Should I focus on iOS or macOS or both?

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by timmy1729, Aug 20, 2017.


Should I focus on macOS or iOS development in hopes of employment?

  1. macOS

    5 vote(s)
  2. iOS

    17 vote(s)
  1. timmy1729 macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2009
    I am wanting to focus my energies on learning Swift to for employment purposes. However, I would like to get some opinions. Should I focus my time and energy on macOS development or iOS development? Which one would give me a better chance of finding employment?
  2. Erendiox macrumors 6502a


    Oct 15, 2004
    Brooklyn NY
    iOS, hands down. Mobile is way bigger than native Mac development and is likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

    Also consider that once you learn one, you've already taken a very big leap towards learning the other. They both share the same Foundation framework and have many similarities in their own respective frameworks (UIKit vs AppKit).
  3. 0002378 Suspended


    May 28, 2017
    I agree with Erendiox ... iOS development is far more sought after than MacOS development, although if you learn one, you've pretty much learned the other as well. Hence, there is a TON more documentation out there for iOS than for MacOS. I know this because I am also learning to program in Swift, and have found MacOS documentation very hard to come by.

    I, personally, couldn't care less about iOS dev. I do all my programming on MacOS, but I'm doing this as a hobby. If I were out in the job market, I'd definitely focus on iOS.
  4. superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK

    I agree with what the two posters above have said: You'll definitely have more career opportunities with iOS. That said, Swift and/or Objective-C are pretty much the same whether you're coding for iOS and macOS. You just have to get your head around Cocoa vs CocoaTouch - which is different, but not *massively* different.

    That said, whichever you choose, make sure you do a bit of the other too! Just because there are a lot more iOS jobs out there, doesn't mean that a opportunity to work in macOS isn't going to open to you at some point. The more options you have open to you, the better.

    Good luck!
  5. abcdefg12345 macrumors 6502


    Jul 10, 2013
    im gonna have to say macOS, I've uploaded the exact same apps on iOS and macOS app stores and i make way more money on mac than iOS, even though there are way more people using iOS than mac, more than 90 percent of iOS users are not willing to spend 99 cents on an app compared to mac users.

    iOS users expect everything to be free.
  6. WestonHarvey1 macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    Are you looking to build a portfolio to get noticed by employers? iOS.

    Are you looking to make money as an ISV? macOS.
  7. superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK

    That's probably good advice. I was assuming you were looking to join a company as a developer. A predictable, monthly salary can be a very reassuring thing to have. If that's what you want then there are a lot more jobs advertised for iOS devs than macOS.

    However, a handful of successful macOS apps on the app store will probably bring you a decent (yet unpredictable) monthly sum.

    There's merit in both. Personally, I have a reasonable 9 to 5 development job that pays the bills. I do my own macOS dev projects in my own time - that's my 'fun' money.
  8. 960design macrumors 68030

    Apr 17, 2012
    Destin, FL
    Gotta start somewhere... try iOS hackingwithswift is pretty good
    iOS users expect ads, so I use them. MacOS does not.
  9. superscape macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2008
    East Riding of Yorkshire, UK
    Of course, there's another way of looking at this. If your goal is to be employed as a developer (rather than being an independent developer) then maybe you should do some market research. For example, if you're hoping to work near City X, then keep an eye on the job ads for that area and see how often macOS vs iOS jobs come up. Also look at what other skills they want (odds are you won't get a job JUST doing Swift development).

    Maybe there's a big company near you that hires lots of macOS developers but they also expect experience in SQL, or C# or whatever. Or somewhere that hires lots of iOS people, but also required Java. If so, you know where to concentrate your effort.

    I guess the point I'm making is to research the job market, and what skills are in demand. Also consider that what's in demand *now* might not be what's in demand when you've (hopefully) become a great developer. Spotting the Next Big Thing in a few years time isn't one of my talents though - I'll leave that as an exercise for you!
  10. Greene macrumors regular


    Jul 15, 2015
    Fort Worth
    I interview a lot of junior, mid, and senior devs. Mostly for web dev and data sci roles now, but iOS in the past.

    To be frank, macOS or iOS doesn't matter too much. For junior positions, I don't care much about what stack you have, because 1) it's almost never an immediate fill for what the company needs, and 2) there's still a lot about professional dev work that you'll have to learn on the job.

    What I do care a lot about is 1) Are you capable of continually learning new things? 2) Are you driven to work really hard at learning things on your own?, and 3) Are you humble and hungry for guidance and feedback?

    3 is handled by the interview. The best way to show 1 and 2, is by having a polished project in the App Store I can check out and play with. I don't expect it to be super popular or related to what my company does, but I do expect it to be something that you spent a lot of time on, that you built yourself (I.e. Not the contact app from a swift book or a school project), and that you can talk passionately about.

    Focus on getting a project shipped and iterated, and you'll be good. No joke, if I'm interviewing for a junior iOS gig, I'd much rather take a non-cs kid who's built websites and can talk through the problems they had to solve, than a cs kid who has some iOS classes but only college projects in their portfolio.

    tldr1 Don't worry, just ship something
    tldr2 Don't even worry about learning android or other stacks yet, especially if it cuts into you shipping something. Learn what you're interested in, and ship.
    tldr3 Except git - learn how to use github
  11. AphoticD macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2017
    ^ This is the simple answer.

    Learn about the platform which you like the most. Build stylish solutions for your platform, ship and support your app(s) on your platform of choice and keep learning.

    It may sound corny, but listen to your heart and stand by your own integrity. There is little point in becoming a developer for a platform that YOU don't care for, regardless of how popular and in trend it is.

    That is known as "selling yourself out".
  12. carestudio macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2008
    I think you at least need XCode which can only be installed in Mac. iOS does not have XCode capability. In the future maybe. But Desktop CPU is still way more powerful than mobile CPU. so I vote for both ;)

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