How to Find and Hire iOS Developers
Building a mobile presence for your business is impossible without an iOS application. However, finding an iPhone app developer who can make a high-quality iOS application and offer good value for money is a challenge many companies face. There are lots of ways to hire a good developer. Which is best for you? Find out in this article
When you decide to release an application, you basically have two platforms to choose between Android and iOS. iOS accounts for only 14% of the global mobile market, but iOS users spend more on apps and generate more profit for app programmers than Android users. This makes iOS impossible to ignore, and all startups, companies, and organizations that want to be present in the mobile market need iOS app developers.
According to AppAnnie, iOS users spend 80% more on apps than Android users. Also, there are fewer completely free iOS apps compared to Android apps, so Apple consumers are used to paying for software.
It’s a challenge for many companies to hire iOS developers because of severe competiton for talents
Businesses love iOS for its high profits, and programmers love it for its simple and minimalistic approach to development, clear guidelines, and limited lineup of devices, which makes quality assurance and mobile app development easier.
According to Statista, there are currently around 2.8 million iOS developers in the world. Despite this, it’s a challenge for many companies and startups to hire iPhone app developers: most programmers find work shortly after finishing their studies, and companies fight for talented specialists.
Large companies offer lots of perks, bonuses, and benefits for programmers that smaller companies with little or no development expertise just can’t offer. Moreover, companies that have strong software engineering expertise, like outsourcing companies, find it easier to assess candidates and figure out which are truly the best.
The simple fact is this: to create an iOS application, you need to hire an iOS developer who works with Objective-C or Swift in Xcode. But the world of iOS developers is so vast in terms of hourly rates, experience levels, locations, and both hard and soft skills that you need to assess more skills to find the perfect candidate.
In this article, I’ll answer these questions:
- How can I choose which skill level is sufficient for my needs?
- How can I determine the skill level of an iOS specialist?
- What basic things should an iOS programmer know?
- Where can I find iOS developers with the best price-quality ratio?
- How can I hire iOS developers for my project?
I’ll cover all the options for hiring iOS engineers, from finding a freelance developer to partnering with an outsourcing company. As there’s no universal solution and everything depends on your particular needs and resources, I’ll also talk about which option is best for each individual case.
Before we delve into ways to hire an iPhone app developer, let’s figure out what iOS programmers need to know, how you can determine a developer’s skill set, and what skill level you need for your project.
Levels of mastery: junior, middle, and senior iOS developers
In IT, most developers fall into one of three categories: junior, middle, or senior. These levels of skills and experience determine a developer’s speed of work and hourly rate. Every developer who enters the world of software engineering starts in a junior position.
A developer’s level is determined only in part by their technical skills, as developers participate in lots of other activities beyond coding. They can participate in building an app’s UI and UX, publishing apps to the App Store, planning the app development process, and so on.
You can hire iOS app developers of different skill levels depending on your needs, current team, budget, and urgency.
Junior iOS developers
Junior iOS developers have up to one year of experience after being a trainee. Juniors usually work with more skilled developers to gain experience and get constant feedback on their work. Junior iOS developer requirements usually include one year of experience in coding, a clear understanding of Swift or Objective-C, and experience in working with Xcode.
I don’t recommend hiring junior programmers on their own. Do it only if you have middle and senior developers who can check their work and have time for mentoring.
Middle iOS developers
Middle developers are able to work independently on more complex projects but still need their code to be reviewed by their senior peers. However, code review depends on the team’s culture. At Mobindustry, for example, senior developers also have their code reviewed by peers, as it’s always useful to get another perspective.
Middle developers are able to work independently on more complex projects but still need their code to be reviewed by their senior peers
Middle iOS developers usually have 3 to 4 years of experience developing applications. Over this time, they have likely worked on several large projects of different types and have gained experience integrating different services into apps.
Senior iOS developers
After completing dozens of projects of all types and sizes and after reviewing tons of code and many integrations with all kinds of services, a developer reaches the highest level of mastery. Senior programmers are experts not only in coding but in app design, security, API integration, and testing.
Senior developers are hard to find and hire, as their rates and requests are rather high and companies will always try to hunt them.
Senior programmers are experts not only in coding but in app design, security, API integration, and testing
Now that you know what types of programmers there are, you need to choose which your project requires based on your current team size and your budget. For example, if you already have an established development team and you just need to expand it, a junior or middle iOS developer can be a good option for you.
However, if you need to create a complex product from scratch, you’ll need a senior developer, as they’ll be able to consult you on the whole development process and not only code.
Skills an iOS developer should have
Your iOS programmer can be a young specialist or an experienced expert, but either way, there are some basic skills any iOS developer should possess to be able to create an app successfully.
Here is an iOS developer skills list every iOS programmer should have:
- Expertise in Swift or Objective-C
- A solid understanding of the Xcode IDE
- Experience integrating APIs
- Knowledge of RESTful APIs
- Understanding of UI/UX design standards
- Knowledge of Apple Human Interface Guidelines
- Experience working in a Core Data framework
- Knowledge of Metal or OpenGL
- Extensive experience using code version control tools like Git
Requirements for a senior iOS developer
No matter where you want to post a job, you need a list of requirements to know exactly what you’re looking for. I’ll give you a basic requirement sheet for a senior iOS programmer that you can change according to your needs and goals.
- 4–5 apps published on the App Store
- 3–5 years of development experience in Swift or Objective-C
- 1–2 years of experience in team management
- Ability to write well-documented and clear code
- Understanding of current development trends and best practices
- Intermediate or higher English skills
- Solid understanding of OOP
Good to have:
- Android development experience
- Experience setting up CI/CD
- Ability to integrate third-party services into the iOS ecosystem
Now that you have a list of requirements, you need to make sure your candidates meet them. It’s easy if you already have an iOS development expert. But what can you do if your company doesn’t have iOS development expertise yet? Let’s find out.
How to interview an iOS developer
You can hire an iPhone developer in a multitude of ways we’ll discuss later in this article, but whichever way you choose, you’ll need to conduct an interview to make sure your candidate has the required qualifications.
As with any specialist, an iOS programmer should have both hard and soft skills. Let’s review what questions you can ask to determine both of these types of skills.
Hard skills interview
When it comes to iOS developer technical skills, it’s important to have an expert at the interview, especially if you want to determine the skill level of a middle or senior developer. At Mobindustry, we encourage our clients to interview our developers with the help of their team members or third-party experts.
Here are some examples of basic questions you can ask an iOS programmer along with possible answers to them. But remember that it takes way more than five questions to determine a developer’s level of expertise.
1. What is a Dictionary?
It’s an analog of hash tables in Swift that stores pairs of keys and values and allows you to extract a value when you provide the corresponding key.
2. Name the common execution states.
In iOS, there are five execution states: Inactive, Active, Background, Suspended, and Not Running. Some of these states, like Background, can be customized in order to preserve resources and battery life.
3. What is MVC?
MVC, which stands for Model–View–Controller, is a type of software design pattern or architecture. It’s the main architectural pattern in iOS development. The Model represents the data in the application, Views are responsible for the UI elements, and Controllers manage data flows between the Model and the View.
4. How do you make a property optional, and when should you do this?
You can make a property optional by providing the value of “?”, and it’s used to avoid runtime errors.
5. What is the main feature of Swift and what are its pros and cons?
Swift is a strongly typed language, which can be viewed as both an advantage and a disadvantage. On the one hand, static typing helps in development and allows you to create protocols, generics, and optionals. On the other hand, it can be too restrictive when you want to build something highly customized and flexible — for example, a library or a framework. Objective-C is a better option here, as it has more meta-programming capabilities. Still, Swift is a must-have language, as Objective-C is becoming obsolete.
Soft skills interview
Now that we’ve covered some examples of interview questions to check hard skills, let’s learn how to find out whether a candidate is a good fit for your team.
Here are some things you can ask an iOS developer to determine their soft skills.
- Imagine you’ve been assigned a task that you can’t complete on time. What do you do?
- Who was the worst manager you ever had? Why were they the worst?
- What would you do if your peer developer had bad documentation and your manager didn’t seem to notice?
- What qualities do you value most in team members?
- Imagine you’ve been asked by your team lead to change your code, but you don’t agree with their decision. What do you do?
You can ask questions like these to determine whether a candidate is suitable for your team.
Top 4 options for hiring iOS developers
If you need to develop an iOS app for your business and you’re looking for a specialist who will be able to deliver a high-quality product at a reasonable price, you have four options:
- Create your own in-house team
- Hire a freelancer
- Get an outstaffing developer
- Outsource your project to another company
There’s no universally best solution here: your hiring strategy should correspond to your current situation and needs. Let’s review all the options, discuss when each is best, and compare them.
Create an in-house team
Many non-tech companies create their own IT departments that are responsible for the business’s software products. Establishing an in-house development team isn’t easy: you need to take care of everything from finding ios developer candidates and assessing their skills to creating workplaces with equipment and retaining specialists.
The iOS developer recruitment poses a real challenge for all companies, as experienced programmers are in high demand. If you don’t have the capacity to offer the best conditions for your employees in terms of constant professional growth and comfort, you risk losing them.
Usually, creating an in-house team is a good option for mid-sized and large companies, as they have the opportunity to attract good specialists and grow junior programmers inside their company through mentorship.
Startups, on the other hand, often choose to outsource development to save money and get going fast, as the time to market is extremely important for them.
Another option is to combine an in-house team with outstaffed or outsourced team members. In this way, you’ll still have experts that know about your company and product while benefiting from the expertise of remote specialists.
To sum up, let’s review the pros and cons of an in-house development team.
Pros and cons of an in-house development team
- Easy communication and cooperation, as all team members are often in one office. However, this may not be the case if your in-house team is remote due to the pandemic or your employees’ personal preferences.
- In-house developers have in-depth knowledge of your product and internal business processes and won’t be distracted by working on other projects.
- You’ll need to pay your employees even when there currently are no tasks for them.
- The hiring process is complex, and you’ll need to be ready to find new programmers to replace those who leave your company over time.
- Office rent, taxes, wages, equipment, software, bonuses, sick leave, vacations, and other expenses are all on you.
Hire a freelancer
As the number of freelancers continues to grow, many companies, small businesses, and individual entrepreneurs choose to work with them. Freelance developers are often experienced in multiple fields, and they’re great for small-scale projects.
However, while many businesses think that hiring a freelancer is cost-effective, this may not always be the case. If you want your project to be executed by a single iOS developer, that developer should be an expert in both frontend and backend development, and such full-stack specialists never work for a low rate and are hard to find.
This means you’ll probably need several freelancers to complete your project, and managing them is where you’ll most likely have trouble. Getting several freelance iOS developers to collaborate is a challenge, and you may spend more time managing them than anticipated for several reasons:
- Freelancers’ work hours are often flexible, which makes it hard to schedule meetings.
- Most freelance programmers prefer working on their own on different projects instead of constantly collaborating with a single team.
- Hiring a freelancer may be risky, as they may break the deadline or disappear.
- Your freelancer may be distracted by other projects.
If you need to develop a mid-sized or large product from scratch, hiring freelancers isn’t the best option, as one person can’t be a developer, designer, and manager simultaneously, and managing a team of freelancers is hard.
But there are also lots of benefits to hiring freelancers:
- You can find talent in any part of the world, and it’s easy to pick an experienced and responsible expert through reviews and feedback.
- You don’t need to pay a freelancer when you don’t have any tasks for them.
- For small projects, hiring a freelancer will often be cheaper.
- The remote iOS developer salary range is very wide
- You don’t need to pay for office space, taxes, vacations, etc.
You can hire iPhone application developers on all kinds of freelance platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, Toptal, Guru, etc.
Outsource or outstaff an iOS developer
Partnering with an outsourcing company is suitable for companies that need a programmer fast and don’t want to hire an iOS programmer in-house.
Usually, software development companies offer two cooperation models: outsourcing and outstaffing.
Outstaffing allows for fast team expansion. In this model, a company “rents” a developer’s time and gets the specialist as a team member, paying only for work delivered. You can hire a dedicated iOS app developer or several programmers at once as part of your dedicated team and have them work on your project for as long as you’ve agreed.
If you need more developers or more time dedicated to your project, you can always negotiate it with your software development vendor.
Outstaffing programmers is safer than hiring freelancers because you sign a contract with a software development company and can be sure your developers will spend as much time on your project as agreed.
Additionally, all expenses for hardware, software, office rent, sick leave, etc. are the responsibility of the outstaffing company.
Outsourcing a project allows you to get a whole team of experts that can build your product from scratch. They’ll do the research, consider your business goals, create a detailed development plan along with a technical specifications and wireframes, and develop and test your product.
They will also handle the management, which will be effective because you’ll get an already formed team. The managers of your outsourcing vendor should involve you in the development process and always keep you informed on everyday progress to make sure the team is meeting the deadlines.
Outsourcing allows you to hire iOS app developers, designers, programmers, business analysts, managers, and other specialists that will deliver your project as one team.
What are the pros and cons of outsourcing and outstaffing?
Pros and cons of outsourcing and outstaffing
- You can find an iOS developer or even a whole development team in no time with outsourcing. Outsourcing and outstaffing companies handle the hiring process and confirm programmers’ skills.
- Outsourcing companies grow developers inside their companies, so you get the best talents on the market.
- You don’t need to pay for anything outside of your delivered product: pay strictly for hours spent on your project.
- Outstaffed and outsourced programmers are stable, unlike freelancers, and won’t abandon your project.
- Contracting with an outsourcing company protects your project idea, intellectual property, and confidential information and gives you a guarantee the project will be delivered on time and within the agreed budget.
- Outsourcing is often more cost-effective, as you get to choose from a large pool of companies from all around the world to get the perfect balance between price and quality.
- If you outsource development, you don’t need to worry about vacations, recruiting, and programmers leaving your company.
- You’ll save money on taxes.
- Depending on the country your vendor is situated in, you can have delays in communication. To avoid this, set up a schedule for daily and weekly meetings.
- Language barriers can cause issues, so make sure you communicate well with your potential vendor before signing the contract.
Where to find an outsourcing company
If you decide that outsourcing or outstaffing is the best option for your iOS development project, you need to find the perfect vendor. Here are the best ways to search for mobile development companies:
- Social media
When it comes to countries where the best outsourcing companies are situated, everything depends on your budget. The hourly rates of programmers vary dramatically: for example, the average hourly rate of an iOS developer in the US is $75 to $125, while a programmer with a similar skill level and experience in Ukraine will charge $30 to $40.
Multiply this by the number of hours you need for your project, and you’ll see that the difference is staggering. And despite their lower rates, Ukrainian developers tend to have strong technical education.
How Mobindustry can help you hire iOS developers
We can provide you with iOS developers that correspond to your requirements according to the outstaffing or outsourcing model. All of our programmers have higher education in STEM fields, but we always encourage our clients to conduct both technical and soft skill interviews.
If you need to expand your team and hire dedicated iOS developers, or you’d like to get a full range of experts for your iOS project, make sure to contact us.