iOS / Full Stack Developer Compensation (Freelance / Salary)
December 19, 2012 12:40 AM   Subscribe

I am wondering how much I can expect to make (range) from a freelance position / salary as an iOS developer? (rip-off / expected / stretch) Possible tips to best negotiate salary / contract rates? What should I market myself as when I can work the product stack? I have the most experience / feel the most comfortable doing iOS development work, but love all aspects of building tech products.

I am an iOS developer with about 2 years experience. I have about 5 years of software development experience and have recently graduated with a computer science degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. My last role was as an iOS developer at a large marketing agency on their Apple team. I also have several additional years internship experience while in college. I have also been involved in several positions in startups with iOS developer / founder roles.

I have received several offers but feel that they are way low, and would like to know what I should expect for fair freelance / salary rates. Currently living in Los Angeles but may soon relocate to the SF bay area.
posted by nathanm to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I have experience developing for the full stack which I feel makes me a more valuable asset than the average iOS developer. The project was built to showcase my knowledge of the iOS platform through custom built iOS components, custom server backend, UI/UX design, and third-party API integration.

You can view a link to the application in my profile!
posted by nathanm at 3:12 AM on December 19, 2012

I would expect that you would be looking at $80k-$100k offers, realistically. With experience, you'll climb up a few rungs on the salary ladder; suggests that $120k is the average rate for an iOS dev in San Fran.
posted by ellF at 4:17 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Background: I hire iOS developers and also provide consulting services as part of my job.

I pretty much agree with ellF's numbers for a salaried position, as long as you interview well. If you don't interview well you might have to accept something lower than that (an entry level position) until you prove yourself inside the company.

To get the best salary you don't want a blind interview at a company who put a job posting on Craigslist. You want to get a job at a company where someone you know works. I'm much more comfortable paying top dollar for a programmer if they come in through one of my current employees who I know and trust.

In terms of freelancing: I've seen solo iOS developers charging (and getting) everything from $50/hour to $150/hour. It really depends on how well you can sell yourself and who the clients are. You'll get less working for a software development company (like me) and more working for a company in another business that doesn't have much/any in-house development expertise.

Your app looks nice, which is very valuable in this job search. I would make it clear how much of the work you did on the app. Were you part of a team, were you the only developer, were you involved in asset production and Q/A, etc. For companies who are new to iOs it is also valuable if you have expertise in the whole app store submission process.

Good luck! It's a fun area to be working in.
posted by alms at 6:38 AM on December 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Hey thanks for the information really helps! I have been getting offered on the very low end of that range, alms. I did every aspect of the app (whole App Store process, client server dev, design, etc) which makes me feel that I should deserve more. What's the best way to sell your accomplishments during negotiations to get a higher end of the range?
posted by nathanm at 12:09 PM on December 19, 2012

Response by poster: @ellf I was just wondering, are all iOS devs put in the same category? How can you judge your worth through the quality of the apps you put out? Right now, I only have one app in the app store but I feel that it is really custom and shows off my abilities, so I'm wondering how to judge based on what you can do rather than an avg. dev on the market or if that even matters at all?
posted by nathanm at 12:43 PM on December 19, 2012

I think you're overthinking it. There are a lot of folks who can code iOS apps, and who want/need jobs; if you classify yourself out of one job, someone else will take it. I expect that the hiring manager who is presented with a candidate who can meet their needs extends the offer, and beyond that, there are diminishing returns for more skill.
posted by ellF at 6:34 PM on December 19, 2012

Your ability to negotiate and the best way to do it depend on a lot of things. Does the company just want to fill a slot with someone who has some specific skills, or do they have a culture that values hiring the best and the brightest? If it's the latter, how did your interviews go? Do you feel like you made a great connection and that they really want you? If so, you might be a able to get a little bit more.

The other important factor is whether you're willing to walk away from the offer. If you are it gives you more power in the negotiation. You just tell them what you need and preferably provide some external metric justifying that amount. Keep it friendly and explain why you'd love to work for the company, but be clear that you need X and not Y. Then they get to respond. You may still be able to take the position even if they don't offer you X, but you need to be prepared for them to withdraw the offer. So don't use that tactic unless you really are willing to walk away.

If you're not willing to walk away then pretty much all you can do is ask nicely for a little more money or maybe a six month salary review.
posted by alms at 8:26 AM on December 20, 2012

If you become certified in Appcelerator Titanium, I think you can expect to get freelance work in the range of $75 to $125 per hour. From what I've seen, that's what the US based developers are making.
posted by Dansaman at 10:28 PM on February 24, 2013

« Older Theory of style   |   Recovering Office 2010 product key from dead... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.