So you want to hire a Swift developer to build, update, or migrate your mobile iOS app to Swift—how can you attract top talent for your project?
Swift is the newest addition to the iOS ecosystem, relatively speaking, designed to replace the older C-based languages used in iOS development. In this article, we’ll give you a quick overview of what goes into the iOS app development process, how Swift has changed things from Objective-C, then we’ll provide you with a general framework for writing a detailed, comprehensive Swift project description to help you find the right developer for your mobile app development project.
Intro to Swift
Swift is the newest addition to the Apple programming repertoire—an intuitive programming language designed to work with the iOS, watchOS, and OS X. Making the switch to Swift has some serious benefits, not the least of which is forward-compatibility with the platform, which is why Apple stresses the importance of migrating. They’ve made this a bit easier by designing Swift code to work in cooperation with Objective-C. A highly-qualified Swift specialist can utilize the language to help you keep in stride with the fast-paced and ever-changing world of iOS development.
What Can A Swift Developer Do For You?
A Swift developer is much more than an app programmer—they’re pros on the forefront of the iOS ecosystem, and experts at mobile app development as a whole. A Swift developer will be integral at every phase, from wireframing the screens of your app and software planning through to user interface (UI) design, coding and integrations, and testing and submission to the App Store. If you have an existing Objective-C based app, they’ll be the developer who can help migrate that app code into Swift 3 so your app is as close to future-proof as possible.
For new projects, a Swift developer will take specifications for your mobile app and create a functioning, user-ready iOS application. When reviewing potential developers, you’ll want to look for more than just Swift as a skill, keeping an eye out for familiarity with tools and technologies like:
- Apple’s Xcode IDE & Playgrounds
- The Swift Package Manager
- Frameworks and APIs like Foundation, UIKit, and CocoaTouch
- UI and UX design experience
- Apple Human Interface Guidelines
- 2D and 3D graphics frameworks like SpriteKit and SceneKit
- OpenGL or Metal, iOS graphics APIs
- Familiarity with iOS 10 and newer OS versions
- Version Control Systems such as Git
Step 1: DEFINING YOUR PROJECT
Whether you’re migrating your iOS app module to a newer version of Swift, or you’re developing a Swift-based iOS app from scratch, the key is finding a developer with enough experience under their belt with this new language to see your project through smoothly. Swift 3 was released in 2016, so even for many senior iOS developers it’s a relatively new skill. Hiring that senior-level developer is worth the cost of a higher rate—they’ll know how to handle bugs and can see the app through from production to submission to the App Store.
To find the right iOS developer for the job, you need to define the project with as much detail and documentation as possible. The better you define what’s going into your mobile app project, the more accurate the estimates will be.
First: What will the developer be doing? Are they creating an iOS app, including designing a UI and handling back-end integrations, from scratch? Do you have an existing app that was rejected from the App Store and needs to be fixed and resubmitted? Are they working in tandem with other team members, or working solo to push new code to your repository?
Next, iron out details like the deadline and the amount of time you estimate that it will take to complete. Depending on the complexity of your requirements, iOS development projects can take many rounds of design and development tweaks. These can occur over a week, a month, six months, or more—and with constant OS updates and new devices coming to market, keeping your app compatible and optimized may continue over its entire lifespan.
Once you get an estimate of how long the project will take, communicate with the developer to determine which is best: a flat-rate cost estimate or hourly payment/per-milestone basis.
Example phases can include the following deliverables:
- UI design
- Software architecting
- Front-end coding
- Back-end integration & APIs
- Publishing and distribution
Step 2: Writing A Swift App Project Description
After you get a better idea of your project deliverables, it’s time to write a project description. The title of your project description should be clear, informational, and attention-grabbing. It can include the type of development that you need so potential candidates can tell right off the bat if they’re a good fit. For example, do you need UI design skills as well? Do you need someone who understands a specific framework?
Now, craft your project overview. If you have documentation that shows basic wireframes or ideas, include these here. Describe the app in enough detail that it gives a developer a good idea of the work to be done. Mention an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) here as well if you require one for your project.
Include as many potential deliverables as you can, including any designs, documentation, or source code, and details about how the source code should be delivered.
SAMPLE PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Below is a sample template of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post or project description, or any other document that describes the work to be done.
Title: Senior iOS Developer for long term project
Description: We’re looking for an experienced iOS developer who has worked in both Objective-C and Swift, ideally in mixed language projects. The project is a multifaceted app, with most features generally API-backed and using varying levels of offline persistence. We have a long term roadmap that could mean an equally long term contract for the right developer.
You should have a strong track record in the design, development, and support of complex, maintainable and scalable mobile applications. You will have worked on projects involving their full development life-cycle.
Develop maintainable, clean and efficient code, and deliver products with customer-satisfied quality.
Required Technical Experience
- 4+ years of iOS experience including UIKit, Autolayout, Interface Builder, etc.
- Fundamental knowledge of Objective-C, including the Objective-C runtime.
- Swift Generics: How to use them, limitations, etc.
- iOS: Memory management and thread management.
- Networking: Experience with using NSURLRequest or NSURLSession, or with AFNetworking, AlamoFire, etc.