While the Artsy engineering team includes many disciplines, tech stacks, and personalities, we all share a few things in common: a respect for each other, an appreciation of art-meets-science, and a celebration of learning. These are actually traits shared with our entire company, even non-engineers. So last Summer when Orta and I had some down time, it occurred to us how we could do something super-productive that was congruent with our values: we could teach the company Swift.
- A track for newcomers who may have never programmed before.
- A track for anyone who could explain what "object-oriented programming" meant.
It was really important to us to include beginners who had no exposure to programming – the digital marketing and genoming teams specifically were keen to learn how to program.
I'm a big believer in using "newcomer" and "informed" to describe the two groups of developers – it helps prevent newcomers from feeling inadequate and better describes the expectations for students.
We also focused on Swift-only, no iOS. That allowed us to focus on the language – which was fun because it let us focus on us learning new stuff, too – and we kept the course to five one-hour sessions (per track).
Next step was obviously to create a Slack chatroom. We re-purposed the oft-neglected room dedicated to Taylor Swift and turned it into a place where anyone could ask questions and share resources. It's also a helpful place to @channel everyone to remind them about the classes.