Kick It Old School By Coding Like a Boss

Yeah, yeah. We’ve heard all about the gender gap in Computer Science. Women account for only 3% of programmers; 96% of all mobile developers are male; less than 1% of college-bound girls plan on going into computer science.

Ada Lovelace - the OC (Original Coder)
Ada Lovelace – the O.C.

What we don’t hear about are women like Ada Lovelace, considered the first computer programmer ever. Or that the youngest coder to develop a mobile app is a 7 year old girl.

So suck it, guys. Chicks and computers go hella back.

Now let’s get old school, find our inner programmers and change the current programming scene. And since one of the easiest ways to get into coding is with app development, let’s start there.


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’”.

To start, sign up to become an official Apple Developer. Though this costs $99, some colleges enroll in the iOS Developer University Program which allows you to participate for free.

Once you’re registered, Mac users can download the the “toolkit” that you’ll need to make your app: Xcode. Window users will need to use a third-party toolkit like DragonFireSDK.

Congratulations – you’re on your way!



Lwelcometoxcodeaunch 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. A 10 minute video that outlines this process is Matt Heaney’s “Hello World” tutorial.



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 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’s course for $25.

Your first app shouldn’t take you more than an afternoon to kick out if you’ve remembered to keep it simple.



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.



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 to learn the basics. When you do finally 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.



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, it’s going to take a lot of both practice and failures.


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 prepare for it now.