How To Hire Top iOS Developers
Looking to develop apps for Apple’s ecosystem of mobile devices? Whether you’re migrating an existing app to the latest version of iOS or building a new app from scratch, an iOS developer can help.
So how do you find iOS development consultants? What follows are some tips on finding top iOS developers on Upwork.
How to shortlist iOS developers
As proposals are submitted, you’ll need to vet the most promising developers to create a shortlist of people you want to take on to the interview phase. Here are some points to look for:
- Professionalism. Who’s tailored their submission to speak to your business and your mobile app? Check out their Upwork profile: How do they present themselves in general?
- Talent. Because iOS developers are critical at every juncture of an app’s development, it should be clear from their proposal, profile, and portfolio that they have the skills needed to build an app that looks great, works well, and is well-received by users.
- Experience. Has the freelancer built mobile applications for other businesses in your specific industry? Do they have plenty of experience working in iOS-specific software such as the Xcode IDE, Cocoa frameworks, and successfully submitting to the App Store? Are they full-stack (handling UI design, software architecture, and programming) or do they collaborate well with others?
- Feedback. What do previous clients have to say about their work? Reviewing feedback can give you insight into their ability to communicate, solve problems, and produce a great product.
- Portfolio. Each app in their portfolio should show how the developer used their skills to develop a product that met the client’s requirements and solved the problems they were looking to solve. Also keep an eye out for apps that have excellent, easy-to-use UIs, have an aesthetic you like, or have excellent performance with no crashes, bugs, or long lags. All of this will point to a developer who can work well on both the front- and back-ends of an app’s functionality and has a holistic approach to app development.
How to write an effective iOS developer job post
- Results: What deliverable(s) do you expect?
- Targets: What are your deadlines? Are you breaking app development down into phase?
- Time: What are the start and end dates for your app development, and your submit-by goal date?
You’ll also want to highlight the specific skills you’re looking for and what stage your project is in, whether that’s a specific framework, API, or programming language.
Now, you can write your project overview. If you have documentation that shows basic wireframes or ideas, you can include these in your project description. Describe the app in enough detail that it gives a developer a good idea of the work to be done. If you need the developer to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement), you can also specify this requirement in your description.
Part of your description should also define the deliverables including any designs, documentation, or source code. The source code is usually delivered using a version control solution such as Git.
Sample Project Description
Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post or project description, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
Title: iOS Developer Needed for an iOS Version of App for Connected Home IoT Device
Description: We’re looking for an advanced iOS developer to help us with building an iOS version of a user interface app for our networked gas fireplace device, SmartFlame. This device connects your home’s thermostat with a networked gas fireplace so homeowners can operate their gas fireplace from their device to help regulate the temperature and utilities usage in their home from anywhere, and track natural gas use per cycle. The right developer will be able to provide us with the following skills and services:
- IoT networked device mobile app expertise
- Swift 3 expertise
- Translation of designer mock-ups and wireframes into front-end code
- App integration with device’s networked interface and our existing backend infrastructure and APIs
- Unit testing with Karma
- Excellent mobile app and IoT security experience, including encrypted connections, OAuth2, and secure wireless connections.
- Familiarity with mobile API services—our device is able to connect with the homeowner’s security system/fire prevention account API, networked thermostat API, access data from public utilities account API, and the smart fireplace itself.
We already have our desktop application built out with backend and APIs integrated. Currently, we’re rolling out the mobile apps for Android and iOS, which will enable users to control their smart fireplace from their mobile devices. The iOS app needs to be iOS 10 compatible and the UI must be designed from the ground up to our (and Apple’s) brand guidelines. We’re looking to submit the app for approval by (mm/dd/yyyy).
iOS Developer FAQs
What does an iOS Developer do?
iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system. An iOS developer uses the Objective-C or Swift programming languages to build and maintain iOS applications. They can help you take your mobile app development project from the UI/UX design stage through development, testing, production, and launch. The iOS developer can also help keep your mobile app updated with every new iOS or Swift release.
iOS developer skills are separated into three levels, usually depending on their experience and the complexity of the apps they’ve built. Developers start at the junior phase for the first few years, although the number of apps they’ve developed and the apps’ complexity are far more important when you determine the right developer for your project. After working on more complex projects and alongside more experienced developers, they move to an intermediate phase where they can work on more projects independently. A more experienced developer, which we’ll call a “senior developer”, can not only design and code an app, but they can also handle testing, mobile security, and API integrations.
Here’s a quick overview of the skills you should look for in iOS development freelancers:
- Swift programming language (Objective C for legacy apps)
- Xcode IDE
- Frameworks and APIs such as Cocoa, Foundation, and UIKit
- Bug tracking tools such as Bugzilla
- Version control tools such as GitHub
How much does it cost to hire an iOS developer?
The first step to determining the cost to hire an iOS developer will be to define your needs. Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions. Learn about the cost to hire an iOS developer.
Tips & Best Practices
- Developers will be critical throughout the first phase of app development.
You’ll generally work with your developer to define your concept, wireframe your app, storyboard, design the user interface, prototype, then code your app—setting up any server-side architecture, like databases, along the way. An experienced iOS developer can be a crucial advisor and guide through each of these phases until your app is submitted to the App Store.
- The Model-View-Controller paradigm is a core principle of iOS app development.
The model-view-controller (MVC) paradigm is a pattern that breaks code down into three core functions—user interfaces (views), data (model), and the software that communicates between the two (controller). It’s also the best way to build a solid iOS app. Learn more about the MVC paradigm in Backbone.js: An MV-Style Framework.
The building blocks of apps are objects, and MVC assigns each object to one of these three functions. Each screen of your app represents a view, a data model controls the content it displays, and the controller manages the flow between the view and the model. MVC is just one of the design patterns developers will use while building your app, but it’s the most central pattern.
- Your app’s development starts with the User Interface (UI).
Once you’ve created a wireframe—a document that creates a user roadmap and an architecture for your app’s information—a UX/UI developer will lay out each screen that your users will interact with in storyboards, known as views. The User Interface is developed with Storyboards and the Interface Builder. This creates the foundation for how your app will work—the interactions between the UI, the database, and the user that make it function. The prototype created will establish a style guide, but it will also serve as a mock-up of the app for the developer to get started on the software plan for the front and back ends.
- All iOS apps are powered by event-driven programming.
The interactions mentioned above are always caused by an event. An event is triggered by a user action, which sends a request, manipulates the app’s data, then sends the response back. Defining the interactions that will drive your app lays the groundwork for all the code that will execute your app’s logic.
- Design patterns are like scaffolding for your app’s building blocks.
A design pattern is an aspect of software design that solves a certain kind of recurring problem, and iOS has numerous patterns to choose from. These patterns provide solutions to everyday coding issues, enabling developers to write code that is more solid, extensible, and easy to edit. Design patterns can be structural, creational, or behavioral and frame up the code that is written in the next phase of your app.
- Now it’s time to build the front and back ends of your app.
The software architecture planning phase happens simultaneously with the UI design, and will often go through many iterations of feedback edits. The developer will ensure whatever design is proposed can be well-supported on the back end, optimized for performance, and can be scalable. Using the Foundation framework and Core Data framework and APIs, a developer will create the model for your app—how data is organized so your app’s controller layer knows how and what to pull, edit, or delete from your database. With Objective-C, Swift, and the Cocoa Touch framework, the controller layer is constructed. A back-end systems engineer—or a developer capable of constructing a back end—is critical in app development, whether you’re building your own back end or opting for a BaaS (Backend as a Service) package.