Cocoa Help: Mentoring and Immediate Answers

I've been tutoring Cocoa programmers for the past two years, offering mentoring to newbies and question-and-answer services to more experienced folks. Things have gone so well (see testimonials below), that I'm opening this up to the general public. Until the site is up, you can email/IM me at <sstevenson at mac dot com> to get started.

Who This is Useful For

If you are a new Cocoa programmer, you almost certainly have a boatload of questions and points of confusion. For an hourly fee, I'll walk you through your topic of choice until you are satisfied that you understand it. In many cases, the topic of choice might simply be "how do I get started with Cocoa?"

If you're a more experienced Cocoa programmer, you may understand a good amount of how things work, but there are still areas that are unclear. Instead of googling and trial-and-erroring for hours, you'll get precise, customized answers to your question.

The Offer

The basic proposition is that your time is valuable, so paying for one-on-one advice makes a lot more sense than wasting unknown amounts of time without any guarantee that you'll find an answer.

I think some people hesitate on a service like this because they feel they're cheating. Really, it's just being smart with your time. You still aquire the same knowledge you'd have otherwise, it's just that you avoid the frustration in the middle.

Meetings can be done in person, over the phone, or over instant messenger. For remote meetings, we can use SubEthaEdit to collaborate on code writing. The rate for the service is $85 per hour, and I can accept payments via paypal.

Credentials and Testimonials

I think most people here know some of the things I spend my time on, but if you need some examples, take a look at Cocoa Dev Central. All of the "Featured Tutorials" (other than the Screen Saver series) were written by me. All of the articles listed under "Theocacao" are mine, too.

Here are reactions from some people that I've taught:

"Cocoa is designed with an eye towards developer productivity, but often times being productive with Cocoa means adopting a 'mindset' of how things should work that may not be obvious at first. Scott's extensive experience with Cocoa, coupled with his innate mentoring skills helped me get up to speed with Cocoa bindings much more quickly and painlessly then using the available documents/examples alone."

- John Fox, creator of MemoryMiner

"Scott Stevenson's in-depth knowledge of Cocoa and his clear, easy to understand instructions, and tutorials were instrumental in getting me up and running with Objective-C and Cocoa Bindings in a very short time. Scott was very responsive, and always willing to help. Scott creates clean, well-commented code, and his experience with Cocoa conventions meant that the code samples not only taught how to get something done, but the best way to do it."

- Noah Lieberman, creator of LogTen

"Scott provided not only solutions to my issues, but took the time to explain the logic behind the solutions. This enhanced my knowledge of the subject matter and allowed me to apply that process to other code enhancements."

- Michael Carter

"Scott has an exceptional talent for taking complex topics and condensing them down in manageable pieces. He has a very direct, accessible teaching style that makes learning an absolute pleasure. I highly recommend his service."

- Stephen Johnson

There will be more information shortly about the site and such, but the service itself is ready to go. Based on past experiences, I believe my schedule will fill up fairly quickly. Contact me soon if you're interested.
Design Element
Cocoa Help: Mentoring and Immediate Answers
Posted Jun 8, 2006 — 20 comments below


Dave Parizek — Jun 08, 06 1354

I think this is an outstanding idea / service. I would love to go to Big Nerd Ranch to get some more formal instruction, but cannot swing the week away and the $4K. This is a way to get some help without committing quite as much cash/time.

Andrew Knott — Jun 09, 06 1357

Awesome idea Scott... You've already been a huge help to the whole community and I'm pretty sure you'd be an even greater help for one on one stuff. Nice one.

Peter Dominic Ryan — Jun 09, 06 1358

I wish you the best of luck Scott ... it sounds like a nice pleasant way to make a living. My cocoa knowledge is so non existent I would bankrupt a small European city state just to get up to speed! ;)


Andy Hegedus — Jun 09, 06 1359

Another idea: How about a web based class limited to say 5 students with a fixed syllabus. It would be interactive similar to Webex (but actually usuable). I am somewhat new to programing having read what is out there and done some (mostly within Igor Pro a math parckage) and would like such a class and would be willining to pay $25-$35/hr. I could get in at a lower price, but you could earn a higher rate.

Jeff — Jun 09, 06 1360

I think the web-based class is a good idea also. Drops the cost for students but multiplies your $ Scott.

John C. Randolph — Jun 09, 06 1361


Best of luck with your new venture. Your rate seems rather low, FWIW... The last time I was doing the road-warrior thing, I was charging $125/hr, and I've got two consultants working for me now for rather more than that.

Just a suggestion, but if I were you I'd bump that rate up to at least $100.


Brandon — Jun 09, 06 1364

I'd sign up for a web based class if you offered one. Something like Big Nerd Ranch, but cheaper because it would be over the internet.

Scott Stevenson — Jun 09, 06 1365 Scotty the Leopard

Just a suggestion, but if I were you I'd bump that rate up to at least $100.

It wasn't a number I came to easily. There's an argument that says you should charge what people are willing to pay, and that pricing it too low makes it seem less useful.

In the end, I decided I didn't want to price it out of the range of smart people with limited budgets (such as students), so I chose what I think I can reasonably ask and still make it worthwhile.

I might decide to change it later depending on how things go, but I usually keep the same rate for a person as long as they work with me. I guess that's a reason to sign up sooner rather than later.

Brandon — Jun 09, 06 1366

i could hire someone to write the code for me for $85 an hour. i think the idea is good but the price is a little steep.

Andre Torrez — Jun 09, 06 1367

You're right Brandon, at the end of the day you'd have your code, but learning how to do it means you can do it again. I think the $85 is a deal for the knowledge, not just the code.

John C. Fox — Jun 10, 06 1369

I'll second Andre's comment. $85 is a bargain for the reusuable expertise you gain, and I'm speaking directly from experience here.

I've always found having a mentor for new stuff is worth the price. The essence of being a Cocoa developer is being able to focus as much of your attention as possible on the parts of your app that are really unique.

As modern Mac developers, we have incredible advantages:

* Tons of high quality (and widely used) third party code
* Fantastic commuity support lists such as Cocoa-Dev
* Several great books

and now...

* A source for high-quality on-demand mentoring which lets you pull it all together

There's simply never been a better time to be an indie developer.

Anonymous — Jun 10, 06 1370

So, if $85/hr is low for *teaching* Cocoa, what are people charging for *coding* Cocoa?

Bob — Jun 10, 06 1371

Wow, sounds just what I needed when I was writing a Cocoa app. The Cocoa API turned out to be too big and complicated for me to learn by myself in my limited time, so I gave up and I'm spending my weekends working on a Java+Javascript web app, which I'm quite experienced in writing. But some help like this might have allowed me to finish. And $85/hr seems quite reasonable.

Ken — Jun 11, 06 1372

Yea, $85 sounds reasonable. Its good because I think its important to foster OS X development, especially potential indie devs...

Abhi Beckert — Jun 11, 06 1373

Very interesting, I have a really cool project that basically died a year ago because I got stuck on a required feature, maybe now I can pick it up again once I find some spare time.

I assume there's a minimum fee of one hour?

PS: Thank you for not charging $100/hour, not all of us have a well paying job. $85 is already difficult for me to justify, but it's within reach.

Ted — Jun 13, 06 1374

Sounds like a good deal. Since I'm just now wading in to the Cocoa pool, I may be knocking at your door sometime in the future.

On another note, who is going to WWDC this year? I'll be attending my first, courtesy of the Apple Scholarship program.

JB — Jun 16, 06 1375

This is an excellent and wonderful idea, Scott! I'd be very interested in making use of this offer in the future. Very.

To me, the difference between $85 and $100 is significant. I appreciate your reasonable pricing. What would be your minimum charge, you think?

kamelito — Jun 17, 06 1376


Are you planning a new book, describing Tiger and then, Leopard ?


Pozycjonowanie — Jan 27, 07 3425

I wish you the best of luck Scott ... it sounds like a nice pleasant way to make a living.

keep up the good work. Greetings

gry — Apr 18, 07 3938

Thanks for help, Keep up the good work. Greetings from Poland


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