How to Hire an iOS Developer: the Ultimate Guide

How to Hire an iOS Developer: the Ultimate Guide
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In 2020, hiring an iOS developer is not an easy task. While Android and iOS recent market share statistics show only 20.38% for Apple mobile devices, iPhone users are known for spending more online on paid apps, premium features, or non-digital products. 

iOS is also the dominant platform in several regional markets, such as the US, Canada, Norway, and France. In other words, if you plan to gain significant revenue satisfying wealthier smartphone users, opt for iOS and look for appropriate app developers for hire. 

You may find several tech reasons in favor of iOS development too. As the platform is more standardized than Android, it requires less time (and budget) to build an app for it. There are also fewer Apple mobile device types, which make it easier to create great UI and UX designs for iOS apps. 

How to find app programmers for hire? Learn tips to attract the best specialists and maintain a high employee retention rate. Also, check what professional grade is acceptable for your task and what the signs of an excellent developer are. 

iPhone sales share of Apple's total revenue worldwide from 1st quarter 2009 to 4th quarter 2019 (Statista)

Hire an iOS App Developer Carefully! What to Check Before? 

The first piece of advice to building a highly efficient development team, regardless of the platform you are going to work with, is to learn your project needs. 

Plan your budget, set deadlines, and define team roles carefully, start with analyzing your overall idea.

After that, move on to setting your business and project goals and proceed with a features list and development priorities. Read more on these issues here — blog article How to Start a Startup

During the project planning stage, it will become clear whether or not it is profitable to develop an iOS app instead of an Android one. Factors that could influence your decision are as follows: 

If you are confident about your platform choice, move on to learning the differences between the various professional grades of iOS developers as well as what key competencies they should obtain regardless. There are a few points you might take into account evaluating candidates profiles:

#1. Areas of Experience and hands-on expertise 

Hire iPhone developer with all the appropriate experience and you will have hit the jackpot. Experience may include working in similar-sized projects, in your market area, or on the same type of product you need to build. 

There are three professional levels of iOS developer — Junior, Middle, and Senior. Besides other things, the main difference between the grades is the number of years that an employee has spent practicing their profession. 

Junior has less than 2 years of professional experience, while Senior has over 5.

The number of projects, their complexity, and iOS developer skill set progression should also be taken into consideration. 

Sometimes, remote iOS developers will require specific expertise to become productive within your project. Expertise is about practical knowledge gained by an employee while working on projects of a certain type (like eBanking or eHealth) or executing advanced tech tasks such as AI algorithm integration. 

 The market reach of the most popular iOS app categories worldwide as of September 2019 (Statista)

#2. Portfolio

The candidate’s portfolio is a chance for you to check the real level of their skills, knowledge, and experience. During the interview, ask your potential iOS developer for hire for details about their last three projects’ duties and responsibilities, learn more about the style of work they prefer and personal tech achievements. 

Remember, that you may also check apps developed by the candidate with your iPhone or search for reviews of their work on the Internet. 

The market reach of the most popular iOS apps worldwide as of September 2019 (Statista)

#3. Communication and other soft skills 

Find iOS developers with similar cultural backgrounds, share the same values, professional work attitude and you are sure of success. This approach will help you avoid management misunderstandings and speed up the development process. 

Soft skill sets involve a candidate's ability to plan their work, work in a team, be respectful and open-minded to colleagues, be proactive, and overcome challenges. The statistics of 2019 said that iPhone app developers for hire are mostly chosen by strong soft skills instead of typical hard ones.

Other less important hard and soft skills and their descriptions can be found in our article How to Hire Dedicated Developers

Build an iOS app in 2020 with LANARS

Contact manager to estimate the project

iOS App Developer Grades

App developer grades have no difference regardless of software engineer type. Junior, Middle, and Senior iOS developers are defined by the number of years of experience, the breadth of their skill set, and the complexity and diversity of tasks solved. iOS developers for hire of different grades have different hourly rates (with up to a 60% salary differential). 


experience — less than 2 years 

As usual, Junior iPhone app developers for hire are supposed to work under more Senior control and start with executing less complicated tasks. These types of employees are also expected to become Mid-level specialists within a year or less. 

Junior hiring is appropriate if you’ve got one or more advanced level tech engineers in your team and there are a number of mundane tasks to clear up. That is a cost-saving approach. 


experience — from 2 years to 5 years

Hire iOS developers to work through both simple and advanced tasks. This type of specialist does not require full-time mentorship, however, advanced task progress audits are always advised. 

Although mid-level developers can work on a project individually and independently, you may assign advanced tasks to them, as well as asking Middle grade staff to manage a development team that consists of their peers or more Junior staff. 


experience — 5 years and more

Hire iPhone developers with Senior status to solve advanced complicated issues, or manage the whole development department. A Senior’s competences can be diverse. 

For example, this grade of employee could lead product testing, manage business processes used within the tech department, conduct API integration, or participate in market research, together with marketing analysts and marketing department staff. 

It is also possible, that Senior a developer obtains selling skills and has frequent business trips with the sales team. 

Your CTO (chief tech officer) should have Senior classification as a minimum qualification. Learn more — What Does a CTO in Startup Do

Cumulative Apple App Store earnings of mobile app developers as of January 2020, in billion U.S. dollars (Statista)

What Skills Does an iOS Developer Need

iOS developer cost depends on the specialist’s grade, expertise area, as well as additional, particular project type experience. As an example, iOS developers with launched projects in the eBanking, eHealth, and Internet security field demand higher salaries than those who work on eCommerce projects.

Several hard skills are essential for any iOS engineer. Whoever you are hiring, you can expect the specialist to solve basic issues and manage the tech process. When Hiring iPhone app developers, keep in mind those must-have skills:

  • Objective-C and (or) Swift iOS native language proficiency
  • Apple Human Interface Guidelines awareness
  • Xcode IDE experience
  • UI / UX standards awareness
  • Advanced code versioning instruments proficiency
  • Core Data framework practical experience
  • Metal and OpenGL knowledge
  • APIs understanding and integration experience

Among the required soft skills, you may find approachable, critical thinking, a sense of deadline and responsibility, as well as the ability to work in a team, leadership, negotiation and self-presentation skills, persistence, and diligence. 

What Hiring Options Are There

There are always some doubts as to the hiring options when it comes to digital production. Although both outsourcing and outstaffing were not invented by tech companies, it was the digital technologies growing market, (and technology itself), that transferred the outsourcing concept to a new level of popularity. 

Outsourced iOS developers (both freelancers and remote united development teams) are also cheaper than in-house workers.

Outsourcing offers the opportunity to attract the best iOS app developers from the global talent pool, not just what is available locally. At the same time, in-house team members can be easier to manage and more flexible. At least you won’t have time zone-related project communication gaps working with them. 

So what to choose? 

Option #1. When to Hire a Freelance iOS Developer

You may find iOS app developers for hire using partner recommendations or checking credible portals for hiring remote employees (like GitHub and Upwork). Freelancer hiring is a form of outsourcing where your in-house project manager interacts directly with a remote developer. In this case, the developer becomes a part of a normal team but participates in meetings online. 


  • you can find an engineer with specific (rare) experience and expertise 
  • you can pick the best iOS developer from the global talent pool without regional limitation
  • freelancers are cheaper than in-house workers and outsourced teams and you do not need to hold a physical equipped workplace for them in your office
  • you pay on an hourly basis — if a freelancer is not needed for a period of time, you don’t need to pay them
  • your HR department doesn’t manage the vacation, legal documentation, and working conditions of a freelancer 


  • high missed deadline risks 
  • hindered communication between the in-house team and freelancers that may lead to tech misunderstandings 
  • language, time zone, and cultural barriers 
  • no guarantees that a freelance iOS developer spends the reported time working on your tasks or whether they also serve other clients
  • project security risks 

Learn more from our blog article — IT Outsourcing Advantages and Disadvantages

Option #2. When to Form an In-House Development Team?

You may also hire an iOS programmer as a part of your full-time in-house department. In such a case, you’ll have to pay them a full-time salary (part-time if you’ve got such agreements), find space for them in the physical office, track their progress, and transfer them from one project to another to raise department efficiency. 

This approach works well if you’ve got a constant need for iOS developers in your company. 


  • iOS developers have time to study the product more deeply and become experts in the field. They are also available to support the project post release.
  • clear and fast communication between employees and departments 
  • easy practical experience transfer from in-house Seniors to Juniors 
  • iOS developer spends 100% of their working day benefiting your project 
  • the development team is easy to manage and flexible 


  • you have to pay a full-time salary to your in-house employees, even if you do not have enough work to fill their timetable
  • hiring and retention issues 
  • extra outgoings — legal hiring coverage, taxes, office rental, and hardware spending
  • you need to pay your developers whilst on vacation and during sick leave, as well as cover some of their professional self-development bills 

Compare hourly rates of in-house workers and dedicated developers and do not forget other project costs! Details — How Much Does It Cost to Create an App.

Option #3. When to Hire an Outsourcing Company

An outsourcing company is one that takes care of the whole project you have assigned to it. Design, tech stack, ongoing support, entire project management, and quality tracking are the most common issues that could be delegated to an outsourcing company. 

iOS developers hired from the vendor’s pool come together with all the other specialists required to resolve your project. 

You don’t need to distribute tasks among remote team members, track their efficiency, or hold numerous meetings. Instead, you provide an outsourcing company with the project tech requirements documents, discuss your expectations and aims, set deadlines, and get a final result at the end. 

Reliable companies can be found on Clutch or GoodFirms platforms. 


  • you can find an entire team really fast as outsourcing companies constantly keep lots of specialists ready to be involved in a new project
  • no legal support for each remote iOS developer is needed — you sign a contract with a development vendor only 
  • you do not manage the project directly, thus saving costs on lots of operational issues 
  • one iOS engineer can be easily substituted by another one if you don’t like them, the team can be expanded, (or contracted) at anytime 
  • high corporate professional standards that you can cross-check by reading client feedback 
  • dedicated development is less time-consuming than in-house 
  • you get a ready-to-use product at the end 


  • even if you pick a credible company, you are likely to face deadline and quality issues
  • offshore outsourcing development means timezone, cultural, and language problems in communication
  • Cooperation of this kind is less flexible and requires clear and comprehensive project documentation and development schedule

Find details in our article titled How to Minimize Risks in App Development Offshoring.


Are you looking for iOS programmers for hire? The good news is that nowadays you may choose an appropriate specialist without limiting yourself with a local talent pool. Outsourcing vendors and credible online platforms for hiring freelancers are now available for everyone. 

There is sad news too. As software is now used in every business area and there is a rising demand for brand new solutions among regular users, your competitors could hire the best developers if you are not fast and flexible enough. 

Although there are fewer iOS users than Android ones, they are more willing to pay, which makes iOS native development so important. 

Distribution of free and paid iOS apps in the Apple App Store as of December 2019 (Statista)

To avoid budget risks, we advise you to analyze what type of iOS developers you need (grade, expertise area, experience in specific project implementation, etc.). Start with evaluating your project development task and then switch to factors that may help you give preference to one candidate over another. 

Then, you need to decide what form of cooperation with app developers for hire is preferable for you. 

While an in-house team is reasonable in the case of the constant need for tech task execution, freelancers and dedicated development teams remain the best option for single or short-term projects.

Your budget, deadlines, the complexity of the project, and the operating area will also influence the final decision. 

Finally, don’t hesitate to check the basic potential iOS developer skill set including soft and hard skills, portfolio, and references. More information on the app pre-development stage can be found in the article — I have an App Idea Now What.


Where can I find iOS developers?

Today there are a lot of popular solutions to find the right l iOS developer to join your team. You can also find him in startup events and conferences. Another way to find an iOS developer is by advertising the position on job listing platforms.

What are the skills required for an iOS developer?

Swift development paradigms are very much a thing of itself. Which is why a good iOS developer needs to have experience with several things:
- Swift, Objective C (for supporting older software);
- OOP, SOLID principles;
- iOS SDK, UIKit, CoreData, APNS, Apple Purchasing, GeoLocation Service, Networking, Multithreading;
- GIT version control system.

How hard is iOS development?

While Swift has made it easier than it used to be, learning iOS is still not an easy task, and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Some things are just very difficult and hard to learn because mobile development is a very difficult area of software engineering.

Is Swift hard to learn?

Swift is faster, safer, and enables a level of interactivity in development. Swift's clean syntax is easier to read and write. Swift does not have any kind of dependencies like Objective-C, which makes it a lot easier to maintain.

Should I learn iOS or Android development?

It's faster, easier, and cheaper to develop for iOS – some estimates put development time at 30-40% longer for Android. One reason why iOS is easier to develop for is the code. Android apps are generally written in Java, a language that involves writing more code than Swift, Apple's official programming language. But only you can decide which one to choose.

Build an iOS app in 2020 with LANARS
Contact manager to estimate the project