7 steps to becoming a professional iOS developer Edit Title

Mobile is on its way to dominating the tech market, there's no doubt about it. Companies are looking for mobile programmers all the time. Want to make the most out of a programming career? Become an iOS developer.

Here are seven steps to help you tap into the potential of this immensely popular sector for launching an exciting career.

1. Learn the basics

Everyone wants to create apps these days. Inevitably, you'll find dozens of books on the topic. But if you'd like to be smart about your programming education, you should chuck these books away. They offer fragmentary information and are put together to provide students with the minimum required to throw an app together.

To put it simply, they won't make you into a professional app developer.

That's why you should first learn the fundamentals. Make sure that you start with well-structured material. It takes time to learn the basics, but it's definitely worth it.

Have a look at these two resources to begin your programming adventure:
• Ry’s Objective-C tutorial – you don't need to fully master Objective-C, but the basics will equip you with valuable programming knowledge. Plus, you'll be able to read the code written in the language. That skill will allow you to read legacy code, as well as plenty of GitHub repos, and Stack Overflow Questions.
• Apple's guide to Swift – Apple creates excellent documentation, and this resource is no exception. Learn everything you can from this guide and keep it around for future reference.

2. Install Xcode

This is the most important piece of software for any iOS developer. Xcode is an IDE (integrated development environment) for making iOS apps. The good thing about Xcode is that it's free and available from the Mac App Store.

Above all, Xcode is a smart tool for code writing and editing. You can draw your app in storyboards, unit it, and even debug it – all in one place. Finally, you can also use Xcode to ship your app to the App Store.

Xcode is key software for every iOS developer.

3. Create apps using step-by-step tutorials

Once you get a grasp on programming, you should start making use of your knowledge.

Have a look around and you'll find plenty of tutorials to help you make an app step-by-step. Most of these include extensive descriptions and are just perfect for beginners making their first forays into app development.

Take on a new challenge each time. When you feel you're comfortable with Xcode and your programming language, be it Objective-C or Swift, you can take the next step.

4. Delve into source control

Sure, you're busy and juggling different responsibilities, but getting in touch with the GitHub community is key to your professional development.

First and foremost, you need to learn how to use Git source control. Source control is crucial to your career as a developer – since you're likely to work in teams, you need to know how to efficiently use source control.

Exploring GitHub, you'll also learn how to analyze and read code written by other developers, and get a glimpse into their technique for building amazing apps.

Find interesting iOS projects on GitHub and start contributing to them. Run the app, find problems, and suggest solutions for improving the efficiency of a popular library or better code organization.

To take your first steps, try WordPress for iOS, JSQMessagesViewController, or AFNetworking.

5. Learn iOS

You can't become a professional iOS developer without knowing this environment like the back of your hand.

A typical iOS developer will know how to:
• Display data in table view
• Show alerts
• Build views (in various ways – with XIBs, Storyboards, or programmatically)
• Manage user interaction with different controls
• Deal with navigation and transition between views
• Display labels, text, and image views
• View controller lifecycle
• Integrate with parse JSON and REST APIs

The above is just a selection of the skills iOS developers should possess to land an exciting job in the field.

Now comes the good news: you can learn all this and more in the iOS Boot Camp. If you aren't that familiar with iOS, be sure to check it out. It's the most efficient method for getting a grasp on this operating system.

6. Start working on your app

At this point you should be ready to tackle your first major challenge: creating your very own custom app.

This app will testify to your ability as a developer. You'll be showing it to your future employers, so make sure that the project is challenging and demanding enough to stand out.

But don't worry; you don't need to create the next Uber or Snapchat. You just need to show your skills. Nobody will expect you to instantly have a creative mind and a knack for marketing.

Which are your strongest skills in iOS development? If you like to create complex user interfaces, think of an app that would showcase this skill.

Get to work and produce an amazing app with some clean working code.

7. Ship it to the App Store

Finally, you should test your app on the market and submit it to the App Store.

You'll be doing this to learn how the process works. Doing it yourself is much better than relying on tons of documentation.

Even if most of the time you'll work with a senior developer who'll be responsible for this part of the job, you might be asked to release an update or update metadata.

If your app lands in the App Store, you'll show employers that you know your way around this process and effectively boost your chances at landing interesting projects.

Take these seven steps and you'll be on your way to developing killer programming skills and becoming an iOS developer in demand.

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.

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