There is a lot you need to know to develop for the Mac and iOS platforms. If you are just starting out and don't have any programming experience, your first course of action should be to take a college-level course in the C programming language. Although the alphabet might start with the letter A, the root of most programming languages, and certainly your path as a developer, is C.
When you know C and how to work with a compiler (something you'll learn in that basic C course), the rest should be easy. From there, you can hop right on to Objective-C and learn how to program with that alongside the Cocoa frameworks. The flowchart shown in Figure 1 shows you key titles offered by Pearson Education that can help provide the training you need to become a skilled iOS developer.
Figure 1 A roadmap to becoming an iOS developer
When you know C, you have a few options for learning how to program with Objective-C. If you want an in-depth view of the language, you can either read Apple's documentation or pick up one of these books on Objective-C:
- Objective-C Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, by Aaron Hillegass (Big Nerd Ranch, 2012)
- Learning Objective-C: A Hands-on Guide to Objective-C for Mac and iOS Developers, by Robert Clair (Addison-Wesley, 2011)
- Programming in Objective-C 2.0, Fifth Edition, by Stephen Kochan (Addison-Wesley, 2012)
With the language behind you, next up is tackling Cocoa and the developer tools, otherwise known as Xcode. For that, you have a few different options. Again, you can refer to Apple's documentation on Cocoa and Xcode, or if you prefer books, you can learn from the best. Aaron Hillegass, founder of the Big Nerd Ranch in Atlanta is the coauthor of iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide, Third Edition, and author of Cocoa Programming for Mac OS X, Fourth Edition. Aaron's book is highly regarded in Mac developer circles and is the most-recommended book you'll see on the cocoa-dev mailing list. To learn more about Xcode, look no further than Fritz Anderson's Xcode 4 Unleashed from Sams Publishing.
To truly master Mac development, you need to look at a variety of sources: books, blogs, mailing lists, Apple's documentation, and, best of all, conferences. If you get the chance to attend WWDC, you'll know what I'm talking about. The time you spend at those conferences talking with other developers, and in the case of WWDC, talking with Apple's engineers, is well worth the expense if you are a serious developer.