@cbrandalise Thanks very much for your question!
You’ve asked a very important question that many developers face, so you’re not alone
First off, congratulations on being a full stack web developer! You deserve credit for being established in your field already. This is not easy for many. If you can achieve success in one field, it certainly is possible for you to achieve it again!
The fact that you’re trying to go into iOS development should not be viewed by you as something “different”. Rather, look at it as something that is supplementing your already well established skills. There is tremendous overlap with iOS development and web development. iOS developers work with REST API’s on a constant basis, and knowledge of web development will be a huge benefit in terms of designing UI’s for the iPhone/iPad screens, as well as the architecture of apps.
Native iOS development is here to stay. In fact, I would argue that secondary technologies like hybrid app development, progressive web apps, and react native are nowhere near as established as native development. Yes, there is much hype about these technologies, and yes, there are some benefits to using them. However, remember that never will a technology made by a third party overtake, nor replace the technology made by the maker of the device itself. In this case, Apple. Apple’s software tools are designed with full knowledge of the hardware capabilities of their hardware which no other company has (including the government!) so it’s simply not possible for the tools of another company to provide more features, and provide better exploitation of the capabilities of iOS devices, than Apple.
On a personal level, I will say this to you:
You have the most important quality to succeed as an iOS developer that many IT professionals lack: PASSION!
You said so yourself that you really enjoy iOS development, and enjoy OO programming. The fact that you love the technology, and are not intimidated by it shows that you have the desire, and will to succeed in spite of the obstacles. With that desire, you will very likely succeed. Remember that.
To address the issue of switching stacks, this is where things can get tricky. What I would recommend is NOT quit your current role as a web developer, and try to build your skills as an iOS developer in the mean time, and then try to leverage yourself within your company, if possible. What I mean by that is, if your company is currently doing app development, see if you can gradually take on tasks or assignments from your mobile team to apply your iOS dev skills. In addition, I think it is imperative that as an iOS developer, that you should get an app of your OWN into the app store. This way, you can proudly say that you’ve built something from the ground up, and is available to the public. This will have a huge psychological impact on you, in a positive way, because you can confidently, and correctly identify yourself as an iOS developer, and point to an app that YOU built, and is available from the app store. Make sure it’s something that shows effort, and insight, but not out of reach.
The other thing to consider is that in our industry of IT, it is a given fact that you are constantly learning, and developing new skills. So don’t feel you are “restarting” your career. I would argue that you are taking a step, “diagonally up”. This ability of yours to identify an area of interest, and then pursue the time, and energy to learn and build something is something employers are constantly looking for. They want to hire people who can identify technologies, and not be afraid to “get their hands dirty”.
Finally, simply do a job search in iOS development and see how many positions are seeking native iOS dev skills vs third party dev skills, and you’ll see that there is simply no comparison. There is also a disproportionately higher number of learning resources available for native iOS development vs any other kind so this should also give you an indication as to where the future lies.
Everything that you identified as a potential negative, in fact is a positive. Be optimistic, be positive, role up your sleeves, and keep moving forward!
I hope this helps!
All the best!