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Post by Rich Moy on Jul 12, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Considering that over 231 million iPhones were sold globally in 2015, it should come as no surprise that developers who can build apps for Apple’s iOS are in such high demand. In fact, the two programming languages often used to create iOS apps—Objective-C and Apple’s Swift—are near the top of the most in-demand technologies in 2016. With the popularity of iOS development comes increased competition for talented developers who can build the apps your company needs. While there’s no silver-bullet solution to help you immediately find the right person for the job, here are a few things to keep in mind when you need to hire an iOS developer.

Know Where They Spend Their Free Time

Although you won’t find a glut of iOS developers who are actively looking for new jobs, the popularity of the platform has led to the creation of some incredibly vibrant programming forums. One of the most active forums might have a surprisingly straightforward name, but iPhoneDevSDK hosts a highly engaged community of iOS developers and marketers. They also turn to sites like the MacRumors iOS Programming Forum, cocos2d for iPhone, and iOS Developer Forums to learn new skills and commiserate with other like-minded developers. Additionally, iOS is one of the most actively used tags on Stack Overflow.

You might be thinking, “This is great. I know exactly where to go to hire an iOS developer!” While 65% of developers told us they’re open to hearing about new jobs, the fact remains that iOS developers who are visiting these sites aren’t doing so with the sole intention of finding a new position. Feel free to engage with them on forums, but start by asking questions about what they’re working on, and remain open to learning more, even when you’ve built up enough rapport to discuss your open positions.

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Know the Challenges They Tackle Everyday

Unless you’ve never used a smartphone, you probably have a general understanding that an iOS developer builds mobile apps for iPhones. However, the key word in that statement is “general.” Candidates won’t expect you to understand all the nitty-gritty details about iOS development, but here are some more specific challenges they take ownership over whenever they build a new app:

  • Delivering an exceptional user experience on a smaller screen. Tyler Lessar, VP of Blackberry Global Alliances tells InfoWorld that writing software for smaller devices is a significant challenge for developers. He adds, “Because of the screen size constraint, every pixel counts to some degree.”
  • Ensuring a secure mobile experience. Max Katz at DZone recently wrote that authentication is the most vulnerable place in any mobile app because the user is required to provide a login and password. He adds, “In the shortened time available in rapid development, it’s really challenging to implement a secure authentication routine from scratch.”
  • Understanding how to get apps approved by Apple’s App Store. Getting an app approved by the App Store might seem straightforward to anyone who hasn’t gone through the process. However, iOS developers often have to be prepared for lengthy review processes that sometimes include back and forth conversations with Apple over the rules.

Know What Gets Them Excited About Coming to Work

Your basic understanding of iOS development will go a long way in helping you engage and attract more candidates. However, knowing what they look for in new positions will put you ahead of the game when you're hiring iOS developers. We spoke to Ben Shive, an iOS developer with six years of experience, and Alex Stroulger, a Junior iOS Developer at TWG about what they look for whenever they evaluate new job opportunities.

  • Established mobile app development teams. “A lot of companies only have a couple of mobile developers,” Stroulger told us. “One of the main things I was looking for was a company with an established iOS team that I could learn from.”
  • The ability to program in Swift. Shive tells us that while he understands that cross-platform solutions have their place in some instances, he’s particularly excited about building native apps. “The move to Swift development across everything Apple has been thrilling,” he adds. “I loved Objective-C, but Swift rapidly became my favored language for new projects and new features within existing projects since you can mix & match.”
  • Flexibility in strategy and design patterns. Because of the always-evolving landscape of iOS development, Stroulger told us that teams that are open to new strategies and approaches to design are attractive. She adds, “It’s important to meet regularly as a team to discuss new things we have learned or read about.”

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