The iOS Developer Community Survey

Getting started with a career in iOS Development

This page contains analysis and opinion by Chris Hefferman.

When Dave put together the iOS Developer Community Survey, my initial feeling was that it wasn’t for me. As someone who is still in the relatively early stages of my iOS developer journey, I thought my opinion and contribution wouldn’t be valuable, and so I didn’t complete it.

I immediately regretted not taking part when I saw the results, so when Dave reached out for data analysis contributors, I saw a chance to fix that!

I’ve been learning Swift since August 2018 and thoroughly enjoy being part of a very supportive and friendly community. I don’t have a computer science background, and I currently work full-time in a job that has nothing to do with iOS development.

I’ve been applying for development roles to start my career change into iOS development, so my analysis below is from the view of someone currently looking to find a job in the wonderful world of Swift.

So let’s dive into my analysis:

Only 5.1% of the respondents fell into the same category as me with “Between 1 and 2 years” of involvement in app development.

I’d challenge that the majority of the community has between 5 and 10 years experience. I do wonder whether the survey was potentially not as far-reaching as initially hoped, or that many juniors, like myself, felt that their contribution was not valid. This means the results of this whole survey are skewed towards the views of experienced developers.

Note from Dave: I think Chris is spot on here. The survey absolutely skewed towards the most experienced people in the industry, and that’s something I’m hoping to change with next year’s survey!

From an interview perspective, as a junior looking to get their first role, I’m potentially up against other developers with far more experience which can be demoralising and in turn, lead to under-confidence issues when applying for positions.

The data in Question 18 shows that iOS developer teams are generally quite small, which did surprise me.

My ideal job would have me joining a team where I could soak up as much knowledge and experience as possible from other developers. If the majority of the respondents are in roles with fewer than five people, this may not be as likely as I’d first thought.

According to Question 31, a high proportion of companies are still very serious about developing iOS applications, which is a good thing!

Deciding on a career change into a new field of work is not a decision I came to lightly, and this reassured my belief that I’m not only moving into a desirable area but also one with long term prospects.

I was also encouraged to see that companies are looking for iOS developers, and job opportunities will continue to be available.

I am fortunate that I earn a wage that allows me to live comfortably. I do, however, expect to have to take a reduction in my salary when accepting my first iOS role.

Reviewing salaries outside of the survey in the current job market, I see junior roles attract between $25,000 to $40,000, which broadly matches 15% of the respondents of the study.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the survey would have included results from independent developers, and where the question asks for an income earned from creating apps, this may not be an actual salary for somebody.

Note from Dave: Again, I think this is a very valid point, and I’m thinking of splitting this question in two for next year to specifically get salar information.

From my perspective, I had a small amount of exposure to SwiftUI when I attended Hacking With Swift Live in 2019, but I’ve primarily focused on learning UIKit.

UIKit isn’t going anywhere judging by these results! For someone who has been through roughly six interview processes in the last 12 months, my experience tells me that hiring companies are looking for UIKit knowledge.

Occasionally Objective-C is talked about by companies with older codebases that need refactoring, but it has never felt like a requirement. SwiftUI has been brought up in all my interviews, but always as something for the future. UIKit is still ‘king’ in the current job market.

So there we have it, my first post discussing Swift and iOS development! Besides the results being very insightful, they also reassured me that I’m doing the right things for the requirements of the job market as they stand.

Thanks for reading! Chris

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