For simplicity sake, you can sort iPhone apps into two categories: those coded in the native iPhone language, Objective C, and those that have been converted from Actionscript or some other language through an application such as Adobe Air or Unity.
If your application is a game, you may not need a developer who works on apps exclusively. You can find a more game-focused developer who can code a game application in a language like Actionscript. Usability for games is unique and someone without that gaming background may not have as much to offer in this case. Games are also coded in Objective C, but you’ll have more of a pool of developers to pick from if you look beyond those who’ve just created mobile applications.
If you’re making a native app (an app built with Objective C), you’ll benefit from someone who’s been through the process a few times. A developer with some familiarity coding for an iPhone will have experience working around usability issues and have insights on what can arise when going through the approval process with Apple’s iPhone App store. A good iPhone developer will have a number of tips and tricks regarding submissions to the App Store, and this will save you time in the end. Every time a submission is rejected by Apple, you will have to go through the entire waiting process again. Each time that can be as much as 10 business days or more.
You’ll also want to have a good idea of what phone-specific features you want to access. Will your app access the accelerometer, make use of the compass, or the camera? Ideally, you want to find someone with some insight into how to tap into these functionalities and the best ways to use them.
What To Look for in a Developer
So, when you’ve finally figured out what kind of app you’re building, you can start crafting the job requirements to begin your hunt. If you’re looking for someone who’s got more than a few apps under his or her belt, make sure Objective C is on the list and that they do object-oriented programming. That basically means, they have organized their code in a way that makes it easier for subsequent developers to pick it up and figure out what’s going on.
Be sure to find out what role the developer has played in any given project that’s listed on his or her resume. Some applications have multiple developers working on them, so you’ll want to make sure the person you’re interviewing for the job hasn’t held mostly junior roles. If you’re hiring someone to take the lead on an app project, you want to make sure they have the chops to lead the development properly. And, if your app will be connecting to servers and saving information, you’ll want a developer with this kind of back-end experience.
A nice-to-have on your list of requirements is someone who understands your content and is engaged in the product you want to put out there. Passion on the development team will make project managing your iPhone app all that much easier.
What type of experience have you had hiring an iPhone app developer? Please share your hiring stories below.
Jessica McLaughlin: Jessica is a digital media professional in Toronto, Canada with broad experience in web—particularly social media, online communities, content development and blogging. Jessica has worked for many major Canadian broadcasters, including YTV, Food Network, and HGTV.