How to Become a Freelance iOS Developer

If you dream about retraining yourself into a qualified software developer, there are few nobler goals than becoming an iOS code wizard. Apple mobile products are as relevant as ever, boasting a multi-million user base the world over. Hence the invariably high demand for specialists who know how to develop software for this operating system. However, before plunging into the world of mobile programming, there are a number of factors to consider.


First of all, let’s agree on a definition: an iOS developer is someone who has the skills to create and customize applications in the Apple ecosystem. Having a Macbook and, preferably, an iPhone for testing is a prerequisite. Once you have the hardware, it’s time to master the following programming disciplines:

– Xcode (an iOS development environment). This is free software used to write and edit code, test and debug your application, and many other important processes;

– Swift (a programming language created by Apple for its own needs). Hone your Swift skills to perfection if you expect to succeed in this job;

– Objective-C (the predecessor to Swift). Although it has been around since 1984, a significant portion of Apple’s code base still relies on it.

In addition, developing iOS apps requires skills such as:

– spatial thinking to visualize your projects in three-dimensional space;

– understanding how to send and receive data from the network;

– knowledge of frameworks and API (Application Programming Interface);

– proficiency in unit testing;

The training does not end here, though. Apple releases new versions of software products annually, as well as new third-party libraries. Learning to use them will be much easier and faster if you have nailed the basics.


Freelancing is the only option you would have as a beginner without formal education and relevant experience. It is usually easier to land a couple of junior-level tasks and invaluable customer feedback than a full-time job. Don’t neglect anything at this point to put your skills to a real test and fill your portfolio.

Meanwhile, you should start looking for vacancies on social networks – most of them have relevant communities with useful contacts. Try your luck on the official websites of developer companies – some may even offer training for potential off-site workers.

Be prepared that your services will be required in various fields – from game development to food production. Landing a freelance job always implies undergoing a comprehensive job interview. Soft skills would matter as much as your coding prowess.

When it comes to responsibilities, it’s paramount to understand that creating a quality program involves many steps. A junior developer’s experience will be limited to just a few initial stages in the creation of a mobile product.

Ideally, your area of expertise should cover the following:

– software updates;

– improvement and debugging of apps;

– writing technical documentation;

– making edits according to user feedback;

Pros & Cons

An iOS developer enjoys numerous benefits compared to fellow programmers: consistently high demand, competitive salaries, and creative work that allows participating in various projects.

According to forecasts, the demand for mobile software as a technology for interacting with customers will grow steadily. This will contribute to the creation of new jobs in the field of programming, as well as salary growth.

In addition to financial attractiveness, being an iOS Developer is enviably flexible. Since we’re mainly focused on freelancing, it’s one of those jobs allowing you to work from anywhere with quality Internet access. Thus, freelance employment coupled with an appetizing salary opens up good prospects for travel and even moving to another country.

Another indisputable perk is that you don’t really need formal education for the job. It is enough to establish yourself as a confident specialist, and no one will ever ask where and how you studied.

Speaking of downsides, number one is the need for continuous self-improvement. The rapidly changing world of technology compels us to keep up to remain in demand. This is by no means a disadvantage for those who crave professional growth – in no other field there is so much to discover on a daily basis.

Another disadvantage, often mentioned by iOS developers, is an extremely demanding target audience. They know better, and there’s no room for arguing.

Bottom Line

Bright prospects aside, you must understand it will take years to become an experienced developer. You also have to become close friends with the Apple ecosystem if you haven’t had prior experience. Learning to develop for iOS requires significant financial injections – you would need to own at least a couple of different Apple products. This is the only means of getting acquainted with the hardware — its functions, sizes, capabilities, and limitations. Being aware of the Apple philosophy, its aesthetics and values, wouldn’t hurt either. Start little by little, and let your passion and ambition drive you towards the goal!