You’ll find Apple’s iOS mobile operating system at the core of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices from Apple, Inc. OS X is the operating system inside Apple’s Mac notebook and desktop computers.
The demand is for job candidates who can develop and mature applications to run on these platforms, mostly the iOS platform.
The demand for iOS developers in particular who can maintain and improve existing apps and create new ones will increase through 2015, says Joe Conway, Founder, Stable / Kernel & Author, Amazon best-seller, “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide."
That’s because companies now understand that creating and updating software is a time consuming process and that mobile applications are important to their existing business, Conway says.
Still, the appetite for competent iOS developers will go unsated because good programming is hard to find. As a result, weak developers are commanding exorbitant salaries. Many companies don’t have the knowledge base to verify developer aptitudes and must rely on the candidate’s résumé.
“After all, most companies developing iOS software are not software companies, but rather need iOS software to augment their main business,” Conway says.
When the trend towards this anomaly in skill-to-compensation ratios ends, the market should flush out weak developers enabling even more good programmers to step into these positions.
“I’m not sure that 2015 will be the year when this happens, but I think we are getting close,” Conway says.
“It is difficult to find talented iOS developers, though there are many talented non-iOS developers and many untalented iOS developers out there,” Conway says.
Industries seeing a lot of work for iOS developers include Health, Home Automation, and Retail, Conway says. Health-related applications extend your life, improve your quality of life, reduce insurance premiums and deflate hospital bills.
Using home automation software, you can optimize utilities and appliances and lock and secure your home remotely. Retailers using logistics software can ship goods more quickly.
Both iOS and OS X application developers should demonstrate expertise in using Apple’s Cocoa development frameworks, the Objective-C programming language, and the Xcode development environment.
Keeping up with UI/UX (User Interface / User Experience) trends and new functionalists exposed through Apple’s SDKs (Software Development Kits) will be very important to finding work, whether with iOS or OS X.
“The ability to apply project management software, version control systems, and automated testing and deployment strategies is a must-have skillset for getting these jobs,” Conway says.
Finally, a good developer should be able to pick up new APIs (Application Programming Interfaces, like Health or Home Automation APIs provided by Apple) very easily if they have a fundamental understanding of how design patterns work, Conway says.
"The staggering growth in the number of devices shipped that use iOS, the number of enterprises great and small that want to develop their own iOS app and the number of startups targeting the market with mobile apps," are a few reasons for the high demand, according to Huo Ju, OS X and iOS developer on Quora.
Plus, Conway says the class of languages that is required in native mobile development is substantially harder to learn.
He gives the example that truly understanding "pointers" is a notoriously tough concept that many programmers don't learn for a long time.
Still, Conway is optimistic that, as the industry grows, so will the number of great programmers.
Come to an interview ready to demonstrate your iOS or OS X development skills.
Whether it's by showing an app you built or samples from Github, hiring managers need to see your fluid understanding of iOS and OS X skills.
This article was written by David Geer, technology writer and journalist.
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