thereby giving them the confidence to study computer science and begin to even out the gender ratio in Silicon Valley businesses.
You can also get a piece of the tech pie! The industry is teeming with opportunities so get in on the hype and try your hand at coding! One of the easiest ways to get into coding is with app development so below we have included a step by step guide to bringing your app ideas to fruition. So tap into your inner programmer and let’s get started!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: $99 AND A (SMALL) DREAM
You want to develop an app that will enable users to do at-home heart transplants? Yeah, let’s save that for your second app and try something simpler. After all, an app that turns an iPhone into a fart machine made almost $40,000 in two days. Because this is going to be just an exercise, keep it to something like “when you press this button, a cow will go ‘moo’”.
Congratulations – you’re on your way!
GETTING CREATIVE WITH XCODE:
Launch Xcode and choose “Create a New Project,” then “Single View Application”. Click “Next” and you’ll be taken to a screen where you’ll name your product and put your information in. Make sure that under “Devices” you’ve chosen iPhone, before you click “Next” and “Save”.
Once you’ve saved your project, you’ll start “storyboarding.” This is where the actual creative work comes in. Here you can choose colors, add buttons, enter text and modify all aspects of your app’s look.
STARTING WITH OBJECTIVE C
This is where most folks freak the hell out. A screen filled with stuff like “initWithNibName” and “NSString”??? Wha???
Don’t fret! You don’t need a PhD to figure this out. This is just where you create the different actions that people can do with your app. It is simple to learn how to code if you take the time to walk through the steps. A great place to start is with this Objective-C for Dummies video. If you want a full-on, 6 hour mega-course, you can sign up for Lynda.com’s course for $25.
Your first app shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon to knock out if you’ve remembered to keep it simple.
MEET THE SIMULATOR
Apple has created a handy-dandy “simulator” so you can test out everything in your app right on your computer.
With Xcode still open, choose Xcode > Open Developer Tool > iOS Simulator. Select iPhone from the pop-up menu, and click “Run.” It will look pretty much like the home screen on your iPhone. Go through all the different actions in your app to make sure they work.
Log in to the iOS Provisioning Portal (could they have chosen a more intimidating name?) and follow the instructions to create an App ID. Atomic Nitro Games has created a lovely video that will take you step-by-step through the upload process.
Once you upload you’ll be able to have other app registered developers test your app and help you fix any bugs that might be tripping you up. It’s a friendly community that’s welcoming to newbies, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be confident! This is a community that wants to help.
SELLING YOUR APP
You don’t need to sell your app. In fact, you probably shouldn’t bother submitting it to Apple if it’s just an exercise in learning the basics. When you do finally learn how to code and make an app that you’d like to sell, you’ve got to abide by Apple’s rules, which they lay out in a very easy to read, plain-old-English document.
Once you submit to Apple, it can take anywhere from two days to two weeks for them to approve or reject it, depending on its complexity.
SIT BACK AND LET THE MONEY ROLL IN
Or not. If the only reason you want to develop an app is to make some fast cash, you’re likely to be disappointed. Like any skill, learning how to code takes practice.
Don’t let that deter you. If women are going to get their fair share of the 1.4 million tech jobs of the future, we’ve got to be prepared.