Mentors from the Apple Developer Academy will take part in Swift Heroes 2021
Swift Heroes is the international iOS conference that brings together Swift experts from around the globe. Created by Synesthesia and hosted in Turin, Italy, this year’s event on 16 April will be all-digital with the event made available both live-streamed and on-demand.
The digital format of the event has in fact made Swift Heroes even more international than in previous editions and the agenda features world-class speakers addressing this year’s most important topics.
And of course there are still expert speakers joining the line up from Italy. We had the pleasure to speak with Giovanni Monaco, Tiago Gomes Pereira and Moritz Philip Recke, three Coding Teachers and Mentors from the Apple Developer Academy in Naples, who will be presenting at Swift Heroes.
We’d like to thank them for taking the time to speak with us, and also for choosing to take part in Swift Heroes. Their presentation at Swift Heroes will address Machine Learning – an important and controversial topic, but in this presentation the team will focus on models and tools to leverage to accelerate your own ML projects.
In our conversation we also heard their points of view on the current landscape for developers, how to work and train together across the globe and some of the specific details on the Apple Developer Academy entrance requirements. Read the full interview here:
Apple Developer Academy Mentors @ Swift Heroes
1. Last academic year, students from over 30 different countries and with very different starting backgrounds participated: How complicated is it to bring everyone to the same initial level and then make them grow professionally (and with an excellent background at the exit)?
A main feature of the Academy program is that it is a very diversified experience. Selected students from all around the world join the nine-month formative program, which is held entirely in English. It evolves around topics such as software development, app design, startup creation and the digital economy, while our students work on real world problems of their own choosing. Independent from background and pre-existing skills, everyone finds something that interests or inspires them, while pursuing the common goal of learning app development for the Apple ecosystem. We embrace diversity and are convinced it is a key component why the Academy program is such a transformative experience for our students.
2. How much has the pandemic affected your teaching methods and activities? What strategies have you activated?
When the first lockdown was announced in Italy, we were in a critical phase of the program. We cannot deny that reorganising everything for a remote experience was particularly challenging, but our students had only a few days of interruption. We completed the academic year in a remote environment and despite all difficulties, we are quite happy with the results. We learned a lot from this experience that also in large parts confirmed the effectiveness of our teaching techniques, which had to undergo only very few changes to adapt to distance learning. Challenge Based Learning, the pedagogical approach on which the Academy program is based, proved to be valid and applicable also in our remote learning environment.
3. What are the steps to be able to apply to the Apple Developer Academy? Is it open to everyone? Are there any scholarships?
Almost every year Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II announces a selection of more than 300 students to be admitted to the Apple Developer Academy. This “Call for students” is published on the website www.developeracademy.unina.it and it is just the beginning of the wonderful journey that brings students from all over the world to Naples. In order to participate in the selection, candidates must have a high school diploma, nothing more! This is really the only requirement. We welcome students from all around the world, from various backgrounds and age ranges, it is open to everyone. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for this year’s selection the Academy offered applicants to take the written exam on-line. Thanks to the European Commission, funds are leveraged through Regione Campania, so that students can receive monetary rewards and an attendance allowance if they successfully complete the Academy experience.
In light of the pandemic, the academic year 2020/2021 has been postponed to start in September 2021. For this reason there will not be a call for applications this year, since the students for the 2021/2022 academic year have already been selected. The next call for applications will be for the 2022/2023 academic year.
4. What are the skills you think a great iOS app developer should have?
It all starts with the mindset of being a constant learner. Technology evolves faster than ever before and new possibilities serve as an inspiration to keep exploring new things. Also, in regard to app development, technologies have become more and more accessible, opening this world to an entirely new generation of people. We are excited to see people from all disciplines and backgrounds joining the community of developers.
Becoming a great app developer means having a number of skills in addition to in-depth technical knowledge, including: the capacity of looking at the world from different perspectives and grasp its nuances, a quality you can train through design; the ability to be analytical when necessary and to understand the feasibility of a project, as only a true coder can do; last but not least the boldness to seize opportunities and make the difference.
Beyond technical skills and procedural know-how, we also believe that good communication and the ability to collaborate with others is key to being a great developer, or any professional in the 21st century. Being able to articulate and present ideas, provide actionable feedback and participate in constructive discussion as well as leveraging diversity and openly collaborating in teams are crucial to success.
5. What will you be talking about during Swift Heroes?
We will be talking about the power of machine learning and how easy it is to take advantage of these technologies thanks to the Core ML and Create ML frameworks developed by Apple. Especially with the latest generation of Apple hardware and their dedicated silicon, these technologies deliver fast performance with easy integration, allowing you to build apps with machine learning models with just a few lines of code. Even without an extensive background in artificial intelligence or mathematics you can supercharge your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac apps and make them smarter than ever before.
We will present practical examples and showcase how to create custom machine learning models with Create ML and how to use them in your development projects.
6. Why do you think conferences like Swift Heroes are important not only for developers and designers, but also for business managers?
We believe conferences like Swift Heroes are crucial for the developer community but also to businesses involved in the app development realm in general. While developers and designers may benefit from inspirational new content, discussions with peers or professional networking, conferences may also serve as platforms to stay current on what is going on in industry, identify trends or learn new things for anyone interested or engaged in the app economy.
Also, since conferences are gatherings of the community that otherwise is scattered throughout the world, it is an excellent platform for businesses to present any developer facing services or products that may support development projects or even offer career opportunities.
It is also important to put yourself out there. You might meet the person that will completely make the difference in your business, someone that you would never meet otherwise.