From 0 to Github’s #1 Trending Swift Developer in Less than 2 Years
Throughout my life, I struggled with finding my passion; I studied mechatronics, worked in sales, even opened my own restaurant. For different reasons, I quit all of them. At one point, I had to leave Aleppo, my hometown in Syria because of the war. Even though it was an awful thing, it had a serious impact in waking me up.
Suddenly, I found myself in Istanbul, an amazing new city with new people and new opportunities. I had no choice but to learn Turkish in less than a year, and it was obvious that I needed to start the journey of finding myself all over again.
It was early 2015 when I made my final decision; I would study software. Unfortunately, waiting for another four years to graduate with a bachelor’s degree was too long, especially since I was 25.
My plan was to apply for a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering, and work at the same time. I applied to Bahçeşehir University, and I thought I could take some online courses to help me develop quickly, parallel to my university studies. It was less than a year after that, that Apple announced their new programming language, Swift, and I felt that I could start fresh, just like any other developer. So I started learning iOS online.
By July 2015, I had enough skills to build my first open-source project, Spinny, an iOS game built by SpriteKit. I felt I needed a new challenge in my life.
MY FIRST NANODEGREE PROGRAM
I heard that a website called Udacity was starting to disrupt the global education system by offering career-focused, in-depth e-learning experiences. I took on the iOS Developer Nanodegree program, and found myself studying all day long.
It was my first priority, and I blazed through it! I graduated in December 2015. My capstone project was Nutrition Cal, a nutrition app that helps people eat right and make healthier food decisions, by getting nutrition info for foods, keeping track of what they eat, and syncing their dietary information with Apple’s Health App.
I CANNOT STOP LEARNING
I never stopped, and it became obvious that I became addicted to learning new things every day!
“Udacity opened my eyes to the importance of being a life-long learner.”
I started my second Nanodegree program, the Front-End Web Developer Nanodegre program, and within two months, I graduated. My capstone project this time was Library Finder, a single-page web app that lets people find both public and private libraries near a specific place.
In May 2016, I heard Udacity was offering a full scholarship to the first 100 graduates of the Android Basics Nanodegre program, so I joined the program and graduated in just 5 days. Being amongst the first 100 graduates, I was awarded the full scholarship to the Android Developer Nanodegre program, which I have saved for later.
These Nanodegree programs have delivered a secondary—but nonetheless crucial—benefit: they have helped me develop my online identity as a software developer by teaching me how to build my LinkedIn profile and Github page, and reviewing them to perfection.
THE BLITZ TEAM!
In March 2016, Udacity Blitz offered me a chance to start working remotely on an iOS project. This was followed by multiple projects, and I ended up as an iOS Engineer on the team.
Alongside this, I joined a startup called abbox which does 3D modeling and product development, and I developed their website.
While working on my projects, in an attempt not to forget the new tricks I was learning, I started creating extensions for native Swift and UIKit classes. I needed a way to store them in one place for future reference; I saw no reason to keep them private, so I gathered them into a GitHub repository.
As the repository grew, I realized it could be of some help to other Swift developers, so I released it as an open-source project on GitHub and I called it SwifterSwift.
I kept adding new extensions to it, and in December 10, v 1.3 was released; it was the biggest update since the release of the library. The library expanded to have more than 370 extensions for more than 36 classes.
It turned out that the Swift community was thirsty for such a library. SwifterSwift found it’s way to the trending list in GitHub, and within a few days it got more than 1300 stars, 75 forks, and people were contributing to it quickly, making it the #1 trending Swift project. And, I was the #1 trending Swift developer for 4 days in a row!
Even though I wasn’t making any money from this, it felt awesome to get messages from not only experienced programmers around the globe, but also from students and people who were learning Swift for the very first time, telling me how the extensions in SwifterSwift were helping them understand how the language works better!
To be honest, I don’t know what the coming days will bring next, but I am sure of one thing: bring it on!