Apple is now one of the most popular and commonly used computer providers in the world. Here are some statistics for you:
Did you know that 64% of Americans own at least one Apple product? And, that the average American household owns between two to three Apple products?
It goes without saying that Apple has made a major impact on the modern world. That’s true for the average American household, and the amount of job opportunities for those interested in a technology-based career.
Because Apple offers some of the most popular and commonly used products, there is a huge demand for new iOS app developers. Now is a better time than ever to learn iOS development because of the career opportunities, the range of possibilities to receive an iOS development education, and the accessibility of the best iOS development tools.
iOS Development Careers
Starting a career in developing iOS applications means you’re putting yourself in a very good position in terms of job opportunities. Now more than ever, there is a huge demand for beginner, intermediate, and pro iOS developers in nearly every industry. In fact, Indeed has 6,515 iOS developer jobs listed at the time of this post. While we’re talking numbers, Glassdoor says the national average iOS developer salary is $101,014.
Aside from the high demand and salary for iOS developers, it’s a challenging and fun career. You’re constantly improving your craft and figuring out how to create better user interfaces on iOS apps. It’s a sophisticated, yet not an overly complicated, career and there are opportunities for jobs at tech companies, non-tech companies, or freelance work.
How to Become an iOS Developer
As mentioned previously, there are many routes to learn iOS essentials. The three traditional routes include a mobile app development degree, self taught, or through a coding bootcamp. Below we have listed the pros and cons of each.
Mobile Development Degree
A degree in mobile app development has traditionally been thought to be the best way to learn iOS app development. Although this is becoming less and less true, some non-tech companies still prefer degree holders over bootcamp taught or self taught app developers.
Another thing to consider is the amount of education you’ll be receiving. It’s a four-year degree, meaning you will learn a greater variety of related courses. You’ll also learn more about the theory versus the actual development side of iOS development. Because you receive a more well-rounded education with a four-year degree, you will have a wider range of employment options as compared to the specialized training one receives from being self taught or coding bootcamp.
While all this is true, it’s important to consider the time and money that is associated with getting a mobile development degree. For the 2017-2018 school year, that average cost of tuition to earn a degree is about $9,970 for in-state residents at public colleges, $34,740 for private colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents at public universities. And, it will take four years to get through a mobile development degree. This may be time and money that you don’t have.
Self teaching yourself iOS development is perhaps the best option for those hoping to save money. It’s free. There are endless amounts of free online resources that can help you learn iOS development. All you need to do is get the right tools—e.g. Mac computer and Xcode.
The downside to teaching yourself iOS development is time management and the quality of what you’re learning. Both mobile development degrees and coding bootcamps typically have instructors and mentors that have been in the industry and can teach you about iOS development in a more efficient and effective way. No matter how you end up learning iOS development, you will have to learn how to teach yourself new iOS development skills for when new programs—such as auto layout in iOS 11—come out.
Coding bootcamps offer iOS courses, which is another way for you to learn iOS development. While a college degree will take four years and $100,000+ to complete depending on where you go, a coding bootcamp typically costs $10,000-$20,000 on average and takes three to four months to complete. Coding bootcamp graduates also receive the same kinds of job and salary prospects as a full time degree. Employers are more interested in people that have the right skills than in how people got those skills. Many people find that bootcamps can offer more practical, up-to-date training than a college degree.
But, a few things to consider when thinking about attending a coding bootcamp: 1) it’s an accelerated learning model, and 2) you can’t fall behind. Coding bootcamps are best for people who are willing to dedicate their lives to learn iOS development during those three to four months, and for those who are not afraid to ask for help when they need it. Most bootcamps have instructors and mentors that are accessible to you to ensure that you don’t fall behind. But, you have to be willing to ask for help.
Getting Started with iOS Development
Now that we’ve walked you through different routes to learn iOS development, here are some things you need to get started:
1) Get experience with Mac Computers
Mac has an entire culture surrounding iOS development. In order to download and use the proper tools for building an iOS app, you really need to become familiar with the Mac. And, naturally, you will need to own an iPhone and get to know it. Since you will be building iOS apps, it’s best to start using and getting comfortable with them.
2) Understand iOS design principles and guidelines
Apple has created some iOS design principles and guidelines that every iOS developer must adhere to. You can find those principles and guidelines here.
3) Start learning iOS technologies like Swift and Xcode
iOS apps need Swift and Xcode. They are at the core of what you need to learn iOS app development. It will be important to your iOS development career to become comfortable with programs such as Xcode, the Swift playground.
Apple has changed the world. By becoming an iOS developer, you can experience that change first hand.