What Skills Do You Need to Work at Apple?

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Apple is a huge company, with a wide range of skills required depending on the job position and the team you’re working with.

We’ve done some thinking and some research to try and bring out the main skills for some of the typical positions, such as a software engineer or an Apple technician, or a Genius at the Apple store. 

We also included a few tips and insights that can help future Apple employees in various roles, as well as resources where a beginner iOS developer can start learning the Swift language.

But first, let’s take a look at what kind of people is Apple looking for.

What Qualities Make You a Good Fit for Apple?

Depending on the job role, there are many qualities that can make you stand out as a great fit for Apple. While most of these will be role-dependant, we wondered if are there some qualities that permeate the Apple culture and something many Apple employees have in common.

After some reasoning and input from other current and former Apple employees, here’s what we’ve found.

As with any other tech giant out there, you need strong technical skills for anything relating to software development. Nothing eye-opening there, but we’ll explore this in a moment. 

You need to have strong people skills for working in the Apple store, whether a technician, creative, or a Genius. Surprisingly, you need these more than you need technical skills for the store position. Apple puts a lot of accent on customer experience, which isn’t surprising.

In addition to that, having a sense of humor, some positivity, and enthusiasm seems to be a plus and can get you further within the organization. There have been many instances where people with 5+ years of experience in sales have been skipped over the enthusiastic and positive person who can talk to people.

Finally, teamwork and creativity seem to be other features of the successful individuals at Apple. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, mentioned collaboration as an important feature Apple is looking for in future employees because “they believe in teams doing great things”. And creativity because “people who think differently can solve problems of the future”.

As you can see, this is all still very generic, so in order to get some specifics, we need to see what skills are required to work at some of the typical Apple job positions.

Skills to work at Apple as a Software Engineer

As a software engineer at Apple, your skillset will depend on where you work in the organization. There are many roles of a software engineer and many technologies that can be relevant based on what your job is.

If we were to generalize, some of the most important coding skills for getting hired by Apple include:

  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Swift
  • Python
  • Objective C
  • C++
  • Java
  • Git

This may not seem very specific for some people, but for others, especially beginners, it helps them choose the path and what to focus on.

For example, if you wanted to work in any of the operating systems then you should focus on Swift, C, C++, or Objective C. Pick one and become really good at it. If you’re a beginner to iOS and want to learn it, then check below for some of the best courses to learn iOS development.

Apple’s ecosystem is vast, so understanding how different software pieces intricately tie together can give you an edge. For instance, knowing how Swift interfaces with Apple’s ARKit might be crucial if you’re eyeing roles linked to augmented reality. Tailoring your skills to the specific Apple products or services you’re passionate about can make your application stand out.

Many software jobs at Apple require or prefer a degree, which is usually a computer science degree and you need some relevant experience.

Essential Skills for a Junior iOS Developer

Junior developers aren’t expected to know how to work on a lot of technologies, nor are they required to work on complex tasks. However, there are still some skills a junior iOS dev at Apple is expected to know and these typically include:

  • ability to write clean and readable code
  • Familiar with UIkit or SwiftUI
  • Skills in using delegates and protocols
  • skills in using dependency management tools
  • understand Git so you can work with a team
  • curiosity to experiment and learn
  • resourcefulness and communication

Additionally, you should be able to work with others well and be willing to adapt. Your codes should more or less follow the SOLID principles, and it wouldn’t hurt to get to know networking and have some basic architecture and debugging skills.

Investing in personal projects, especially those that leverage Apple’s proprietary technologies or APIs, can significantly bolster your portfolio. Demonstrating not just the skills needed to work at Apple but also the initiative and drive to innovate using their platforms speaks volumes.

Here’s a similar take on the technical skills needed to work as an iOS developer:

Skills to work at the Apple Retail Store

There are several paths you can take while applying for an Apple retail position at the store. The most common ones are the support roles of a Technical Specialist, Genius, and Creative. For all three, the main thing about working at the Apple store is knowing how to talk to people in a relaxed and friendly manner. 

The technical specialist is the first line in helping customers fix their devices. You’ll need to know about Apple devices, so when the customer comes you’ll either help them on the spot or refer them to other team members. The main skills of a technical specialist include:

  • ability to explain complex problems in a simple way
  • ability to talk to customers with composure
  • ability to rotate through different technical specialties and learn

Apple Genius is at a higher level than Apple technicians, so to get here, you’ll need to spend some time working as a technician first. Your responsibilities are similar to a technician, except that Geniuses spend a bit more time behind the scenes repairing Apple products. The skills of a Genius include everything the specialist must have, plus:

  • having good time management skills as you’ll take appointments, do check-ins and manage customers
  • iPhone repair skills (screen calibration, component replacements, etc)
  • computer repair (MacBook battery repairs, hard drives, etc)

Creatives are the Apple teachers and presenters at the store. They basically train Apple customers in using products and software, from the basics of using an iPhone to using various pro apps. The main skills of the Creative include:

  • ability to talk to customers in a relaxed way
  • patience and ability to teach others
  • good presentation skills

The point of the store is to sell the products, not just to know about them. While you do need to be somewhat knowledgeable about Apple products, you need to be good with people, to appear positive and enthusiastic, because that’s what sells.

For retail positions, Apple recruiters are looking for candidates who have nice personalities, who can work in a team, and who have good communication skills. One good advantage of Apple retail is that you can speak two or more languages. If you can appear friendly, and communicate well, then you’re halfway there.

Remember, Apple is not just selling hardware but an experience. If you’ve ever felt that transformative power of Apple’s products in your own life, conveying personal stories or experiences in a genuine manner during the hiring process can resonate deeply and set you apart.

Apple LinkedIn Employees Have These Skills

While researching what an average Apple employee has skills in, we’ve found a great resource to see what skills most Apple employees have. So here is what Apple LinkedIn employees have listed as their skills:

  • Customer Service (46,555 employees)
  • Microsoft Office (41,413 employees)
  • Leadership (35,421 employees)
  • Management (32,406 employees)
  • Microsoft Excel (29,042 employees)
  • Project Management (26,831 employees)
  • Python (21,130 employees)
  • C++ (18,161 employees)
  • Research (17,863 employees)
  • Java (17,118 employees)
  • C programming language (17,065 employees)
  • Data Analysis (14,624 employees)
  • MATLAB (13,575 employees)
  • SQL (12,855 employees)
  • Strategy (9,498 employees)

Whether these are the skills Apple is mostly looking for, or something that recruiters like to see in a LinkedIn profile is up for debate. Still, these skills give us some insight into what is highly valued at Apple, and what you might want to invest in obtaining.

Extra Skills That Can Make You Stand Out

Apple gets lots of applications for any role they’re looking to fill, so having an extra skill that is somewhat unique can help get that interview at Apple. 

The skills on your resume that can make you stand out at Apple include:

  • multi-lingual skills (knowing extra languages) for any role
  • wittiness (being witty and funny) for Apple store roles

Knowing an additional language is a plus at any big tech company, and Apple is no different. Knowing other non-English languages (Nordic or Arabic) will give you a unique advantage at the workplace, as many tech giants look to diversify their workforce. This applies to all positions at Apple. Luckily, you can learn this skill.

The thing about being witty is not simply a made-up talent or a skill. If you’re the type of person that likes to get along with others and has high charisma and positivity, then you’ll be perfect for the Apple store position, as many entry-level positions at the Apple store deal with customers. It’s not just a talent, you can learn to be witty.

Pro tip: One invaluable approach is keeping an eye on Apple’s patents or newly announced technologies. Gaining proficiency in, or even just familiarity with, the areas Apple is clearly steering towards can make you a forward-thinking and desirable candidate. Being one step ahead in understanding what might be the next big thing can be a game-changer for your application.

When applying to job positions at Apple in support or sales, you should tailor your resume in such a way that you address every single point in the job description. You need to show them how you’re the best possible candidate, because of so many possible applicants and the competitiveness for any position at Apple.

While many focus on the technical prowess Apple demands, it’s essential to also recognize the soft skills and character traits Apple treasures in its workforce. It’s about the symbiotic relationship between tech acumen and an innate understanding of human psychology, especially if you aim to work on products that deeply resonate with millions.

Where Can You Learn iOS Development Skills? (Resources)

As a beginner, you might be lost in the sea of resources online, especially in getting to learn iOS development. You want to teach yourself, and it’s hard enough to figure out where to start, let alone pick the best course.

Based on the input from hundreds of people, we’ve gathered 2 of the best resources for you to start with iOS development:

This is a complete course for Developing Applications for iOS using SwiftUI. It’s made for beginners but we recommend getting familiar with the fundamentals of OOP (object-oriented programming) before starting this course. It will make your learning experience more enjoyable, as the course is very powerful on its own.

You might be wondering “hey, maybe I need to learn Swift first, and then SwiftUI”. No worries, as you write SwiftUI, you’re writing the Swift code. This course covers all the basics of Swift languages such as variables, arrays, enums, loops, functions, structs, classes, and protocols. You’ll be doing many projects to practice all these basics and scale to larger apps.

Additionally, you might want to supplement your knowledge of SwiftUI by checking out the official Apple SwiftUI Tutorial and the iOS & Swift Learning Paths from raywenderlich.com.

Wrap-up: Apple is competitive, but everything can be learned

Figuring out the skills to get hired by Apple can be insightful because it tells you what to focus on. Even if it’s generalized at times, you can learn about some of these typical requirements to get hired at Apple.

We’ve mentioned the qualities Apple was looking for, typical skills for software engineers and junior iOS developers as well as resources to learn these skills. We’ve also broken down some of the usual skills needed for the most common Apple store positions.

Once you know the skills needed, now you can take action because every skill can be learned to some degree. While everything can be learned, these skills are just a requirement. If you’ve obtained those, then the next step is optimizing your resume and preparing for the Apple interview.

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Alex is the founder of GoTechCareer, a platform dedicated to empowering job seekers with valuable insights and advice for navigating the tech industry. With years of experience transitioning between tech roles, Alex shares in-depth knowledge and personal learnings aimed at helping others secure their ideal position in the tech sector.