How to hire Swift developers
A Swift developer will be integral at every phase, from wireframing the screens of your app and software planning through to user interface (UI) design, coding and integrations, testing, and submission to the App Store. If you have an existing Objective-C-based app, they’ll be the developer who can help migrate that app code into Swift 3 so that your app is as close to future-proof as possible. So how do you hire Swift developers? What follows are some tips for finding top Swift development consultants on Upwork.
How to shortlist Swift professionals
As you’re browsing available Swift development consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the contractors you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Technology fit. You want a Swift developer who understands what you are trying to build.
- Developer workflow. It’s always a plus if a developer is already familiar with in-house collaboration tools, test suites, development methodologies, and version control systems.
- Feedback. Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular Swift developer.
How to write an effective Swift job post
With a clear picture of your ideal Swift developer in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
Job post title
Create a simple title that describes exactly what you’re looking for. The idea is to target the keywords that your ideal candidate is likely to type into a job search bar to find your project. Here are some sample Swift job post titles:
- watchOS developer with Swift experience needed for a fitness app
- iOS developer needed for a real-time video streaming app
- Swift/Java expert needed for porting an Android app to Apple
Swift project description
After you get a better idea of your project deliverables, it’s time to write a project description. The title of your project description should be clear, informational, and attention-grabbing. It can include the type of development that you need so potential candidates can tell right off the bat if they’re a good fit. k? An effective Swift job post should include:
- Scope of work: From getting accepted in the App Store to running unit tests, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience working with certain industries, software, or marketing channels, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Here are some examples of Swift job responsibilities:
- Plan and develop applications for your target Apple platform (e.g., iOS, macOS, watchOS)
- Translate requirements and UI/UX designs into code
- Build and maintain a Swift test suite (e.g., XCTest, SwiftCheck, Quick/Nimble)
Swift requirements and qualifications
Be sure to include any requirements and qualifications you’re looking for in a Swift developer. Here are some examples:
- Proficiency in Swift
- UI/UX design concepts
- Apple app development ecosystem (e.g., Xcode, Cocoa)
Sample Project Description:
Title: Senior iOS Developer for long term project
Description: We’re looking for an experienced iOS developer who has worked in both Objective-C and Swift, ideally in mixed language projects. The project is a multifaceted app, with most features generally API-backed and using varying levels of offline persistence. We have a long term roadmap that could mean an equally long term contract for the right developer.
You should have a strong track record in the design, development, and support of complex, maintainable and scalable mobile applications. You will have worked on projects involving their full development life-cycle.
Develop maintainable, clean and efficient code, and deliver products with customer-satisfied quality.
Required Technical Experience
- 4+ years of iOS experience including UIKit, Autolayout, Interface Builder, etc.
- Fundamental knowledge of Objective-C, including the Objective-C runtime.
- Swift Generics: How to use them, limitations, etc.
- iOS: Memory management and thread management.
- Networking: Experience with using NSURLRequest or NSURLSession, or with AFNetworking, AlamoFire, etc.
Swift Developers FAQ
What is Swift?
Swift is the successor to Objective-C and the de facto programming language for building iOS, macOS, and other Apple apps. The language is both performant and easy to read and places an emphasis on helping programmers write safer code.
How much does it cost to hire a Swift developer?
The first step to determining the cost to hire a Swift developer will be to define your needs. Rates can vary due to many factors, including expertise and experience, location, and market conditions.
Cost factor #1: project scope
The first variable to consider when determining scope is the nature of the work that needs to be completed. Not all Swift development projects are created equally. Writing a simple business intelligence GUI for internal use will typically take less time than building an iOS app that can pass the Apple App Store’s stringent requirements.
Tip: The more accurately your job description describes the scope of your project, the easier it will be for talent to give you accurate cost estimates and proposals.
Cost factor #2: Swift development experience
Choosing the right level of expertise for the job is closely tied to how well you determined the scope of your project. You wouldn’t need advanced Swift programming skills to write a simple to-do list app. On the other hand, building a large enterprise app from scratch will likely require the skills of a senior Swift developer.
Beyond experience level, you need to consider the type of experience the talent possesses. The following table breaks down the rates of the typical types of Swift developers you can find on Upwork.
Rates charged by Swift developers on Upwork
|Level of Experience||Description||Hourly Rate|
|Beginner||Can build simple applications with Swift for iOS and/or macOS. Familiarity with Cocoa, Cocoa Touch, and/or Xcode.||$30-50+|
|Intermediate||Beyond fundamentals, specialized skills in developing for one or more Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.||$60-80+|
|Expert||Mastery of the Swift software development lifecycle. Working knowledge across the entire technology stack.||$80-100+|
Cost factor #3: location
Location is another variable that can impact a Swift developer’s cost. It’s no secret that you can leverage differences in purchasing power between countries to gain savings on talent. But it’s also important to factor in hidden costs such as language barriers, time zones, and the logistics of managing a remote team. The real advantage to sourcing talent remotely on Upwork is the ability to scan a global talent pool for the best possible person for the job. Location is no longer an obstacle.
Cost factor #4: independent contractor vs. agency
The final variable regarding talent cost is hiring an independent contractor vs. an agency. An agency is often a “one size fits all” model, so you’ll often have access to a designer, a project manager, an engineer, and more. When hiring individuals you have total autonomy regarding who is responsible for which part of the project, but you’ll need to source each of those skills separately.
The trade-off between hiring individuals vs. hiring an agency is the level of administrative overhead you incur personally in coordinating tasks among all members of the team. Project scope and personal preference will determine which style is a better fit for your needs.
Common Swift developer mistakes
Fearing constants in Swift: DRY (don’t repeat yourself) has been drilled into us for decades, and for good reason. The versatility of a variable lets you do a lot without having to write duplicate code. That said, many coders tend to default to variables when they ought to be using constants instead.
The “let” keyword allows you to declare a constant, while the “var” keyword allows you to declare a variable. Swift promotes safer code by encouraging the use of constants wherever possible. If you find yourself declaring variables that never have to change, chances are good you’d be better off declaring constants instead with the “let” keyword. Being mindful of whether a declaration in your code should be a constant or a variable can lead to safer code, by ensuring something that fundamentally shouldn’t change remains immutable at runtime.
Not understanding when to use optionals: In Swift, everything from regular non-optional types (like Int, Bool, and String) to more-complex class types (like UIView) must have a value when we declare a variable. This avoids an entire class of runtime errors that could arise from an uninitialized variable. But what happens when you want to give a variable a value of “nil” at initialization time? Simply declaring something like “let x: Int = nil” would throw an error because of Swift’s inherent type safety, which correctly does not recognize “nil” as an “Int” type.
This is where optional types come into play: They let you change any type into an optional type by appending “?” to the end of it. If we modify our earlier example to “let x: Int? = nil”, we can print “nil” for the unassigned value of “x” until an actual value gets assigned.
Force unwrapping optionals in Swift: Swift is still relatively new to the app development landscape. When it launched, it did so with a host of features designed to give iOS developers greater flexibility without sacrificing the code safety. Unfortunately, one of those features, forced unwrapping, is often misunderstood and can be the reason an app crashes at runtime.
Consider the code block below:
A runtime error will inevitably be thrown when “tireCount” force unwraps the “tires” property with an exclamation mark (!). The error will occur because the “tires” property is declared as an optional and has a default value of “nil” on initialization. This error can be fixed with optional chaining, by replacing the “!” with a question mark (?) and defining what should happen with each case:
The key thing to remember is that forced unwrapping should be used only when you are absolutely certain that an optional will never be “nil.” In all other cases, techniques like the optional chaining example above or checking for “nil” before unwrapping will lead to safer production code.
Tips and best practices
Use Playgrounds to test and prototype in real-time.
Playgrounds are interactive coding environments that provide live feedback for the output of your code. They provide a great way to prototype and share ideas without having to go through the trouble of setting up an actual Xcode project.
Use Swift enumerations to write intentional code.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to declare types with finite sets of possible states and accompanying values, enums are the perfect tool for your needs. Moreover, because Swift enums are first-class types, they adopt many of the features one typically associates with classes, such as computed properties and instance methods. Combine that with Swift’s elegant syntax and type inference, and you have a tool that’s powerful enough to handle a wide range of practical applications, from error handling and status codes to UIKit identifiers and API endpoints.
Take advantage of method swizzling.
Those of you familiar with Objective-C will be happy to learn that you can still use this popular shortcut for swapping method implementations at runtime:
Swizzling in Swift is possible when:
- You use the dynamic keyword, a declaration modifier that can be applied to a member of a class to tell the compiler that dynamic dispatch should be used at runtime.
- You extend NSObject.
- You use the @objc attribute to expose your code to the Objective-C runtime.
Keep in mind that even if you are working with a Class that has NSObject as a base class or are using the @objc attribute, you should still use the dynamic keyword to ensure that the Swift compiler doesn’t bypass the Objective-C runtime while optimizing your code.
The conventional way of using `initialize()` was actually deprecated in Swift 3 and is no longer permitted in later versions as it isn’t exposed anymore. A way to swizzle in these later versions is by defining a public static method in your class to run your swizzling and then calling that function at the beginning of your AppDelegate’s `didFinishLaunchingWithOptions`.
// Run other code