Prior to Apple's announcement of an iPhone SDK and AppStore, the only major developer hiring iPhone engineers was Apple. In fact, the company looked to the then nascent unofficial development community, hiring Lucas Newman, who worked on the first native iPhone game, Lights Off and helped develop iPhone Atlas develop our initial 5-step native application install guide in August 2007, as an "iPhone engineer." With some analysts projecting the emergence of a billion-dollar iPhone application industry, however, established developers, concept holders and startups are desperately trying to snag talent, both full-time and contract, for production of new applications and porting of existing programs.
Elance, a site which harbors a directory of programming professionals, lists no less than 80 individuals or organizations that claim iPhone development expertise. A perusal of Craigslist in the San Francisco Bay Area reveals dozens of iPhone-related contract activity -- both firms seeking development assistance and individuals offering their services.
Some experienced iPhone coders are making a more aggressive push. DS Media Labs, a firm out of Tampa, Florida, was co-founded by Ben Stahlhood, who created a complete guide to building native iPhone applications using XCode 3.0 under Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). His guide included instructions for setting up a staging area, creating a mountable iPhone filesystem, installing the toolchain, and finally setting up XCode with a custom iPhone application template -- before any such information was available from Apple.
Stahlhood transitioned his skills to Apple's official software development kit, linked with a graphic designer and created the DS iPhone Studio, which has already landed contracts with R/GA, an interactive agency in New York that represents Nike, Nokia, Verizon, IBM and others.
"DS Media Labs is very excited about the opportunities the iPhone OS platform is going to bring to mobile development; Apple has really revolutionized the way mobile development is being done," Stahlhood told iPhone Atlas. "They have also revolutionized the user experience and user interface metaphors. Going forward, we will see a lot of great things happening in the mobile market. DS Media Labs is already working on very high profile projects and we have some products of our own, including some fun games, targeted for an AppStore launch."
Meanwhile, Apple's still hiring. The company currently has several iPhone-related job postings on its careers site.