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waterskier2007

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 19, 2007
1,848
190
Novi, MI
Hey guys. I have been doing iOS development for a while and got a full-time job as a mobile developer. I have been asked to provide requirements for a work machine. I will be doing primarily iOS development and some android development, so obviously a Mac is the go to.

I just wondered what some of you guys use. Sure I could scrape by with a MBA, but it seems like a 15" MBP is the way to go given the Quad Core i7 and screen real estate.

Anyone have any input to this?
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
The Left Coast
I would get the highest end 15" retina MacBook Pro. It has a discrete Nvidia graphics card. It also has a retina display, which is a must-have (in my opinion) to see more detail when creating the UI of apps and seeing how it looks in the simulator.

Just out of curiosity, did you get a comp sci degree? I'm learning iOS development just for fun, but I am loving it so much that I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to make a job of it some day.
 

s2mikey

Suspended
Sep 23, 2013
2,490
4,255
Upstate, NY
I would get the highest end 15" retina MacBook Pro. It has a discrete Nvidia graphics card. It also has a retina display, which is a must-have (in my opinion) to see more detail when creating the UI of apps and seeing how it looks in the simulator.

Just out of curiosity, did you get a comp sci degree? I'm learning iOS development just for fun, but I am loving it so much that I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to make a job of it some day.

FYI, having a comp sci degree is NOT required at all to be a good developer. I work in the software field and we have developers that are good and bad. Some did the college thing, some didn't. The problem with degrees in fields that change rapidly like the computer industry is that much of what is learned is completely outdated and useless in a short time. Unlike say electrical engineering whose properties and laws haven't changed in many years and never will.

If you enjoy coding and are getting good at it then you can certainly get a job doing it.

Companies are starting to rightfully place a lower emphasis on college and simply take people for that they know and how current their skill set is.

As an example, would you rather hire some dinosaur programmer with a 20 year old degree or a younger person with no degree but lots of current coding capability on new platforms and technologies? It's an easy answer. ;)
 

firewood

macrumors G3
Jul 29, 2003
8,074
1,317
Silicon Valley
For a Pro developer set-up, the most important thing is display real-estate and build speed. A Mac Mini with an SSD can drive a 27" monitor or two, has more USB ports (for test devices), and would provide far better ergonomics for all day use than any MacBook.
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
The Left Coast
For a Pro developer set-up, the most important thing is display real-estate and build speed. A Mac Mini with an SSD can drive a 27" monitor or two, has more USB ports (for test devices), and would provide far better ergonomics for all day use than any MacBook.

I dunno. The retina MacBook Pro can drive three external monitors. And since iOS devices use USB 2.0 you can use a hub to expand the USB ports on a macbook. You can use an external keyboard and mouse and monitor for desk use, but unlike the Mac mini you can take it around the office for presentations or to other offices.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,419
5,769
Just out of curiosity, did you get a comp sci degree? I'm learning iOS development just for fun, but I am loving it so much that I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to make a job of it some day.

I started working at IBM 2 months before technically getting my degree in Computer Engineering. During the time that I had completed all the course work, but didn't actually have the degree in hand yet, I was making only 60% of what I made as soon as I had proof that I finished school.

I moonlight as a CTO of a startup. Our CEO is a college dropout. We don't care about your degree. Our pay is entirely based off of performance. We define milestones and how much we'll pay for them, and we pay you that amount when you reach it. When we're checking whether we want to start working with you, we only look at your portfolio. If the UI/X looks good and your code is well organized, easy to understand, and unit tested, then we'll probably offer for you to join the team. (Contact me if we sound like someone you want to work for, by the way - we have a big project and are always looking for more developers).

So it's really a company culture thing that dictates whether a degree is required or not. IBM is over 100 years old - I don't think it was common for a person to be able to have the skills/knowledge necessary without having gone to college. Fast forward into the information age and there's plenty of ways you can teach yourself programming without going to college.
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
The Left Coast
FYI, having a comp sci degree is NOT required at all to be a good developer. I work in the software field and we have developers that are good and bad. Some did the college thing, some didn't. The problem with degrees in fields that change rapidly like the computer industry is that much of what is learned is completely outdated and useless in a short time. Unlike say electrical engineering whose properties and laws haven't changed in many years and never will.

If you enjoy coding and are getting good at it then you can certainly get a job doing it.

Companies are starting to rightfully place a lower emphasis on college and simply take people for that they know and how current their skill set is.

As an example, would you rather hire some dinosaur programmer with a 20 year old degree or a younger person with no degree but lots of current coding capability on new platforms and technologies? It's an easy answer. ;)
Thanks! That is awesome. I will keep learning and perhaps one day when I am knowledgeable enough I will work on making it a career if I can get good enough at it. I will certainly try me best in any case. And even if I can't make a career out of it, it's still a ton of fun to write apps and come up with cool software :cool:
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
The Left Coast
I started working at IBM 2 months before technically getting my degree in Computer Engineering. During the time that I had completed all the course work, but didn't actually have the degree in hand yet, I was making only 60% of what I made as soon as I had proof that I finished school.

I moonlight as a CTO of a startup. Our CEO is a college dropout. We don't care about your degree. Our pay is entirely based off of performance. We define milestones and how much we'll pay for them, and we pay you that amount when you reach it. When we're checking whether we want to start working with you, we only look at your portfolio. If the UI/X looks good and your code is well organized, easy to understand, and unit tested, then we'll probably offer for you to join the team. (Contact me if we sound like someone you want to work for, by the way - we have a big project and are always looking for more developers).

So it's really a company culture thing that dictates whether a degree is required or not. IBM is over 100 years old - I don't think it was common for a person to be able to have the skills/knowledge necessary without having gone to college. Fast forward into the information age and there's plenty of ways you can teach yourself programming without going to college.
That's great! Thank you for the helpful information. I have always enjoyed reading your posts, especially in the programming section. I would tend to agree with you. I am a junior getting a B.S. in Biology at the moment, since I chose my major before I became interested in software development. I think that in most fields a college degree is a must. But in computer related fields such as software development, I don't think that your traditional university does a very good job of preparing students for the real world of tech (at least not in most places, though some uni's do a great job). I think that self-guided learning from the internet can be far superior in many cases. Personally, I will always value my education in the hard-sciences, because even if I go in to software development it will help me immensely. Surprisingly, the physics courses I've taken have been incredibly helpful in learning computer graphics frameworks such as SpriteKit.

I won't be skilled enough to truthfully refer to myself as a "developer" for another 4-5 months yet. I am learning about SpriteKit at the moment, and I still haven't learned how to connect my application to talk with a server/iCloud yet. But I'm learning this stuff fast enough that I think I will be ready to start working on production-level applications pretty soon.
 
Last edited:

waterskier2007

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 19, 2007
1,848
190
Novi, MI
Just out of curiosity, did you get a comp sci degree? I'm learning iOS development just for fun, but I am loving it so much that I'm starting to wonder if I might be able to make a job of it some day.

Nope, I majored in Chemical Engineering. I then got a job doing development (non-mobile) for a company after college. I then moved into their corporate finance group. Now I am moving to a different company for iOS and android development. As many will tell you, you do not need to have a CS degree. It certainly doesn't hurt to get your foot in the door, though.

Development to me is more about creative problem solving. If you have that skill, learning how to put your ideas into code is the next step!

----------

For a Pro developer set-up, the most important thing is display real-estate and build speed. A Mac Mini with an SSD can drive a 27" monitor or two, has more USB ports (for test devices), and would provide far better ergonomics for all day use than any MacBook.

The reason I wouldn't go with a desktop (I have a mac mini at home) is that sometimes I want to take work home with me and a laptop is the best way to do that.
 

moonman239

macrumors 68000
Mar 27, 2009
1,537
31
You'll definitely want a MacBook Pro or an iMac. Both are better suited for jobs like iOS programming and graphics design, because of the specs these computers have.
 

AlecZ

macrumors 65816
Sep 11, 2014
1,173
122
Berkeley, CA
Is a dedicated GPU really needed for iOS development? I used a 2006 MacBook then a 2009 MacBook Pro throughout high school (2011-2014) and worked on a few apps on them, plus all my CS homework. No problems with the MBP other than lack of screen real estate. The MacBook only fell behind because Xcode stopped supporting it.
 

omenatarhuri

macrumors 6502a
Feb 9, 2010
832
703
Is a dedicated GPU really needed for iOS development? I used a 2006 MacBook then a 2009 MacBook Pro throughout high school (2011-2014) and worked on a few apps on them, plus all my CS homework. No problems with the MBP other than lack of screen real estate. The MacBook only fell behind because Xcode stopped supporting it.
Probably not, only the simulator might use it when running something 3d heavy and even than I'm not sure.

My mbp changes to discrete graphics for some reason when editing a sprite kit file.
 

AxoNeuron

macrumors 65816
Apr 22, 2012
1,251
855
The Left Coast
Is a dedicated GPU really needed for iOS development? I used a 2006 MacBook then a 2009 MacBook Pro throughout high school (2011-2014) and worked on a few apps on them, plus all my CS homework. No problems with the MBP other than lack of screen real estate. The MacBook only fell behind because Xcode stopped supporting it.
Simulator, nah. The integrated CPU of most modern macs will be just fine to handle OS X duties plus iOS capabilities with the simulator at the same time. But for other development tools, you probably would want a dedicated GPU but it isn't a necessity. I personally use photoshop to do a lot of design for apps and running Xcode, Photoshop with several projects, and a few other programs...mostly whats important is RAM. If you are handling huge graphical projects for the application in Photoshop or some other graphics program then a dedicated GPU is probably a good thing to have.
 
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