The Programming Language You Should Learn (Even if You’re Not a Developer)

You’ve heard it before: Learning a programming language can be an amazing way to spruce up your resume. Even if you’re applying to non-technical roles, coding chops signal that you’re tech-savvy and versatile. And with Apple’s recent announcement of Swift—the sexy new programming language coming out of Cupertino—you may be giving your coding education (or lack thereof) some serious thought.

Thinkful, an online school that teaches programming, recently polled its iOS teachers and students to figure out the right time for non-engineers to take the plunge and learn Swift, and they answered in union: That time is now.

Whether you’re just getting your feet wet in the hacker world or looking for a career switch, Swift will give you an edge in any job search. Here are just a few reasons why.

1. You Are Swift—You Learn Quickly and Act Quicker

Companies look for employees who can learn on the fly and quickly pick up new skills. Take it from Laszlo Bock, the head of hiring at Google, who says“the NO. 1 thing we look for is general cognitive ability, and it’s not IQ. It’s learning ability. It’s the ability to process on the fly.” Learning Swift definitely proves that you’re not only eager to dive into a new skill, but also that you’re an all-around fast learner. It shows that you constantly seek out the newest skills and work hard to put them into practice.

2. You Are Resourceful and Scrappy

The education for a new programming language looks a bit like the jungle. New tutorials, lessons, and courses come out every day (from a wide range of authorities on the subject) but there are no clear, easy-to-follow paths for learning the skill. (For traditional subjects, the opposite is true: If you want to learn a language, for example, there are lists of reputable sources that can get you there.) Successfully learning Swift will require navigating through a medley of resources and ascertaining the best path for you to learn—making the best of what’s there given a limited pool of resources. Doing this successfully is a sign that you’re able to transform what’s available into the tools you need to achieve your goals.

3. You’re Not Just Ahead of the Curve—You Are the Curve

In the developer world, knowing the latest language is important. And, basically, this is the most level playing field you can have at the moment, as the newness of Swift means that the line of experts ahead of you is still short. Learn Swift now, and you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on inside Apple’s new programming platform. You’ll be up-to-date on the latest trends and can predict changes in the industry. As companies make decisions about how to build and update their mobile apps, they’ll want someone with in-depth industry knowledge to have a strong voice in those discussions—and that can be you.

4. You’re a Pioneer for the Rest of Your Team

Swift is going to pave the way for the next generation of iOS8 devices. It’s easier for testing and debugging than Objective-C (the main language used to build apps). The new Playground feature—an interactive tool that lets you test features of the app—makes creation and maintenance of apps more responsive and visual.
Companies are undoubtedly already deciding how to migrate to the new language, a move that’ll require support from every department from product to sales. Just days after the launch, developers cloned wildly popular games and 2048—and created a subreddit with thousands of subscribers! Developers from all over are pioneering the change to Swift and will be helping dictate the direction that companies take in the future. Being able to quickly turn and innovate within a company would have any employee heralded as incredibly invaluable.

5. You’re Ready for What’s Next, Before Anyone Else

Apple’s WWDC announcements will have a much broader impact than simply inspiring programmers to pick up the hot new language. CEO Tim Cook announced five new kits—tools for building apps—that will give companies the power to build a host of new tools. The Health Kit (fitness device tracking tools) and Home Kit (smart home devices) give developers the resources to build a new wave of Apple software and hardware. Instead of reacting to these new products and wishing you’d thought to build something first, you’ll be able to proactively predict what new apps, products, and features should complement the new influx of Apple tools for your company.

Adding a set of hard skills to your resume is an obvious plus, and Swift definitely gives you an extra boost. The tech world is still abuzz with the news about Swift, and learning it can help you stand out for being forward-thinking and an agile learner. Plus, Swift is truly a pleasure to learn! Developers and journalists keep raving about the beauty and simplicity of the language, which, unlike Objective-C, is easy for a newbie to master.

As you join the ranks of leaders in Apple’s new programming language, you’ll be able to amaze employers with expertise in something actually cutting-edge, as they continue to wrap their heads around all the exciting changes that Apple announced.

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