We interviewed Jim Campagno, iOS instructor at Flatiron School in NYC, who is helping students turn their mobile app ideas into reality.
What do you teach?
I’m an iOS instructor here. I help students learn Swift & Objective-C (programming languages) as well as iOS development. By the end of class, a student should have an app in Apple’s app store.
How did you get started?
I was a former student here a little over a year ago. Prior to becoming a student, I was an accountant for 8 years on Long Island and in Manhattan. I’ve always had a passion for teaching, and now teaching students a subject which I’m fully immersed in has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
Witnessing a student’s ‘aha’ moment. The struggle in learning how to program is real; it’s not easy. I love making it fun for the student introducing more analogies than I think most comedians are capable of delivering. There’s great satisfaction in witnessing a student come in feeling like they don’t know a thing and eventually pushing their own app to the app store.
Did you have an inspiring teacher growing up?
Yes – a math teacher I had in college (Prof Vargas). His approach to making difficult subject matter fun was inspiring.
What tip would you give aspiring iOS developers?
Learning how to code is not easy so be prepared to exit your comfort zone on multiple occasions. Create small tasks for yourself to tackle on a daily basis that help you learn, whether that’s re-learning what a variable is or reading about concurrency. It’s not about spending eight hours one day a week, it’s about daily practice; you might have to read about the same topic five times and it’s the sixth time when it finally clicks.
Can you give us an example of something your students built?
We just had an incredible group of iOS students graduate, and they created some interesting apps, using APIs from Spotify, Google, and even the White House.
For example, with the moving startup Makespace, one team of students built a floorplan app called 4Plan that lets you visually design a space. If you want to take a look, you can find it in the app store!