I love Macs. Well, love is not the right word. I love my wife and kids, but those feelings differ greatly from my feelings towards Macs. Yet I spend more time working and playing on a Mac than I do anything else, even sleeping.
To me Apple’s iOS devices are Macs under a different name. As I write programs for both Mac OS X and iOS I see how each is just a variation of the same OS. To me a Mac isn’t the hardware; a Mac is the operating system. The ancient Mac OS (version 9 and earlier) was a great way of working with a computer on a not so great foundation. Mac OS X is basically the same great way of working with a computer on a much better operating system foundation. iOS is that same Mac OS X altered to work on portable devices with touch interfaces.
I’ve been interested in computers and programming since I was in high school. I bought my first computer, a Macintosh, in 1984. I wrote my first programs, in Pascal, on that computer. But I was also interested in many other subjects back in high school.
Due to a lack of focus and opportunity I didn’t go to college full time. I did start college back then, but also supported myself with full time jobs. In the intersection of the desktop publishing revolution and my interest in Macs, I started working in the design and printing industries.
After working at a tiny imagesetter service bureau, a printer’s in-house typesetting shop, and a film house, I landed a great job, working with great people, on great projects. I enjoyed working there for ten years, but that company’s business realities changed. The owners decided to restructure, shrink in size, and let a bunch of people go, including me.
During those ten years I stagnated somewhat. I got comfortable in the job, set aside college, met a wonderful woman who agreed to marry me, and started fathering children. When I hit the job market again, I found that my skills weren’t that valuable. The salaries for graphics professionals stagnated in my market. Not counting business owners, in my field the average salary was the same in 2005 as in 1995. Starting wages were less than they were in 1995. Yet, most employers expected at least a bachelor’s degree. That made finding a job that could support my family difficult.
I did land a job, but it woke me up to the fact that I must work on a career. So I went back to school to get that degree. My jobs always combined some systems management IT type work with graphics production work, and computer programming was more interesting to me, and IT jobs pay better. So I majored in computer science. I’m almost done with that degree, and I should graduate in December 2010.
I recently realized that the most fun I’ve had in the last few years doing something that could possibly support my family was programming. Programming was becoming a passion of mine. I also looked at how to combine Macs, programming, and supporting my family. iOS programming can be that combination. So I decided to become a professional iOS developer. My goal is to make a living by selling iOS apps through the App Store, and/or work as a developer for hire.
Through school I’ve learned enough about programming and software development to form a solid basis for an iOS developer career. I’m not deluding myself into thinking a know everything I need to know; I fully understand that there’s always more to learn about software development. I’m just confident that I know enough about software development in general to handle iOS development. I’ve gone through some iOS development training including multiple video training programs and in-depth books. Although I know there’s much more to learn, the proof is in the doing. So it’s time to publish apps on the App Store.
I have plenty of ideas for iOS apps. My fist one, Nora’s Bubbles, was just submitted to the App Store. My goal for that project was more to work out the details of publishing to the App Store. Writing the code for this project took only a few hours. Much more time was spent on learning how Apple’s publishing system works.
My current project is a utility app that can replace a Mac OS X application I used to use. That other program wasn’t updated for Snow Leopard, so it no longer works for me. My goal for that project is primarily to explore Apple’s monetization avenues. To explore iAds, I’ll make an advertising supported free version; to explore paid apps, I’ll make a 99¢ version without ads; and to explore in-app purchasing, I’ll add the option to buy out the advertising from the free version.
After these programs are shipping, I’ll work on the next steps to make iOS development support my family. I have some ideas for larger, more valuable iOS apps; ideas with the potential to earn a living. I’m also interested and willing to work for you. Can I help your organization implement your iOS apps?