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Upskilling with Swift: A Case Study in Retail Tech Talent Development

25 October 2023

Upskilling with Swift: A Case Study in Retail Tech Talent Development

The UK retail sector is undergoing a technology-driven transformation. With consumers rapidly shifting purchases online and expecting seamless omnichannel experiences, retailers must accelerate their digital capabilities to remain competitive. This urgency is profoundly impacting talent strategies across the industry.

A leading British home furnishings retailer, recognizes competency in cutting-edge technologies like Swift and AWS as key to their continued growth. This case study explores how they developed the skills of their software engineering team through comprehensive Swift training.

The Challenge: Maintaining Relevance in a Dynamic Market

The Company operates over 175 superstores nationally in addition to their digital presence. The superstores rely on robust in-store technologies to enable customers to view product ranges, check stock, and fulfill online orders. Meanwhile, the website and app  must deliver rapid feature development and exceptional user experiences.

With Apple’s Swift programming language integral to iOS development and utilized across Apple’s expanding suite of products, the software teams required expert skills in Swift fundamentals alongside best practices in app architecture, design patterns, and Xcode tools.

Additionally, competency in AWS cloud services is critical for managing deployments, security, reliability and scalability of infrastructure. With new AWS features regularly released, ongoing education is vital.

The Partnership: Comprehensive Courses through JBI

To upskill their talent, The company partnered with JBI, a training provider focused on short, intensive tech courses aligned to real-world practices. JBI’s Swift and AWS programs ensured The Company’s engineers would gain immediately applicable skills.

The Swift training spanned 5 days with over 35 hours of hands-on instruction and project work. Key learning objectives included:

  • Swift syntax, datatypes, operators
  • Functions, closures, generics
  • Object-oriented principles
  • Protocols, extensions
  • Error handling
  • Unit testing
  • iOS UI development
  • Network calls, concurrency

The AWS course covered cloud architecture patterns, compute and storage services, deployment tools, security, cost management and more.

JBI’s immersive delivery approach combines expert instruction, peer collaboration, and continuous project application to accelerate competency. Participants work through the full mobile and cloud development lifecycles hands-on during the training.

The Results: Leveling-Up Team Capabilities

85% of the companys software engineers across mobile and backend teams completed the Swift and AWS courses over 8 weeks. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive:

"The detail and follow up labs were really useful for cementing the concepts. The instructor was patient and knowledgeable in answering all our questions." - Mobile Team Lead
"I really liked the process of building an entire iOS app from scratch during the course. It helped the Swift syntax and patterns stick." - iOS Developer

The training architected by JBI delivered an immediate boost in The company's technical capabilities and contributed to major speed improvements in launching new digital experiences.

Following the success of the initial upskilling program, the company is partnering with JBI on additional training across emerging tech domains including machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing and Web 3.0.

Continual skills development ensures the company retains top talent while future-proofing against disruption. The company views learning budgets as investments rather than costs, a stance critical for innovation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Immersive, project-based training delivered big wins for retaining strong engineering teams.
  2. Partnerships with specialized providers like JBI accelerated capability building aligned to real-world needs.
  3. Developers stayed engaged and motivated when actively upskilling in the latest, high-demand skills.
  4. The speed of digital transformation in retail demands constant skills reinvention -The retailer recognises learning as pivotal to their strategy.
  5. Technical talent development is indispensable to creating seamless omnichannel retail experiences.

With the lifelong learning mindset modeled by The company, retailers can transform threats of disruption into opportunities for growth by unleashing their teams’ full potential.

Next Steps

Based on the success of the initial Swift and AWS training, The company is continuing to expand their technical skills development. Upcoming courses being undertaken with JBI Training include:

The company remains committed to investing in their engineers to drive innovation. The company sees learning as integral to their culture and business strategy rather than an optional extra. With technology rapidly evolving, the company  emphasis on upskilling ensures they can continue delivering exceptional omnichannel experiences to customers.


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