Need to learn Apple’s Swift development language? Help is at hand with these handy online resources, including free & paid courses.

Apple’s Swift is billed by the tech giant as  a programming language that "lets everyone build amazing apps." Now, that may be true, but don’t expect to dive into Swift coding today and write the next Candy Crush tomorrow. As with any language, spoken or coded, learning it takes both time and effort.

Help is at hand, though, with both free and commercial resources available online covering the language in depth. Whatever your ability, you’ll find plenty here to advance your skills.

Before you get started, Swift 4.0.3 is available to download now here, and you can get it along with Xcode 9.2 and start learning the new language straight away.

You should be careful to check which version of Swift and Xcode your training materials are using, because there may be some variations.

Getting started

Then you'll want to start at the source with Apple's dedicated Swift documentation. You don't need a Developer account to access the files or to download Xcode from the Mac App Store, so you can get started right away.

The Developer documentation includes sample code, links to the reference material and, most useful for anyone switching from another language, videos from the Swift 4.0 update at 2017’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple's iBooks

Put your commute to good use by working your way through Apple’s free Swift programming materials available from the iBooks Store. There you will find books including The Swift Programming Language, which offers a tour of the language, a details guide to each feature and a formal reference for the language.

The Everyone Can Code is available for free there too. Apple has said that the curriculum, which is primarily designed for high school and college students but is accessible to all, will teach students to “code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.”

Try an online course

Udemy

Udemy’s most popular Swift 4 course, with more than 9,000 ratings and almost five stars, is Angela Yu’s iOS 11 & Swift 4 - The Complete iOS App development Bootcamp. It includes a whopping 467 lectures, with 49 hours of video included. Keep an eye out for special offers at Udemy, as you can often get courses with enormous discounts.

There are other courses at Udemy that might be worth checking out too:

Lynda

If you need to get started with Swift as quickly as possible, check out Lynda.com’s Swift 4 Essential Training.

There are plenty of other Swift courses available at Lynda.com too, and the difference between this site and Udemy is that, with Udemy you pay to download individual courses, whereas Lynda.com offers a monthly subscription that gives you access to unlimited courses, so you can try lots of them.

Lynda.com charges between £12.95 a month and £18.95 per month depending on the level of service you want, and once you’ve paid you can access all of its courses, whatever the subject, alongside this series of Swift lessons. If you’re not sure whether you'd suit this kind of tutoring, try out a free preview account first.

Tutsplus

If the lynda.com and Udemy courses are too expensive, check out Tutsplus, where you can buy courses for $9.

Podcasts about Swift development

If all of this solo study is sending you stir crazy, sign up to a programming podcast. iDeveloper focuses entirely on iOS and macOS development, discussing tools and techniques, and offering tips and advice. If you're serious about making some money from your work, it also concerns itself with the business side of selling your apps.

The content is chatty and engaging, but can get technical at times, so if you find it going above your head, hang in there and assimilate as much as you can - at least you'll be getting familiar with terms and phrases used within the realm of programming.

You can preview individual episodes and read a synopsis of each one at the podcast homepage.

Write your first app

Once you've mastered the basics of Swift, the next step is to get some hands-on experience: it's time to actually try writing an app for yourself. Once you're ready, we've got a few guides to help you out. 

First up, our guide to using the language runs through the fundamentals, along with some practical advice on writing apps in it. If you want to get more specific, we have separate guides to writing apps for iOS and for watchOS.

Finally, if you want to make sure you've got the right tools for the job, we have Mac buying advice specifically for developers, to help you get the best value Mac that has the power and features you need for app development.