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Archive for November, 2008

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Contract Expires Early

Two months ago I signed a six month contract to do iPhone and Mac development. My first project would be an iPhone one, and my second would be a Mac project that they were pursuing. So the iPhone project is now coming to a close, and yesterday I got called in to the HR department. I was told that other iPhone contracts they were pursuing didn’t materialize, and that they’re giving me two weeks notice.

There was only one other permanent person working on this project (an employee, not a contractor), and he had no Mac/iPhone/Cocoa/Xcode experience whatsoever. I was the prime developer in everything but name. I did almost all the GUI for the whole project, and much of the guts as well. They are quite pleased with my work. So to be dropped this easily is a bit unnerving.

But they said that they’re pursuing other opportunities, and that if one of them gets signed, that I’d be working on a Blackberry project after the iPhone one is done. That’s all very nice and good, and I have nothing against the Blackberry, but I didn’t sign up to do Blackberry work. I love working on the iPhone! While I’ve learned a lot that about iPhone development during my time here, there’s still a lot more to learn. I want to continue expanding my skillset on the iPhone and want to become an iPhone domain expert. That said, learning a new platform like the Blackberry wouldn’t be that bad.

But most of all, I have to wonder why I bothered signing a six month contract in the first place. What good is it to sign up for six months, only to be let go halfway through the term? I’m relatively new to the world of contracting, this being my second contract. So far it’s been quite a turbulent ride, with more downs than ups. I guess this is all part of the learning process.

So anyway, now I’m now looking for work iPhone or Mac development. My resume is here.

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How Much is an iPhone Developer Worth?

The author of this article at O’Reilly says that in his experience, good iPhone developers are making $125/hour doing contract work, sometimes more. And that because of how lucrative selling apps is, many contractors are forgoing contract work altogether in favour of creating and selling their own iPhone apps.

He rightly points out that in this market, ideas are worthless. I’ve seen this in software development before – an idea, all by itself, is worth nothing, and it’s the execution of the idea that matters. The author of this article says: “I am someone who is highly motivated by ideas. So, it pains me to say that the value of an iPhone application idea right now is pretty much zero. A great idea isn’t worth anything under these conditions. There is no shortage of great iPhone ideas, just a shortage of talent to bring these ideas to market.” For someone like me, who doesn’t seem to have a creative bone in my body (kidding!), I think that ideas are worth slightly more than that. But not much.

Which brings me to my point. I see lots of people offer to work with a developer and split the profits 50/50. In this market where a developer’s time is so precious, I hardly think that this would be any motivation for a developer at all. The idea person gets half the profit and the person that does all the work gets the other half? Hardly seems fair. Especially given the fact that the split isn’t actually 50/50. It’s 30/35/35. That is, Apple gets 30%, the “idea person” gets 35%, and the person who creates the app gets 35%. That’s even more unbalanced.

As an experienced developer who’s now doing iPhone development, I don’t see any iPhone devs making $125/hour. Maybe I just don’t know where to look? I’ve been looking for good telecommuting iPhone jobs, and they’re hard to find. I’m starting to be open to finding someone who is willing to offer me a true 50/50 split (that is, 30/20/50). But I still think full time/contract work is what I want.

Thoughts?