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Guide to Hiring Swift Developers

  • What is Swift, and how is it used?
  • Why is Swift popular, and how will it benefit your business?
  • Roles and responsibilities of a Swift developer
  • What skills should a Swift developer have?

What is Swift, and how is it used?

Any engineer building Apple-based application software will be familiar with Objective C programming script. It’s a remarkably powerful, object-oriented language that used to be Apple’s general-purpose solution for building macOS, iPad, and iOS apps. However, as an Objective C developer would also know, you really had to be savvy to use it. For example, you first needed to grasp the original C script and then understand how its object-oriented extension sits on that foundation.

However, in 2014, Apple provided an easier alternative by releasing Swift. Swift is a cleaner and simpler programming language designed to replace not just Objective C but all languages based on C. As a safer and faster script that employs concepts from modern programming language theory, it was initially only for developing apps native to Apple operating systems. But in 2015, it was made available for Windows and Linux, and companies have since begun to hire Swift developers to write code for these systems.

Swift has continued to grow in popularity among software developers over the years thanks to its comparative ease of use. It has remained among the top 20 most-used programming languages in the nine years since it was released. It’s currently in 16th place in the rankings, according to the TIOBE index for September 2023. Needless to say, if your company is building software for Apple products, you’ll need to hire Swift developers for your projects.

Why is Swift popular, and how will it benefit your business?

Swift’s popularity is quite remarkable, especially since it is much newer on the scene than its older counterparts, such as JavaScript and C++. Since it was made open-source, all kinds of digitally active companies and startups have been relying on the technology to build robust and high-performing apps to meet their needs and those of their users. Some of the most notable names on the list include ride-sharing and carpooling startups like Uber and Lyft, financial services companies like Robinhood, and even payment solutions like Razorpay.

Swift is also in the top rankings in terms of market share; according to the PyPL index, it has the ninth biggest market share, just ahead of Kotlin. So, what does Swift offer that’s so attractive, and why has this programming language reached such levels of popularity among companies and developers in the relatively short time that it’s been around?

  • Speedy and Easy Development: True to its name, many coders describe Swift as being ‘lightning fast’ due to how speedy it makes the development process. It leverages different development methodologies and components to make this possible; for instance, the language uses low-level virtual machine compiler technology. This collection of modular compiler and toolchain technologies is highly reusable, and developers can leverage its vast code libraries to cut down development time. Moreover, when used for both the front-end and back-end of apps, Swift allows substantial reusability and sharing of code.

    Another speed-inducing feature of Swift is that it allows looping over similar elements in an array, enabling easier indexing and referencing. Swift’s development framework keeps track of which array holds what data, and it can thus quickly and reliably run blocks of code by assigning every array element a prenamed constant.
  • Intuitive and Beginner-Friendly: One of the main pitfalls of Objective C was its complexity and steep learning curve. For sure, it was a very progressive choice of programming language for its time, but many modern programmers would rather not deal with it anymore.

    On the other hand, Swift is way easier to use, having been designed to be intuitive and beginner-friendly—a major reason there’s usually no shortage of Swift developers for hire. It’s a much easier programming language to learn as a newbie. Its code is simple, and its syntax concise, with ‘syntactic sugar’ that enables the code to be more easily readable by humans. It also makes extensive use of inferred type, allowing coders to shorten code length by letting the compiler infer the correct type to qualify variables.
  • Cross-Platform Use: The programming language’s cross-platform applicability is another major reason startups like to hire Swift developers. Although it was initially built for Apple-native app development, it can now be used to write code for Linux and Windows operating systems as well.

    In particular, using Swift to develop code for Windows has proven much simpler for many programmers who, for example, find it seamless at importing APIs and bringing its extensive libraries to bear. Moreover, modules like CryptoSwift, a collection of cryptographic algorithms written in the language, show high performance in supported Android and Linux platforms.
  • Interoperability with Objective C: Sure, Objective C may be cumbersome to use, and most companies would rather hire Swift engineers thanks to its comparative speed and ease of use. However, Objective C is still very much in play for many companies today, as huge chunks of their iOS-based applications are still in the language. There are also many companies that have operational applications dependent on C++ libraries. Such companies will usually hire Swift developers who are also adept at making these technologies work seamlessly with Swift and its relevant tools.
  • Safety and Security: Swift was developed to be a safer alternative to other codes based on C;  thus, it features a whole range of security measures and functions meant to make your development cycle safer. For starters, Swift shaves off entire clusters and classes of unsafe code and functions one might encounter in Objective C or other C-based programming languages.

    For instance, ‘int’ types are not needed, and unsafe functions like ‘gets’ and ‘strcat’ are replaced with safer options like ‘fgets’ and ‘strncat.’ These make for cleaner code and way fewer runtime crashes. There is also the initialization of Swift variables before use, as well as automated memory management, checking of integers and arrays for overflows, and easy spotting of errors to reduce coding time.

Roles and responsibilities of a Swift developer

If you’ve begun to make budget considerations to hire a dedicated Swift developer for your startup, you’re evidently making the right mental step. Not only do you stand to gain so much from using Swift technology, but you’d also be applying a solution trusted by some of the best startups in many business sectors. Speaking of budget considerations, however, you should know that the skill and experience of your Swift developer must be quite high if you must leverage this technology to its fullest.

Your budget may be larger or smaller, depending on how skilled and experienced a coder you require. For example, companies that hire Swift engineers with up to three years of experience usually have to pay up to $90,000 a year in developer salaries. The specific needs of your business may not necessarily call for so big a budget, but it will still be in the tens of thousands of dollars annually. This naturally begs the question: what jobs will a Swift developer be doing to justify this expense?

  • Develop Application Software for Using Swift: Swift was originally created to help developers design and implement application software for Apple operating systems, and that remains the primary task of Swift engineers. However, as we’ve seen before now, the programming language also allows coders to develop applications for other OS as well, especially Windows and Linux. To do this, the developers will have to leverage vital cross-platform features of Swift, such as the SwiftUI framework for Windows and Linux.
  • Monitor the Performance and General Quality of Applications: Once the development cycle of the application software is complete and the said app has been launched, then comes the longer period: the service life. As long as the application software remains operational, it is the job of Swift developers to keep tabs on its general performance and quality constantly.

    This includes keeping track of such performance metrics as app launch time, memory usage, screen rendering, battery usage, and, especially for iOS devices, disk I/O. The Apple ecosystem itself has inbuilt and integratable tools for monitoring these things. For instance, the Xcode Metrics Organizer mostly monitors battery performance, and XCTest Metrics contains a set of APIs for monitoring performance during testing and debugging.
  • Maintenance, Scaling, and Optimization of Application Software: Businesses also hire dedicated Swift developers to undertake the maintenance and optimization of apps built with Swift code. This includes updating the software, debugging, and also improving the application’s capacity to operate well with changes in hardware.

    One of Swift’s many advantages is that its code is easily maintainable; its simple and human-friendly syntax makes it easier to identify lines of code that need to be rewritten for better performance, and it is also highly interoperable with Objective C. Basically, if you can pull off Objective C maintenance procedures, Swift will be a relative breeze. However, Swift code may need to be maintained and updated quite often as syntax standards and conventions change over time. Call that job security for Swift developers.

    Additionally, as the need arises, the developer will also have to scale up the application software. This is comparatively easy for native iOS apps, but extensions may employed for other operating systems.
  • Work with Dev Teams to Draw Up and Implement New App Features: There is often a lone-wolf stereotype that portrays coders as antisocial nerds who can’t string together a stutterless sentence to the next guy. But that’s mostly a movie thing; in real life, Swift developers often don’t work alone but as part of a development team, each individual usually specializing in one aspect of the development cycle.

    When you hire a Swift developer, they will engage in brainstorming sessions with other members of the company’s coding team to come up with new features to improve upon existing applications. Such ideas will have to be presented to the relevant executives for approval, so the developer’s job also includes making comprehensive presentations.

What skills should a Swift developer have?

Not just anyone can perform the tasks we just discussed, especially working with applications that rely heavily on legacy C-based code. As such, when scouting out Swift developers for hire, you want to make sure they have the right sets of skills for handling the job.

We can think of these skills in terms of two categories: soft and hard skills. Soft skills include problem-solving skills and interpersonal skills since you obviously want someone who can work with others and generate useful solutions. Creativity and resourcefulness are another set of skills to have as well—you want someone who can think outside the box and approach the development cycle in creative new ways. Then there are the hard skills you want to watch for.

  • Proficiency with Swift and C-Based Programming: The first main thing you want to know before you hire a Swift developer is their level of proficiency with the relevant programming languages. It’s not enough for them to be pros with Swift, as they will almost certainly encounter code from other C-based scripts, especially in legacy software. As such, they must have a command of all these other scripts and be able to make them work seamlessly with Swift.
  • Experience with Embedded Databases: A Swift developer also needs to have a good degree of experience working with embedded databases. There are a number of such databases that can be used on Swift, such as SQLite and  ObjectBox, the latter currently being used by over a million developers worldwide.
  • Knowledge of RESTful APIs and Backend Service Integrations: Creating APIs that are easy to use and maintain based on REST principles is another thing every Swift engineer must be able to do. These will enable a host of integrations across web applications and services that are vital for development, debugging, upscaling, and maintenance operations on the backend of applications.
  • Skill with Object-Oriented Programming: Swift is an object-oriented programming language, which means it organizes design processes around data as opposed to logic and functions. As such, before you hire a Swift developer, you should check that they have an in-depth understanding of object-oriented coding processes and systems.

    This means they must understand the concepts of classes, objects, attributes, and methods, as well as the principles of inheritance, polymorphism, abstraction, and encapsulation. Such an understanding means that when you hire Swift developers, they will not only be able to work with Swift but will also not space out when faced with other object-oriented codes.

For more FAQs on hiring Swift developers, visit our FAQs page

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