By John Houghton on January 31, 2014
I get a lot of questions about what it costs to develop iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps, and people often wonder what it takes to retain an iOS developer. My company is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I’ve hired a lot of iOS developers, so I can share some insights and interpretations about what I see going on.
I checked a number of sources, and it looks to me like the job site Indeed.com has the most accurate numbers. According to Indeed, and as of today, January 30th, 2014, the average iOS developer in San Francisco makes $122,000 per year, while a senior developer makes $139,000 per year. The salary for this job category is holding steady and iOS skills remain highly sought-after.
Of course, the measure of a good developer is by how quickly and well they solve real-world problems using Objective-C (the core language behind iOS apps). I’ve seen iOS developers take a month to write something that should have taken a few days, and to my amazement, firms retain these developers. How does this happen?
Companies retain low-quality developers because their managers don’t know the business. Imagine if you were the manager of a diamond cutting shop. How would you know if some diamond cutters were doing well or not? You would have to learn about diamond cutting, what a well-cut diamond looks like, and how long it should take to cut one. So it is with iOS development. You have to learn what a good app development project looks like, and how long it should take to complete it. Unless you know those things, you’re not going to be sure about what you’re getting. In my experience, there are a lot of app developers that don’t perform well, but they are retained because their manager doesn’t know about the app development business. As a result, I see a lot of app development projects that take two to three times longer than they should.