iOS vs. Web Development: Which Should You Choose?

Brian Bojan Dordevic
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President at Alpha Efficiency

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Are you excited to start a new career as a web developer and combat inflation woes? Great choice, as both frontend and backend software engineers still have stable job opportunities even in this economy. This article is designed to help you choose the right career path between iOS and Web Development. Use this article as a resource to find all pros and cons of choosing one over the other. If you stick around, you will see salary expectations, knowledge requirements, and recommendations for courses and tools that will help you master your future craft. Find your programming path with Alpha Efficiency expert agency advice.

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ios vs web development

Both iOS and web development offer lucrative and fulfilling career opportunities, but they also require different skills and knowledge. Our web development agency in Chicago will put both professions side by side in an effort to help you with the perplexion.  We hope that this article inspires you to broaden your horizons and take a step in the right direction. So let’s start…

Why is web development a good career choice?

Mastering web development is quite a challenging task. Even the most experienced programmers sometimes need help solving problems they are not familiar with. Coding is a constant learning process, and that is not something that should discourage you. Instead, you should see it as an opportunity to grow as a programmer since there will always be a new challenge for you to tackle.

Here at Alpha Efficiency, we built a coaching platform for web developers to ace great job opportunities, improve negotiating skills and provide expert career advice and a training portal. You can review our web development course here and supercharge your future career.

With that in mind, let’s continue this iOS vs web development comparison as our node development company explores reasons why you should look for a career in web development.

Web developers are in-demand

There are various platforms that allow you to build e-Commerce websites without writing a single line of code. But will web development become obsolete? No. The premium online experience is essential for the success of practically every business and organization. Companies that don’t employ a web developer must rely on lazy drag-and-drop web builders such as Squarespace. While these may do the trick for some businesses, websites created on these builders take forever to load and are generally unstable and challenging to maintain. This is why serious companies that care about their online image rely on a web developer or a team of developers to deliver unique, engaging, and well-designed experiences to their consumers.  Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an 8% growth in the web development industry by 2029. This means that whether you opt for a front-end development or server-side development career idea, you shouldn’t have much trouble landing a job once you acquire an adequate skill level. However, we advise you to start working on your portfolio development early on, as showing your skills in practice will help you get better jobs.

Web developers earn great salaries

Although in web development, just like in any other industry, compensation is also based on experience, web developers get paid very well. Let’s take the state of Indiana as an example. According to Glassdoor, the average web developer in Indiana earns $65,553 per year with an additional cash compensation of $5,487. That is more than $30 an hour, significantly higher than Payscale’s report on an average hourly rate for Indiana, which is $17.04. Starting a career in web development is definitely a way to earn a high salary without necessarily having to earn an advanced degree.

Also, keep in mind that earning web development certifications can help you land higher-paying jobs. Many employers are willing to pay a premium for candidates who have gone through a certification program and can show that they have the skills to back up their claims.

A world of opportunities

Once they start their careers, web developers often have diverse opportunities open to them. Many don’t even stay in web development for their careers. Some find themselves attracted to web design and start employing mobile-first web design to create websites that work equally well on both desktop and handheld devices. Others find passion in developing web apps. However your career evolves, web development skills can be your gateway to many other tech-related careers.

Next, you have countless opportunities for remote work. This means you can broaden your job-seeking openings around the globe regardless of where you live. You can choose to work part-time as a freelancer and later grow that work into your own business or join an established company. Also, the more programming languages you learn, the more job opportunities you’ll have.

The creative line of work

Web developers get to showcase their creativity on a daily basis. Front-end developers discuss web design requirements with UX experts and make different fonts, colors, and features come to life while back-end developers are immersed in the background components of a web app or a website. Full-stack developers manage both the front-end appearance and back-end components to provide good background page support.

A career in web development requires understanding design trends, web content standards, user psychology, and business goals as it continuously sets creative challenges in front of those who choose it.

Non-technical must-have skills for a web developer

There is a common misconception that the only thing a developer needs to do is effectively create user interfaces. However, just like in any other industry, in order to create an efficient product, you need to communicate with your clients. Verbal and vocal communication skills are a must, but you may also need some basic teamwork lessons.

Regardless of the job description or official title, the one skill that all developers must possess is excellent problem-solving. There are many challenges a web developer tackles on a daily basis, whether it’s brainstorming how to best implement design ideas or figuring out how to make your code work with the backend code being implemented. Improving your non-technical skills will allow you to produce better results on each step of the website creation process.

Technical skills for web developers

The following topics we’ll discuss in our iOS vs web development comparison are front-end and back-end skills required for a career in web development.

  • Front-end skills
    • HTML – HyperText Markup Language is the underline of all websites, the main type of file loaded in your browser once you click on a website link. You’ll need to get a good grasp on web page resources and learn how to achieve a good text-to-HTML ratio
    • CSS – Cascading Style Sheets provide multiple functions used to style HTML elements
    • JavaScript – The programming language that allows you to manipulate and interact with website elements. Obtain a deep understanding of its script execution flow.
    • Responsive design – Understanding of responsive design elements as well as how to implement them through coding to make web content more expressive
    • Build tools – These allow you to test how web pages are interpreting the code directly in the browser
    • Version control / Git – The process of tracking and controlling changes to your source code
    • CSS and JavaScript frameworks – Collections of files that perform different tasks while providing common functionality (jQuery, Angular, React, Vue)
  • Back-end skills
    • Python – An open-source, object-oriented programming language
    • Java – An open-source, high-level programming language
    • PHP – An open-source, server-side scripting language for developing back-end logic of apps
    • NodeJS – An open-source, JavaScript framework for creating the back-end or the server-side of apps

With constant improvements in web development tooling, prepare yourself for life-long learning.

Why is iOS app development a good career choice?

The development environment supporting Apple is a rapidly growing ecosystem, so it is no wonder that many established enterprises and tech startups focus solely on iOS app development. In fact, a large number of popular apps such as Snapchat and Clubhouse were initially developed for iOS users and later expanded to Android.

Also, many developers find Swift programming language somewhat easier and more user-friendly than Java, JavaScript, and Python. This could be the main reason why so many novice programmers with lower skill levels are opting for iOS application development.

So, to kickstart our iOS vs web development comparison, let’s check some of the reasons why people choose iOS app development.

High demand for iOS skills

The consumers’ insatiable appetite for new apps gives iOS developers numerous opportunities to showcase their skills by creating innovative apps that run on iOS. Furthermore, the growing popularity of iPhones is expected to provide a steady demand for iOS developers.

Since the introduction of the Apple app store in 2008, around 1,500,000 jobs have been created around iOS app development and design. Since then, iOS apps have seen an incredible increase in net worth and have collectively made $1.3 trillion globally in February 2021.

Currently, iPhone holds 47% smartphone market share in the United States. This has become a hot skill to acquire, especially since 2014 and the launch of the Swift programming language. Today, every iOS app developer enjoys large dividends from the high demand for smartphone applications.

According to Joe Conway, Founder of Stable / Kernel and author of “iOS Programming: The Big Nerd Ranch Guide,” this large demand for iOS app developers is due to the fact that skilled professionals are crucial for maintaining as well as improving existing applications. Each time Apple releases a new device or new version of the iOS operating system, existing apps must be brought up to date so they would remain competitive with similar Android apps. He also predicts a shortage of professionals able to develop native iOS apps due to this high demand for new applications.

OS X and iOS developer Huo Ju stated on Quora that the demand for iOS professionals would only get higher with the growing number of iOS devices shipped as well as the number of startups aiming to develop their own iOS application. The two industries that are witnessing the highest demand for iOS developers are home automation and health.

iOS developers have a Great Salary

With the high demand for skilled iOS professionals comes a handsome salary. According to a popular job portal, Indeed, the average base salary for an iOS developer in the United States is $116,804 per year plus an annual cash bonus of $5,000. In fact, it is 68% higher than the average salary for other job postings.

After examining more than 259,000,000 profiles, LinkedIn stated that the job title of iOS developer occupies the top position. The graph below shows an overview of other iOS related job titles and their salaries.

With less offshore competition compared to web developers, high-paying jobs are more often available to those who build iOS apps. However, if you want to start a career as a freelancer, keep in mind that there are generally more job opportunities in the web development world.

Swift is easy to learn

Swift is a modern, powerful and flexible programming language dedicated to all iOS platforms. It requires a developer to match various criteria before the app is ready for launch.

Swift has a short learning curve and the requirement to pass the app through various rules and regulations helps rookie developers with their job while at the same time preventing an app from going off track. The fact that Swift is easy to understand and implement allows developers to focus entirely on the project at hand.

Sophisticated tools for mobile app development

Integrated Development Environment is one of the best tools for iOS app development, as it is highly stable and user-friendly. Xcode is another popular tool that developers have substantially used to develop, test, and launch apps. It is an all-in-one technology that comes bundled with almost every tool you’ll ever need to develop an iOS application.

Large community

Apple’s operating system is supported by millions of developers, both seasoned and newbies, as well as the company itself. This means that there is a large pool of people ready to help if you were to get stuck in any phase of mobile app development.

WWDC, a week-long Apple event, also plays a major role in attracting new people and expanding the community. It is widely believed to be the most awaited event of the year in the Apple community, where developers, entrepreneurs, designers, and bloggers from all across the world get together to witness the launch of new hardware and software technologies.

What are the job responsibilities of an iOS developer?

Now that we’ve gone through all the benefits of being an iOS app developer, let’s continue our iOS vs web development comparison job responsibilities of an iOS developer and the skills required to become one.

Apple’s mobile app developers are required to create intuitive and eye-catching applications for devices powered by the iOS operating system. As part of a diverse team of managers, designers, and other iOS developers, they contribute to a brand image since poorly designed apps can damage the company’s reputation. Here are some responsibilities of an iOS developer:

  • Designing and building advanced native iOS applications on the iOS platform
  • Working with cross-functional teams in order to define, design, and ship new features
  • Unit-testing code for sturdiness, including edge cases, usability, and general reliability
  • Identifying and correcting bottlenecks as well as fixing bugs
  • Continually discovering, evaluating, and implementing new technologies to maximize development efficiency
  • Helping with maintaining code quality, organization, and automatization
  • Building sophisticated multi-threaded apps

Must-have skills for an iOS developer

According to Joe Conway, these are the skills required for iOS mobile development positions:

  • Ability to develop native, structurally sound software for iOS and Mac OS X platforms
  • Striving to keep up with current UX/UI trends and remain up to date on new functionality exposed through Apple’s SDKs (software development kits)
  • Ability to utilize project management software, and version control systems and develop automated testing and deployment strategies
  • Ability to cooperate with other team members, including Android developers to make apps that are compatible with various devices.

Tools and programming languages you need to master

If you wish to provide a lucrative career in iOS app development, you need to equip yourself with advanced knowledge in the following tools and mobile app development programming languages:

  • Objective C – The language used for creating iOS apps
  • iOS – Contains a host of frameworks and tools essential for app development
  • Swift – You’ll need to become good at both client-side and server-side Swift, Apple’s programming language
  • Xcode – The development studio for creating Apple-based programs and apps
  • Interface Builder – Apple’s drag and drop tool for used creating user interfaces
  • Version Control – A versioning system for code
  • Frameworks – These allow you to reuse code written by other developers

iOS vs Web development: The minimum viable investment to start a career

The demand for both iOS mobile app developers and web developers is growing, and predictions are that it will further increase in the future. We’re sure that you’ll find plenty of opportunities in both web and iOS mobile app development once you master the required skills. However, before choosing between iOS vs web development career options you might want to know how much money you’ll have to spend just to get started. If

We can tell you right away that becoming an iOS developer requires a larger initial investment than becoming a web developer. This is mostly due to the fact that you’ll need Apple’s hardware in order to gain access to the iOS mobile app development platforms. Ideally, you’ll own a Mac that is running on the latest version of the operating system. Owning a PC won’t cut it. The cheapest option is to buy a Mac mini, which currently costs around $699. However, as you might quickly need a more powerful piece of equipment, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1299 to $1999.

On the other hand, the minimum viable investment to get started with web development is much smaller. You’ll only need a PC with a decent RAM size and CPU speed. The cost for such hardware can range from $300 to $1000. And you’ll be able to start developing websites and web apps on any Operating System.

Final thoughts

We hope this article has given you a better insight into the pros and cons of both iOS development and web development jobs. Both career options are indeed tempting. While there is less competition for higher-paying jobs in iOS development, in web development, you’ll find more stability due to the multitude of available options.

So which one is the better? It’s too close to call. After all, you should pursue a career you believe you’re going to enjoy the most. If you have already chosen your path, our coaching platform is a great place to start polishing the skills required for successful careers in iOS and web development.

We’re well aware that in today’s world – codes run businesses. That being said, we strive to provide our clients with exceptional web apps but also provide a chance for many creative minds to gain valuable experience in the development field. If creativity is your trait, we are certain that learning how to code will give you a newfound appreciation of the work put into the technology that many take for granted. In case you are interested in mastering either web or ios development, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us and start your programming journey.


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