iOS developer

How to hire an iOS developer [Ultimate Guide]

Are you planning to reach out to iPhone and iPad users with your new app? If you are then you have made a smart decision since these Apple platforms have a very loyal and large customer base.

In our guide “How to convert a website into an iOS app”, we explained the popularity of iOS apps. In brief, just consider that the Apple App Store had 2.2 million apps as of Q1 2019, which combined, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year.

How can you use this lucrative market for iOS to your advantage?

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 just another one in a large crowd of similar apps.

What do you need to design and develop an app that stands out? Well, you will need:

  • excellent project management
  • effective IT architecture
  • clear requirements
  • an effective development approach, just to start with

Most importantly, you will want competent iOS developers in your team to ensure the success of this project!

How do you find such developers, though? Well, this guide on how to hire iOS developers will explain exactly that.

What kind of developers do you need for iOS development?

Would you hire an iOS developer with only one skillset or a limited level of experience, for example? Most likely, such individuals will not fit the bill.

iOS development project involves several key tasks, e.g., requirements definition, architectural decision making, formulating a development approach, development, review, testing, deployment, etc.

Quite obviously, you will need iOS developers to play their part in more than one of these tasks. As you such, you need developers with a good level of experience in these tasks.

Take, for example, the task of formulating an effective development approach. While you will need your project manager (PM) and IT architect to play key roles in this, you also need iOS developers to offer valuable input.

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 considerable experience to define your project’s development approach.

Compare this with the task of coding. You need iOS developers that can follow the technical design and code the app, therefore, they don’t need to have a very high level of experience.

Clearly, you need iOS developers of different skill levels, which are as follows:

  • 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.
Key tasks

Roles and responsibilities: Key considerations when hiring iOS developers

Now that you know the various levels of experience on offer, let’s see how you can utilize them optimally.

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 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 to execute the project smoothly.
  • Senior iOS software engineers: Ideally, you shouldn’t assign a significant amount of more basic coding and testing tasks to them. Instead, 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 service offers 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 field expert software development teams.

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 use device-specific hardware features, therefore, they 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 the native 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 programming languages for developing native iOS apps.

Swift is a modern language that is used for developing apps on several Apple platforms, and Apple recommends it for native iOS development too. 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 its maintainability as well.
  • 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 for 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 now know which language skills you should look for when hiring iOS developers, and that’s great! However, you need to look for a few more iOS development skills, e.g.:

  • You need programmers that 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 design?

In most cases 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.

You will want to onboard experienced UI designers. This will mean that you don’t need your iOS developers to double up as UI design experts!

When you are hiring iPhone app developers, ensure that they understand the following:

  • The basics of the “Human Interface Guidelines” of Apple;
  • How to code effectively to take advantage of your choice of mobile navigation menu pattern.

Senior iOS developers in your team should have the capabilities to contribute to UI design with valuable ideas. E.g., they should take part in wireframing screens, moreover, they need to offer valuable input to the UI designers.

Development skills

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.:

  • React Native uses JavaScript, and you can find JavaScript developers relatively easily.
  • 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 close to native.
  • If you already have a web app, then you can easily launch a hybrid iOS app with the help of React Native with the added bonus of keeping your development costs down.

Hiring iPhone app developers? Look for knowledge on architecture

We will now describe the generic software development skills and competencies that you should look for when hiring iPhone developers.

Let’s start with architecture.

You won’t be expecting to hire an iOS developer that will also work as the project’s architect. You will make these software architectural decisions long before the job of coding starts, therefore, the architect’s role is a distinct one.

However, you will need iOS developers that can code in line with your choice of architectural pattern. Ideally, you also need senior iOS developers that can point out any sub-optimal architectural decisions etc.

When you correct your architectural decisions based on such feedback, you will introduce some degree of rework. However, this will deliver better results in the longer term, e.g., scalability, performance, etc., so it is worth the backtracking required.

DevTeam.Space’ iOS development teams aren’t only experts in project development, but we have senior developers with in-depth knowledge of all the different software architectural patterns used today. Read “10 best practices for building a Microservice architecture” for more on this.

iOS developers for hire need knowledge of application security

You are most certainly planning to secure your iOS app from cyber-attacks, aren’t you? In order to do this you might have sought out advice from software security experts, while you will have asked your architect to create a strategy on this.

Once again, if you hire iOS developers, it is unlikely that you will ask them to work as your information security experts. However, developers need knowledge of application security, and 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 application security vulnerabilities.

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.

You need to follow the right coding guidelines and best practices to mitigate many of these risks, e.g., injection, XML external entities (XXE), insecure deserialization, etc.

Naturally, you need developers that know how to present such vulnerabilities.

Application security

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 the experience in developing APIs. API development is another one of the generic development skills 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 scalability of your iOS app really 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 that 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 the cloud platform, the databases you use, etc. As you can see, 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 difference.

Take, for example, the case of building and managing the mobile backend.

It takes considerable time to build and manage mobile backend. If you aren’t using a “Mobile Backend as a Service” (MBaaS) platform, then you should consider using one. MBaaS platforms manage the cloud infrastructure and persistent storage, therefore, you don’t need to spend a lot of time to build the mobile backend.

On top of that, MBaaS platforms help companies to scale their mobile app. If you have knowledgeable iOS developers in your team, then they can show you the value of using an MBaaS platform. Our development teams at DevTeam.Space are highly skilled with MBaaS platforms. If you need to learn more about this then read “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”.

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, and 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 that can review the code of the 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 impressive experience 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 with all our programmers. 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 answered your questions about what skills are required for iOS developers. You may find yourself now asking the following questions:

  • “Where can I find iOS 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 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 field expert development team is essential, and as such, we at DevTeam.Space are 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.

Moreover, you likely need your talented PMs to work on several strategic projects. You can’t afford to have them integrate the work delivered by remote teams and freelancers. That’s one more reason for you to work with us since we manage your project end-to-end using our AI-powered Agile development process.

The only question that remains is what are you waiting for? We wish you the best of luck with your software development project.

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