Are you planning to target Apple users by hiring iOS developers to build a new app? If you are then you have made a smart decision since Apple has a very large and loyal customer base.
In our guide “How to Convert a Website into an iOS App”, we touched on why iOS apps are so lucrative. In brief, just consider that the Apple App Store had 1.64 million apps as of Q3 2022, which combined, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and you can see why so many companies want to develop Apple apps.
How can you make a splash in the lucrative iOS market?
Well, you need to design and develop your app in such a way that enables you to offer a truly unique experience to users. It won’t cut it if your app is yet another generic one in a large pool of similar apps. It will sink.
What do you need to design and develop an app that stands out? Well, you will need:
- Clear requirements
- The right tech stack
- Effective development tools like communication apps, etc.
- Excellent project management.
This list is missing one very important thing – developers.
You absolutely MUST have great iOS developers in your team to ensure your project’s success.
How do you find such developers? Well, this guide on how to hire iOS developers will explain exactly that.
Please note that since there is such a wide variety of different types of iOS applications, we will make this a generalized overview that outlines the general skill sets for the main types of iOS development projects.
What Kind of iOS Developers Do You Need?
An iOS development project involves several key tasks, e.g., requirements definition, architectural decision-making, formulating a development approach, development, review, testing, deployment, etc.
Naturally, you will need iOS developers to help with most of these tasks, so you need developers with a good level of experience.
Take, for example, the task of formulating an effective development approach. While you will need your project manager (PM) and infrastructure architect to play key roles in this, you also will benefit from input from your iOS developers, after all, they will be the ones coding the application. So their experience counts.
For more information on this read our article “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?”. It covers in more detail why you need people with plenty of experience to define your project’s development approach.
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Compare this with the task of coding. You need iOS developers who can follow the technical design and best coding practices, therefore, they don’t need to have an exceptionally high level of experience, though let us be clear, experience counts when it comes to coding too.
To give you a better idea of what you need, here are the different iOS developer skill levels:
- Junior iOS developers: This level starts with beginners and goes up to around 2 years of experience. Developers at this level always work under the direction of more senior colleagues.
- Mid-level iOS developers: Developers at this level have 2-5 years of experience. They have worked on multiple projects already, and they can work independently.
- Senior iOS developers: Programmers at this level have more than 5 years of experience, and have already worked on multiple complex-level projects. They have the skills and experience to guide their junior colleagues. They make valuable contributions to various tasks, e.g., architectural decision-making, code reviews, etc.
Roles and Responsibilities: Key Considerations When Hiring iOS Developers
Now that you know the various levels of experience, let’s see how you can utilize them in an optimal way.
You will need to plan the roles and responsibilities of each developer. This will help you to utilize them effectively, however, it does much more than that.
Think for a moment from the perspective of your programmers. They need clarity on what each of them needs to do. Define their roles and responsibilities early on to offer them this clarity.
You can do this by distributing responsibilities according to their seniority levels, e.g.:
- Junior iOS coders: Assign them the more basic coding and testing tasks.
- Mid-level iOS programmers: You need them to code and test, however, you will also need more from them. Mid-level developers will regularly coordinate with the testing and DevOps teams, which will help you execute the project smoothly.
- Senior iOS software engineers: Ideally, you shouldn’t assign a significant amount of basic coding and testing tasks to them. Get them to do the hard stuff. Along with difficult coding tasks, you should ask them to provide inputs to architectural decision-making, UI design, test planning, test case preparation, code review, and quality control activities.
See how iOS development is much more than just coding? You need a well-rounded team for this, and this is where we at DevTeam.Space can help. Our iOS development services, which include allowing companies to outsource our developers or dev teams, offer all the technical skills and expertise your project will need. However, we also offer a lot more.
With our deep knowledge of programming languages, frameworks, and processes-methods-and-tools (PM&T), we can carry out all the above-mentioned responsibilities. With us, you don’t just get programmers, rather, you get fully-vetted, field-expert software developers and development teams with years of experience creating performant and maintainable iOS software solutions.
Simply send a request for a complimentary call and one of our account managers will be get in touch.
Choose Between Native vs Hybrid Development Before Hiring iOS Developers
We will start with the first choice that you need to make. Are you planning to build a native iOS app or a hybrid app?
Native apps deliver a better user experience. These apps offer better security and performance, too. However, you require a bigger budget for native app development.
On the other hand, hybrid apps have one codebase and can run on both Android and iOS. While they fall short when it comes to offering a native-level user experience, you incur lower development costs and you can launch your app faster.
What Skills Should Top iOS Developers Have for Native Development?
Planning to develop a native iOS app? You need to use either Swift or Objective-C since these are the Apple programming languages used for developing native iOS apps.
Swift is a modern language that is used for native iOS development. This popular language offers many advantages, e.g.:
- Its advanced operators reduce the coding effort.
- You can code fast and performant iOS apps using Swift since it’s a lightweight language.
- Swift eliminates several common coding errors, thanks to its advanced features.
- Programs written in Swift are highly readable, which improves their maintainability as well (this is vital for any successful application. Even if it is an internal system it will need to be upgraded and enhanced at some point).
- Since Apple prefers Swift for iOS apps, you get better “App Store Optimization” (ASO).
Where does this leave Objective-C? Well, if you think Objective-C doesn’t appeal to native iOS developers anymore, then you might be surprised. While Swift is a modern language and highly popular, Objective-C still has a wide following.
Objective-C offers many advantages, e.g.:
- Objective-C evolved from C, the highly successful programming language. It has powerful extensions that make it an excellent object-oriented programming.
- Apple uses Cocoa programming heavily in its frameworks, and Objective-C is the mainstay of Cocoa programming.
- Many native iOS developers know Objective-C well, which is always a great advantage when you undertake a native iOS development project.
Other iOS Development Skills You Should Look For
You should now know which programming language skills to look for when hiring iOS developers. However, you need to look for a few more iOS development skills, e.g.:
- You need programmers who are familiar with Xcode, the popular IDE.
- Top iOS developers should be familiar with APIs like Cocoa Touch, UIKit, etc.
- You need iOS developers with good knowledge of the “Core Data framework”.
What about your UI design? Will you need developers with expertise in UI/UX design?
When it comes to the developers involved in creating functionality for the UI, the answer is a definitive yes. Since most user interaction revolves around the UI, having a great UI is a must in today’s world.
When you are hiring iPhone app developers, ensure that they understand the following:
- Apple’s “Human Interface Guidelines”;
- How to code effectively to take advantage of your choice of mobile navigation menu patterns.
Senior iOS developers in your team should have the capability to contribute valuable ideas towards your UI design. E.g., they should take part in wireframing screens, moreover, they need to offer valuable input to the UI designers, particularly when it comes to altering your app based on customer feedback.
Hybrid iOS Development: What Skills Do You Need?
Are you planning on developing a hybrid app? You will need to use popular hybrid development frameworks like React Native or Xamarin if you are. Take the case of React Native, for example, let’s see what advantages it offers.
You can reap many benefits from using React Native for iOS development, e.g.:
- This popular framework features “Hot Reloading”, which makes development more efficient.
- React Native allows for smooth UI interactions, therefore, you can offer a user experience that’s as close to native as it gets.
- If you already have a web app, then you can easily launch a hybrid iOS app with the help of React Native. This approach comes with the added bonus of keeping your development costs down.
iOS Developers for Hire Need Knowledge of Application Security
You will need to ensure that your iOS app is secure from cyber-attacks. In order to do this, you will have to seek advice from software security experts and will then ask your architect to create a strategy around your findings.
If you hire iOS developers, they do need some fundamental knowledge of application security, so this is one of those generic skills we expect from all programmers.
Why should you hire iOS developers with application security knowledge? The answer to this question lies in how you mitigate mobile application security vulnerabilities.
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You need to take two parallel streams of action.
The first stream involves infrastructure, tools, etc. This includes using the right kind of cloud computing infrastructure, employing techniques like encryption and digital signature, the use of real-time threat intelligence tools, using next-generation firewalls, etc.
The other stream of action concerns how you code your application. The “Open Web Application Security Project” (OWASP) team has researched application security and has identified the top 10 application security risks.
While you project manager is likely to decide on the first stream, it will be your developers who ultimately must follow the right coding guidelines and best practices to mitigate many of these risks, e.g., injection, XML external entities (XXE), insecure deserialization, etc.
This is where hiring only the best developers is essential and why you should not penny pinch when it comes to your hiring decision.
Look for API Development Experience When you Hire an iOS Developer
You are likely planning to develop APIs to implement your core features. APIs enable you to scale your development process since they provide a consistent framework for your application front-end to access the backend.
Naturally, you will need iOS developers with experience in developing APIs. API development is another one of the generic development skills we require in our iOS developers that we mentioned earlier.
REST (Representational State Transfer) is the de facto standard for API development. Most projects will involve you developing RESTful APIs. In order to develop such APIs, programmers need in-depth knowledge of the following:
- API development tools like Postman;
- API documentation tools like Swagger;
- Modern databases like PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
- Securing APIs using techniques like encryption, digital signatures, quotas, throttling, etc.;
- Designing meaningful URLs for the APIs;
- Formulating effective rules for API requests and responses.
Top iOS Developers Need to Know How to Scale a Mobile App
You don’t need us to tell you just how important the scalability of your iOS app is. As you grow your business and attract new users, scalability will become a key factor that will influence your ongoing success. Naturally, you should onboard iOS developers who know how to code a scalable mobile app.
Various factors play their part in determining whether an app will scale well, e.g., the architectural pattern you use, your choice of cloud platform, the databases you use, etc. Your iOS architect will make a lot of these decisions.
However, architectural decisions can go wrong, and often do. This is where the input from your senior iOS developers can make a big difference.
Look for Code Review Experience When Hiring iOS Developers
You need a robust “Verification & validation” process to achieve success in your iOS app development project. “Validation” refers to testing. You must implement a comprehensive testing process in your team.
However, you will want to find defects even before you start testing. The earlier you find bugs, the less expensive it is to fix them. How do you find bugs early? This is where “verification” plays a part. This means a systematic and structured review.
Verification includes the review of requirements, design, test plan, test cases, and code. You need senior developers who can review the code of your junior and mid-level developers, therefore, look for this expertise when you hire iOS developers.
Code reviewers do the following:
- Run automated code review tools to detect those “low-hanging fruits”;
- Review the code to determine if it will deliver the intended functionalities;
- Verify whether the code follows the applicable standards and guidelines;
- Check whether the code will meet the “Non-Functional Requirements” (NFRs) like scalability, availability, etc.;
- Unearth application security vulnerabilities in the code.
Code reviewers need in-depth technical skills, moreover, they should have many years of experience working as developers. They need excellent knowledge of software defect prevention methods and practices, furthermore, they ought to have adequate “people skills” to foster collaboration with developers.
It sounds like a hard-to-find combination, don’t you think? At DevTeam.Space, we have used our extensive industry experience to solve this issue. Our senior developers have considerable experience in code review, as well as working in our teams of programmers as we employ them all on a full-time basis. We solved this problem so our clients don’t have to.
For more on this, you can read our article “Why choosing DevTeam.Space to review your code can ensure your software product is a success”.
How to Hire an iOS Developer?
We have detailed what skills you will likely require in your iOS developers. Remember that your requirements will be project specific, so they will differ slightly. You may find yourself now asking the following questions:
- “Where can I find iOS app developers?”;
- “How much does it cost to hire an iOS developer?”
Take a step back and ask a more fundamental question, namely, “Do I really want my iOS app development project to thrive and not just succeed?”. No points for guessing that your answer is a resounding, “yes”.
Well, then you need much more than individual iOS developers. Let’s examine why.
We have already talked about development, architecture, application security, code review, etc. However, you need a functional DevOps process to succeed with any project.
Your team will not only consist of talented iOS mobile developers, but it will also need testers, DevOps engineers, etc. You need an effective CI/CD environment to succeed, and this requires excellent collaboration between developers, testers, DevOps engineers, the “Scrum Master”, etc.
You can find iOS developers on various freelance platforms, however, those platforms will not offer you a cohesive team that fosters collaboration.
A expert development team that knows all its members is essential, and as such, DevTeam.Space is just the right partner for you. Read “Freelance app development team vs. field expert software development teams” to find out how our teams value collaboration as a primary ingredient of success.
Interview tips for you when you hire iOS app developers
Consider the following interview tips:
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A. Avoid Freelancers!
Don’t hire either Swift or Objective-C freelance developers. Every year we pick up the pieces of failing projects where the freelancer has let the project down. This might be anything from leaving the project early to writing some shockingly bad code. Some even steal the idea in order to create it themselves.
Freelancers work on multiple projects at the same time and so can’t give your project their full attention. Given the price of failure, why take the risk? Hire from dedicated software development companies where the developer works for the platform on a full-time basis.
B. Be Prepared!
You should have nailed your project specifications before you even start to think about the tech stack you plan to use. Once you have, get a professional to help you decide on the right tech stack. This individual should be able to tell you exactly what you will need from your developer.
Plan your interview very carefully, especially the skills interview. We definitely recommend having someone with in-depth knowledge of the technologies you are interviewing for. This person should throw in a few testing curve-balls to really test the candidate.
Another good idea in the test interview is to add a few lines of poor code to their answer and tell ask the candidate why such and such issue is happening. You will then get to see how the candidate reacts and how long it takes them to identify the problem. You should expect the candatate to exclaim “this is not my code” or something of the sort. Question them if they merely fix it and don’t say anything.
C. Don’t Wait Until the Last Interview to Check Their Timezone
Be sure to ask the candidate as early as possible about their working hours and timezone. We advise you to ensure that you have at least a 4 hour overlap at some point during the day. This will allow you the time to fix any issues, etc.
Also, check to make sure the whether the candidate is available out of ours and what they are willing to do in an emergency, i.e. reply to communications late at night, etc.
D. Standardize Interview Questions
This is a no-brainer but one that often gets overlooked. If you standardize questions and record interviews then you can accurately compare candidates to find out who is the right one for you.
Examples of interview questions when you hire iPhone app developers
Ask questions to assess the hands-on knowledge of developers. The following are a few examples:
A. Which API should you use for writing test scripts to evaluate the UI elements of an iOS app?
B. Explain the differences between non-atomic and atomic properties in iOS development.
Answer: An atomic property will always produce a fully initialized object. iOS developers often consider it risky to retrieve an uninitialized value of a property. In some situations, they might not consider it risky. They can configure the property as a non-atomic one in that case. iOS developers might sometimes want to do this for better performance.
C. Explain the differences between the keywords “retain” and “assign”?
Answer: You use the keyword “retain” to exercise control over one object. This keyword associates a particular function with an object. On the other hand, the “Assign” keyword provides an attribute to an object. This helps to qualify the object. The object will now have its own definition.
Review our iOS interview questions for more examples.
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iOS application development is a lucrative business when companies get it right.
A popular iOS application can find itself with hundreds of thousands of users in a very short space of time. Apple mobile users outspend their Android rivals by a considerable amount when it comes to in-app purchases too.
Despite the popularity of iOS, finding great iOS developers for hire can be challenging. The challenge is made even more difficult if you only have limited experience in the field.
It is for that reason you should only hire the best iOS developers. You can start your search by submitting a DevTeam.Space product specification form so you can find out about our vetted community of field expert iOS developers.
After you submit it, one of our dedicated account managers will arrange a call to answer any questions you might have.