Software Engineering (iOS and Android Development)

The Role

What Mobile [iOS/Android] Engineers Do

Mobile engineers or developers are responsible for creating, programming, and maintaining various forms of mobile applications and software. This process involves working with a team to brainstorm creative app ideas, write code, create demos, test for bugs and broken codes, and then launch the software. The software can be as specific as a single application or can be an entire interface that users experience when operating their phones, tablets, computers, and/or smart watches.

Creating user-friendly programs is the priority, whether it’s for areas of social networking, productivity, finance/banking, etc. This means that engineers must also be able to assess the needs of their customer base and provide technical assistance and/or customer service after launching. Engineers often write instruction manuals, create presentations, or host seminars for their teams to present their software and explain usability. iOS engineers work primarily with Apple operating systems, but software engineers can specialize in Android as well. Many successful iOS engineers have skills pertaining to both systems.

Who would enjoy a career in Software Engineering (iOS and Android Development)?

This career is ideal for those who have a strong interest in technology and how it works. A passion for the latest and greatest technology is key. iOS engineers should also be collaborative and team-oriented people given the breadth of people they can work alongside in an organization. Successful software development happens most often in a team setting, so those who enjoy working and sharing ideas with others will be comfortable in this work environment.

Engineers must also exert their leadership skills to ensure proper communication among peers and other departments; natural leaders and communicators excel here. As an individual, having a strong affinity to detail is necessary since technical processes make up the majority of this workload. People who enjoy critical thinking and creative problem-solving will excel in these engineer positions.

Who mightn't like the career?

Software engineering is not ideal for people who don’t appreciate technology and what it can do; in other words, if computers and smartphones are not already part of one’s daily routine, it can be more challenging to pick up the skills required for advancing in an iOS engineer career. Programming and testing software can sometimes be tedious. Impatient people or those who would rather focus on the end goal only may get frustrated in this career due to the focus that each seemingly small step requires. Those who don’t like to work in teams and communicate their ideas with a group may also find this career challenging.

 

GETTING IN

Qualifications

Mobile engineers can benefit from a degree in computer sciences or other related fields. This is a great start for introducing students to a broad variety of topics. Ideal job applicants will hold a bachelor’s - or master’s, depending on the position - in software development or engineering.

These degrees focus on a combination of computer science and engineering to prepare students for the aspects of an mobile engineering position for iOS or Android, including designing products, conducting research, programming, and project management.

Learning business management skills can also be a great help when searching for jobs. Penn State’s software engineering curriculum is a perfect example of the knowledge required to succeed in the workforce. However, for employees without software engineering degrees, there are certification programs such as this one from the University of Washington that focus particularly on mobile app development; having one of these certificates is a great way to impress potential employers and show off specialized skills. These skills include Apple Xcode, Objective-C, Cocoa/Cocoa Touch, MySQL, PHP, and Swift.

Interviewing

Because there is no one degree that will cover all the specialties of iOS engineering, completing an internship or certification and gaining relevant skills is ideal before pursuing work. This is also helpful for securing letters of recommendation.

Being able to speak to specific programs and skills you have ensures not only that your employer has a thorough understanding of your experience but also helps you find the right career for your skills. Check out “The Vital Guide to iOS Interviewing” for sample questions and answers that can help you prepare for your interviews.

Moving into Software Engineering (iOS and Android Development) from another career

iOS engineering is a quickly growing industry. It is attractive for many reasons, including the creative aspects and notably high pay. Almost anyone in a technological or computer-related industry can hone their skills to become an iOS engineer. With a focus on specialized education and practice, iOS developers can be born from many different careers. This guide to software engineering highlights many of the reasons iOS development can be a lucrative career, including suggestions for getting started. For more reasons to transition into the software field, read “3 Perks of Being a Software Developer”.

 

CAREER PATH

Intern

Role: iOS developers often start out by completing internships at local companies while in college. Internship duties include shadowing a mentor on his/her day-to-day responsibilities, learning the basics of software engineering. Interns get a chance to experience the kind of hours, work atmosphere, and team settings involved in an engineering career.

iOS and Android Engineer

Role: iOS engineers are responsible for the development process of apps and systems for computers and other devices. In this case, they work specifically on programs for Apple products.

Job duties include testing and documenting software, writing code (unless collaborating with programmers), removing kinks and bugs from applications, and assessing client needs and feedback to create efficient programs. With a team, iOS engineers map out the design process and create diagrams or models to illustrate it to their peers.

Like back end and front end engineering, the paths for a software engineer typically involve progressing in a technical individual coding role, or moving into a people management role such as Engineering Manager where the responsibilities extend to resource planning, hiring and ensuring the career success of engineers and developers within an organisation.

Travel Opportunities

iOS engineers do not typically travel, but opportunities may arise. Some of the work may be done remotely which can lead to more flexibility for traveling.

 
SALARY AND BONUSES

Salary

Entry-Level (0-5 years): According to PayScale, average wages for a new iOS engineer are USD$77,000 in the United States, £35,600 in the United Kingdom, CAD$59,000 in Canada, and AU$68,870 in Australia. Glassdoor reports an average of $94,000 base salary in the United States.

Mid-Career (5-10 years): USD$103,000, £40,000, CAD$66,000, AU$71,000.

Experienced (10-20 years): USD$117,000, £43,600, CAD$81,180, AU$91,590.

Late-Career (20+ years): USD$125,000, £49,200, and CAD$102,300, AU$100,818.

Bonuses

Bonuses and profit sharing are included in iOS developers’ salaries. In the United States, bonuses may average around $12,000. Experience and residence have the most influence on how much an employee earns in extras.

If working in a startup or technology company, it is common for equity or stock options to form part of the total package to compensate for lower salaries and the risk involved in working at an early stage venture.

 

LEAVING THE CAREER

Why Mobile [iOS/Android] Engineers move on

Experienced iOS and Android engineers may decide to leave their careers in mobile software development to pursue better work life balances. Because it is a competitive industry, employees often feel pressured to put in extra hours or take on more work in order to stand out. This can add extra stress to the position.

The possibility of working remotely can also be a blessing turned inconvenience; it can be hard to separate work from personal life when the environments become the same. Eventually, there can be the added struggle of advancing further in a software field. According to PayScale, iOS engineers don’t typically stay in their careers for longer than 10 years. Employers often search for young engineers to bring in the latest technology and attitudes toward software development, and those with more experience can fall to the wayside.

Read more here about the top reasons software engineers leave their jobs: “5 Reasons Good Software Engineers Quit.” Fortunately, there are opportunities for using the skills acquired in an engineering position to find continued career success, such as other forms of software development or technical roles within an organisation.