Trever Ewing became interested in mobile app development and Swift while studying computer science at Indiana University- this interest only increased when he started working in Apple’s customer care department. After completing Eleven Fifty’s Intro to iOS course in January and considering an apprenticeship through Eleven Fifty, Trever tells us about the need for self-starting in coding, how fun it is to learn at founder Scott Jones’ home, and putting his new skills to use in his current job.
What were you up to before you started with Eleven Fifty like your education background, your last job and you career path?
I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I started working at a call center called Teleservices Direct, then an Apple-authorized service provider called Computers Plus. Then Apple came to me directly and hired me as a WorldWide AppleCare Advisor
For about the last year and a half I’ve been working for Apple and I also go to Indiana University and major in computer science. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken many Computer Science classes; I’m still doing a lot of my general education classes. I had taken one CS class but I ended up not finishing it because I didn’t like the way the class was structured. I’m not rushing to finish college, because I’ve decided to get other job-related experiences.
Had you done Codecademy or used another online learning platform?
I had not done anything prior. Apple has a Swift book that I tried to use, but it can get overwhelming, especially when you don’t understand what it does or why.
What was your goal in doing a bootcamp?
It’s just something that I’ve always been interested in and wanted to learn how to do it. The great thing that Apple does is they put EA games and Joe Shmoe on the same playing field. You can reach the same amount of customers in the App Store. If you have a great idea, anybody can make an application.
I’m not a designer; I can hardly draw stick figures! But with coding, you can design and build anything you want to.
What was the learning environment like at Eleven Fifty?
I loved the environment. It is in the founder, Scott Jones’, home. They really do a good job of making you feel welcome so you can relax and learn. I’ve never been to another bootcamp so I can’t say for sure, but I have the assumption that most of them are probably not held in a mansion!
How much did you pay for the Eleven Fifty course?
It was $1150 actually. There are some scholarships available though so you can help set that cost aside. Your breakfast, lunch and dinner are all taken care of by Eleven Fifty as well. I didn’t expect that.
What was the application process like for you? Did you do a traditional application or an interview?
It was pretty much just a matter of getting in touch with their team. It wasn’t a long, drawn-out interview process. I think they try to make it pretty relaxed instead of making it really formal.
How many people were in your cohort?
There were 20 of us. This was the biggest class that they said they’d had so far; it was a pretty good-sized class.
Was everybody on a similar technical level?
Some of us had no programming experience at all; there were some of us that had some HTML coding experience, so there was a little bit of a mix. The majority of us came into it not knowing anything at all, though.
Was everybody able to learn together or did people split off into groups?
They were pretty good at making sure all of us were learning at the same level. If we were having a lot of questions, the instructor would stop and go back through it line by line.
Who was the instructor for this course?
Terrence Kunsteck. When we first started he was showing us a lot. He went over the fundamentals of Xcode, then Swift.
As we went through each section we would take a break because coding is intense so you really need to make sure you step back and take a break and let your mind process everything that you’ve been trying to learn.
We had hour or two-hour breaks here and there. He would make sure that we were caught up and if you didn’t understand you could go and talk to him or one of the TAs, they would walk you through it.
How many TAs did you have?
There were two of them, I believe. They were actually Scott’s children who had coding experience. They would help with the more basic stuff.
Aside from the teaching style were you satisfied with the actual material that you were taught throughout? Did you feel like you learned enough in one week?
Most definitely. Like I said, there are so many more things that I’d like to do. It’s just impossible to cover it all. After you had the basics, you could go learn on your own.
In the world of coding, it never ends. Every year, there will be thousands of new APIs and that you can use. This is just your basic foundation: this is how Swift works, this is how X code works, this is how you approach these kinds of things.
Eleven Fifty has a lot of content and you definitely want to dedicate yourself because it is a long process. But that condense week was the best approach for me. I can’t take three or four weeks off of work, so learning it in a week and condensing it down like they do works so much better.
Everybody was looking for different things in the class. For example, we made a Snapchat app and some people wanted to work on a “delete” button; I personally would’ve worked on certifications. You could talk to Terrence and he would walk you through the process of approaching different things.
Aside from that Snapchat app, what were the other apps you all worked on?
The first thing we did was a note-taking app and that taught us how to push information from one screen to another screen. The second one we did was a Snapchat app and the third one was a Tinder app.
Did you work on those alone or as a group?
We did them all as a group and if you wanted to customize them, there were different options that you could do.
How many hours a day were you working on Eleven Fifty?
We were there from about 9:00 am to about 8:30 or 9:00 pm – so about 12-hour days.
Did you ever feel burnout during the course?
Not terribly, because they build breaks into the schedule and that made all the difference. We got a morning break, a lunch, an evening break, dinner and then we have study hall afterwards. If you did get burnout, it’s probably because you were coding on your breaks and they really push you not to do that.
Did Eleven Fifty do job preparation with your class?
There is an internship program that they are recruiting for called the APPrenticeship. They only took a couple of people in that. I was actually offered it and I would love to take them up on that offer. There were only four, maybe five of us that were selected out of the twenty to do that. I just have to work out my job schedule and class schedule.
Since you finished the Eleven Fifty class, has it helped you be better at your current job at Apple?
Eleven Fifty will basically help as much as I apply it. Working with Swift is not part of my job description. But at Apple, we’re evaluated in three things: teamwork, innovation and results.
I want to write some kind of an app that we can use internally for scheduling changes; that would be an innovation type of thing making everybody’s job a little bit easier.
Are there things that you would have changed about Eleven Fifty?
The only thing that I recommended they do was to send a couple of projects home with students after they finish the course. I thought it would be nice if he made a homework assignment to do afterwards if you wanted to refine your skills. I told them that feedback and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they take that to heart- it sounds like they do really listen to students’ feedback to make this the best program.
Other than that, everything was great. I loved it.
Very cool. Would you take another Eleven Fifty course in the future?
I probably would if I didn’t get offered the APPrenticeship. I would take the advanced class, but if I take this apprenticeship, then that won’t be necessary since they are going to teach me there.