I wrote a post titled 30 Most Inspiring People to Follow on Twitter and it was very popular. This proved to me that there is a demand for good advice from people out there in the field developing/designing/writing about iOS apps.

I decided to get in touch and ask them this one question.

“Think back to when you started making iOS/Mac apps, if you were to give that “earlier you” who is starting out a piece of advice today, what would you tell him/her?”

See what they had to say to that below. There is a ton of good advice in these quotes so please heed them.

Make sure to share this on Twitter. Use the buttons to your left. And if you want to say thank you and have anything to add, please leave a comment at the end of the post.

  • Matt Gemmell

    Speaker, Founder – Instinctive Code

    There’s always room for better software. Every kind of app has been done a hundred times on iOS already, but there’s still a place for apps that are truly simpler, and better, and easier to use.

    Even in utterly saturated categories like checklists and text editors. If you think that your idea has some uniqueness, and some value, then you shouldn’t be afraid to build it and release it. If it’s something that you want, then there’s someone else out there who wants it too.

    Every app has been done a hundred times but there’s always room for better software <--Tweet this

  • Ray Wenderlich

    Founder RazeWare, Raywenderlich.com

    Don’t expect overnight success – keep learning and growing and making apps – each one will be better than the last!

    Don’t expect overnight success <— Tweet this

  • Mattt Thompson

    Creator of AFNetworking & NSHipster

    When I first started iOS, I had been a Ruby & Rails programmer for about 4 years. I definitely spent a lot of time grappling with the language syntax, and trying to get a handle on all of the system frameworks. Back then, tutorials for basic tasks were sparse, and there were almost no open source projects to speak of. I had to rely on Apple’s sample code and shear determination to get anything to work.

    But still, just the novelty of being able to create something for the iPhone was enough to make everything worth it. These days, I’m happy to say that an iOS developer starting out today has dozens of great resources and hundreds of open source libraries available at their disposal. For tutorials and sample code, I heartily recommend Ray Wenderlich’s site & NSScreencast. For anyone wanting to learn about more advanced topics, I write about obscure parts of Objective-C and Cocoa every week on NSHipster.

    As far as open source, CocoaPods is absolutely essential. Not only does CocoaPods make managing dependencies effortless, but it’s become an amazing tool for discovering new libraries. So much has changed since I first started out. It’s never been easier to get started and make amazing apps, so my advice to anyone starting out or considering iOS development is simple: go for it!

    It’s never been easier to make amazing apps, if you are considering it: go for it! <-Tweet this

  • Dan Rowinski

    Mobile Editor, ReadWriteWeb

    Make sure to give design and development issues equal weight in the planning process. App developers often focus too much on what they “can” do without thinking of how it will look and how the user will interact with it when it is done.

    If you create killer functionality that is hard to use, people will not come back to your app. On the other side, if you create an awesome looking app that keeps crashing and does not do what it says it is supposed to do, users will flee. Look at Path or Instagram. Those are companies that balance design and functionality extremely well.

    Give design and development issues equal weight in the planning process <-Tweet This

  • Jeremy Olson

    Founder, Tapity

    Don’t neglect the idea. We’ve all heard that the idea for an app doesn’t matter; it’s all about execution. I used to firmly believe that but then something happened. My second app, Languages, made more money in one day then my first app made in two years. What on earth? They both were well executed. Grades even won an Apple Design Award. They both were well marketed, being featured by Apple and the press. What was the difference?

    The idea.

    Grades was always limited by the small niche it served – college students who really care about their grades (a smaller niche than we would hope). Languages was much more universal. Almost anyone might be interested in a translation app that works without an internet connection. Don’t get me wrong, as this chart illustrates, niche apps can definitely make a lot of money but they have to be in niches that care so much about the app that they will pay a premium for it. Most apps, unfortunately, make the mistake of targeting a niche that would only pay 99 cents for their app, resulting in a disappointing business equation.

    Don’t target a niche that will only pay 99c for your app. <--Tweet this

  • Marco Arment

    Instapaper, The Magazine

    Hire a designer <-Tweet this

  • Peter Steinberger

    Speaker, Creator of PSPDFKit

    Don’t use Three20. Nah, seriously. Don’t lose faith, and take more risks. Back in 2009, I learned everything the hard way with writing a big social app that scraped web content. It got wildly successful and I was hooked on the platform. A few months later Apple shut it down, a few weeks before my first WWDC.

    I was really crushed and it took me quite some time until I got back to Xcode, and then some more to find the courage to quit my day-job to become a freelancer. Later on it was equally hard quitting freelance work and doing my own thing. It’s been a hell of a ride and it brought me where I am now, with a sustainable business – even though I could’ve been there faster.

    Don’t lose faith, take more risks! <-Tweet this

  • Marc Edwards

    Lead Designer, Bjango

    Partnerships are vital. Find good people to work with, who complement your skill set. Respect them and learn enough about their craft to be able to talk the same language For iOS designers this means getting familiar with Xcode and the naming conventions Apple use for their UI elements. It means going to developer conferences and meet ups. We’re all part of the same team.

    Give back. The fastest way to learn is by openly sharing and discussing tips and techniques. Writing helps form solid opinions and serves as a great way to check you’re doing things the right way (if you’re not, you can be sure someone will let you know).

    Strategy is important. I love reading Asymco.com, ben-evans.com and listening to The Critical Path. It may not initially be apparent, but being well versed in where the industry is heading can give you insight into where design is heading, too. When things become more predictable, you can plan accordingly.

    Give back. The fastest way to learn is by openly sharing and discussing <- Tweet this

  • Aaron Hillegass

    Chief Learning Officer, Big Nerd Ranch

    Being a developer involves a certain amount of smarts and confidence. In the case of beginning developers, these strengths can manifest as a flaw: Novice developers fall in love with their own ideas.

    Experienced developers, trained by years of being wrong, are much more skeptical of their hypotheses. So, if you are starting a career as a programmer, always be looking for easy ways to prove yourself wrong. I’ve even seen a bumper sticker on this topic. It read “Don’t believe everything you think.”

    Don’t fall in love with your ideas. Always look for ways to prove yourself wrong <-Tweet this

  • Dave Verwer

    iOS Dev Weekly

    Don’t build an app thinking you will find an audience later, find the audience first and then build apps to meet their needs. <-Tweet this

  • Daniel Jalkut

    Founder, Red Sweater Software, Co-Host of Core Intuition

    Always remember that the main thing separating people who succeed from people who donít is a commitment to keep trying while the others give up.

    Knowledge and cleverness are key components to achieving your goals but they pale in comparison to persistence and an unwillingness to admit defeat.

    What separates successful people from others is a commitment to keep trying <-Tweet this

  • Robin Raszka

    Co-Founder, Tapmates, Pttrns.com

    Don’t try to be the next Jony Ive. Focus on designing the best experience for real users.

    Never stop learning new things. Forget wireframes and especially uploading screenshots to Dribbble, instead, learn how to do your own working prototype and get it ASAP on the device and play with it.

    Focus on designing the best experience for real users <-Tweet this

  • David Smith

    Founder, FeedWrangler, Host of Developing Perspective

    Make sure that you understand your own definition of what success looks like. It is a brutal marketplace if that is solely financial.

    For this to be an enjoyable living you need the enjoy the process and people involved. <-Tweet this

  • Dan Counsell

    App Producer and Founder, Realmac Software

    Remember to keep things focused by removing all unnecessary elements and features. Sometimes having less features can be your biggest competitive advantage <- Tweet this.

  • Craig Hockenberry

    Twitterific and Iconfactory

    When I first started developing software for the Mac, I got lucky. From day one, I worked with some very talented designers: Jeffrey Zeldman and the Iconfactory. Jeffrey and I have parted ways, but I still can’t imagine making a product without the help of my colleagues at the Iconfactory. It’s imperative to have a partner as you develop a product.

    And take this notion of partnerships a bit further: don’t be afraid to meet people. Work to overcome your introversion (we all have it!) and make time to develop relationships with your fellow designers and developers. There’s a lot to be learned from other people in our industry and you’re missing out if you’re just on the receiving end of the dialog. To help start that conversation, figure out what you know that others need to know.

    Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Work to overcome your introversion.<-Tweet this

  • Rene Ritchie

    iMore, @MobileNations

    Consider the design as much as the code, and the marketing as much as the product. Development, design, and marketing are all distinct, equally important skill sets needed to ensure success. If you can’t code, hire the best coder you can. Same for design. Same for marketing.

    Anyone can get lucky, but the smarter you are, the luckier you’ll be.

    Development, design, and marketing are all distinct, equally important skill sets needed to ensure success <-Tweet this

Picture Credits:
Rene Ritchie by iMore |
Ray Wenderlich By Cocoa Conf | Matt Gemmell by adelcambre| Marco Arment by webstock06 | Marc Edwards by Melbourne Cocoaheads | Aaron Hillegass by Duncan Davidson | Daniel Jalkut by Massivev


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  2. Nenad Stanojevic

    Tope a big Thanks for all you efforts and info on app. development ,I am sure many like me ( total novices) appreciate all your help. Regards Nenad.

  3. abigail

    Great advice from some of the best IOS dev’s in the business, but come on, you tell me you couldn’t find one female developer to share a piece of advice.They are so many amazing ones to choose from..

  4. Bharat KV

    A very good thought to come out with something like this… This is going to be really helpful for those who are starting out with their first App… Thanks Tope…