In today’s IT world, almost everyone claims to be iOS developer. And when an individual or a company needs to hire one, their goal is to hire an expert.
Yet, here is the problem: people who need to hire iOS developers have this particular need because they do not know enough about app development to do it themselves.
The issue then becomes how to even know the right questions to ask or to judge the quality of a developer’s or a development firm’s work.
Obviously, you know what you want the product to do, and you certainly want a custom build. Beyond that you may need some expert advice or help with interviewing.
There are plenty of apps that have a “pretty face,” or cool visual design, but that doesn’t mean the product works well, is stable and can be maintained. It needs high-quality code first and foremost.
Beyond that, you need a developer(s) who understands Apple guidelines, who can listen to and assess your needs, and who can work within all of the parameters you set.
So, do you hire a single developer or contract with a development firm? And what are the benefits of outsourcing your development?
While this post may not make you an expert, it will give you some steps and questions to ask, as you consider the many iOS developers for hire who are out there competing for business.
What’s In Their Apple Basket?
If a developer or firm states that they rely on open source quite heavily, be wary. It’s not that open source is a problem per se. It’s that it should be used only for certain purposes and, ideally, should be easy to remove later on.
When a whole app is on an open source framework, it is both complicated and somewhat fragile.
While all iOS developers will talk Xcode, but they should clearly state that they run OS X, because that is required for iOS apps.
And how familiar are they with Swift? Apple is really pushing this technology forward these days, and it is easier than Objective-C.
Swift has been used to build Khan Academy apps and Pokémon Go, and the chances of you getting a product built well and quickly are much better if a developer is well schooled in Swift. Can the developer provide you with code samples?
You may not have a clue, but if you have enlisted the help of an expert (aka your coding buddy), they can be evaluated.
How Long Has the Developer/Firm Been Building iOS apps?
This is a no-brainer question, but it does have some caveats.
While you want someone who has built a number of them, those may not have been built by an iOS developer for hire. Lots of developers build and monetize their own apps. Still others are highly skilled who are fresh out of school.
The bigger concern is that they have been building successful apps very recently, either for themselves or for others. The more “current” a developer is, the more easily their products will be maintainable.
Don’t be wooed by a “pretty face” app. Look into the app’s functionally – how fast it works, how many functions does it feature, any noticeable glitches or in-coherences? How do you feel when interacting with the product? Is it smooth and intuitive experience, or you are not sure how to get back to the previous screen?
Check out the Apps the Developer/Firm Has Built
What do they look like? How complicated are they? How well do they work? One problem here is that quite often iOS developers for hire have turned over ownership of those apps to their contracted individual or company. Ensuring that they actually built those they claim will require some fact checking. And, they may have been part of a team of developers, and it could then be difficult to know exactly what role they played.
The best move here is to ask the prospect to put you on the phone with a former client. A great company shouldn’t feel reluctant about that.
What should you ask? We’ve already enlisted the essential questions in our previous guide to choosing and hiring an awesome mobile development team.
Ask for References
So, speaking of those references.
You are not only interested in determining if an applicant is being truthful about the apps they have developed/worked on. You also want to get a feel for work ethic, meeting deadlines, etc. And it would be a good idea to ask why the applicant is no longer creating products for former clients/employers.
There are a number of ways in which someone can term being fired, so watch for terms such as, “We couldn’t come to an agreement on price,” or “We had disagreements about design concepts.”
There are legitimate reasons, of course – a developer was working for a startup that went “belly up”; the developer got too busy with other project demands.
What About Apple’s API Capabilities?
You will also want to know if an applicant is familiar with and has used some of Apple’s API’s.
There’s a ton that can be utilized to ring advanced features into the build. Throw some of them out there for a response – HealthKit, HomeKi, SiriKit, CallKit, Extension, iMessage Apps, Photos, etc.
Look for those integrations within their products to get a better idea of their skills.
What Do They Know About Apple App Store Review/Design Guidelines?
Do you know why a large number of iOS apps don’t get featured in App Store?
They didn’t pass the design guidelines test. Apple is notoriously famous for rejecting the “ugly ducklings” and praising the sleek, solutions that meet the set design benchmark. They even got an annual design award for the best apps. Needless to say that a nomination or, dare I say, victory will skyrocket your user growth and result into some serious product envy.
Anyone who has truly developed great iOS products will know those guidelines well. And be certain that any developer you are considering understands the full process for Apple approval and will take on that task for you.
A lot of Apple’s API’s have specific guidelines too, so you want to ask many questions related to this whole submission and approval process. Nothing could be worse than paying for development only to have an app rejected, if the developer cannot fix the issues and re-submit. A seasoned iOS developer should not have issues at all.
Thanks to the well-defined design guidelines, there is some consistency in UI. With 101 million iPhones in use in the U.S. alone, it is important that consumers can have certain common expectations regarding mobile app interfaces. Apple publishes a list of do’s and don’ts for design interfaces, so read up on them and ask a few related questions.
How Will the Developers Test?
A standalone developer should indicate that they use something like TestFlight to invite others to beta test a product. If you are considering a development firm, then make sure that their teams are using something like GitHub, so that all team members are checking one another’s contributions. You can check out the open-source project Alty team’s been up to at our GitHub public profile.
Additionally, it’s worth opting for QA services before releasing the app, so inquire whether your development team has the capacity and expertise for that too.
What Do They Know About IDE Tools?
There are great comprehensive IDE tools now that any developer should be familiar with and be using. And they should be able to explain what benefits there are for the tools they are using – source control, security, etc.
Be very wary if a developer is not using these, because there will be security issues and bugs at the end which will require more time.
If you paying by the hour, thee tools must be in use. Finding vulnerabilities and bugs later in the development process or at the end elongates the entire process.
Do They Have Any Ideas for Monetizing?
If you have a goal of making money with your app, the developer must have solid expertise in building in those features.
You may want pay-per-download revenue, or you may opt for a free app with integration of display ads, subscription services, or in-app purchases.
Be certain that the developer can explain to you how they will build in the features you want; which strategy makes more sense and why.
How Do They Communicate?
One of the most important in understanding how to hire iOS developers is to know how often communication will be necessary during the development process and by what means that communication shall occur.
Be certain that the developer is willing to use your preferred method(s) of communication, whatever that might be and also to adhere to your schedule of progress updates.
If you are interested in building an efficient communication funnel for your remote projects, grab the insights from this guide.
What About Some Special Features?
Apps that grab attention and buzz all have some special elements. You should have thought about this in advance so that you can assess the capabilities of a developer applicant to add these.
Certainly you want social media sharing. You might want GPS check-ins, coupons or even some 3-D or augmented reality features.
What is the developer’s experience with these types of features? If the features are complex, you may be looking to contract with a firm rather than a single individual.
How Do They Deal With Ownership/Contract?
You need to own the finished product, the design, the source code, and all content. Be certain that this is in writing; along with deadline parameters and possibly some cost penalties if deadlines are not met.
Putting together a contract with a developer can be complicated and you want all of the “bases” covered. If this is your first time “out of the gate” be sure that you get some expert legal advice.
So What Are The Costs?
How much does it cost to hire an iOS developer?
There are so many variables involved that there is not “average” pay per hour or payment of a flat fee. Clutch.co has a solid breakdown of average costs (e.g., in the US., between $100 – $150 per hour), but the hours will vary widely bawd upon the complexity of the product features. The global per hour rate looks like this:
A very basic app without lots of bells and whistles may run in the $3,000 – $5,000 range. However, “basic” is the operative word here. Complex apps contracted by large organizations can run as high as $750,000 and will involve a development team that can provide top-level expertise.
To get a better idea of the possible app development pricing (and what exactly goes into those numbers), check our massive guide: How Much Does It Cost To Build an App?
Whatever the app you want, it makes no sense to hire less than the best. When you try to go with cheaper options, you have, in the words of an old saying “cut off your nose to spite your face.”
So, go ahead – use the contact form below to hire the best iOS developer for your specific needs! (And rather self-confident ones, huh! ☺)