Business | 36 min read
Crucial Requirements for Hiring the Best App Developers
A great and skilled developer is like a sacred grail for any company. Finding a reliable specialist in order to create a successful product is certainly hard. When recruiters nail it they feel like heroes, dragon slayers, kings and queens of the realm.
Demand breeds supply, therefore, people and companies that develop websites, landing pages, online stores or mobile applications are represented quite widely on the market. Some of them offer high quality, reasonable terms, and prices, while others offer fast and inexpensive development.
According to the International Trade Center, Ukraine is among the top 25 largest exporters of intellectual products in the world. Today, the Ukrainian IT market is growing by 18% yearly.
However, what kind of specialist should be preferred? How to determine the professionalism of the developer and who to choose? Sometimes it’s difficult to make a choice. We have collected significant requirements that will help you to hire the best app developers.
What to start with?
First of all, we need to understand what we want from the developers, what are our goals, if we are expanding the project or starting from scratch, what technologies will be used for the development, and what we want to get as a result.
A professional developer will definitely ask you to cover these issues before proposing any project options. It is also important to understand who are the potential users of the future product. A detailed portrait of your client will help make the development of the app more effective. Only after receiving answers to the matters mentioned above, you can start choosing the performer.
In the field of IT services the market has a huge range of contractors of various levels and nature: from beginner freelancers to large companies with excellent expertise.
Conventionally, it is possible to divide the performers into several types: freelancers, an in-house team, an outsourcing team, outstaffing developers. Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered separately.
Freelance Developers: Pros & Cons
If we talk about freelancers, there is within this segment an unthinkable range of prices and quality which often makes it difficult to choose the right performer. A large number of candidates might baffle you multiplied by the number of platforms for freelancers.
Let’s define the advantages and disadvantages of working with a freelancer and what to expect in the end result.
Pros of hiring freelancers:
As a rule, working with a freelancer is cheaper than with an agency.
Most often businesses work with freelancers to save budget;
Freelancer is a direct performer. In some cases, direct contact with the performer improves the quality and efficiency of problem-solving;
It is convenient to solve one-time tasks with the help of freelancers where it is not profitable to hire a full-time employee;
A freelancer is usually flexible in terms of adjustment to the needs of a client;
A freelancer can complete an emergency order faster than an agency. But not every freelancer.
Cons of hiring freelancers:
Higher risks of failure to meet deadlines.
For example, in case a freelancer gets sick, then there will be no one to replace them (if they work alone);
It is extremely difficult to distinguish a specialist from a non-specialist, in particular if you do not understand the field where you order services.
It will take some time to find an experienced freelancer;
It is difficult to control the process of development work as most freelancers work remotely and aren’t a part of your development team;
There is a risk of fraud at the hands of a freelancer (especially when you find them on the new and unchecked freelance platforms);
When working with freelancers from other countries you can’t be sure about protecting the confidential information, even after signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA);
It might be difficult to attract a freelancer to a long-term multi-stage project since there is a risk that a freelancer may leave it at any time or increase the price of their services.
In-house Developers: Pros & Cons
Usually, large organizations open their own development department, for which the disadvantages incidental to costs do not exceed the advantages of controlling the situation. If a large offline business wants to go online and is ready for long-run investments in a site or app development, this choice will ultimately become optimal.
Pros of in-house development:
Long-term cooperation with employees.
This is very important when working with big clients and long contracts. It’s vital for the client to understand that the person responsible for the project on the side of the agency feels the brand and understands the long-term goals of the company; that means they see a holistic picture of development;
Quality control and deadlines.
The product owner and managers can predetermine the possible issues with the product at the beginning of the development process, notice possible overlays in the timing ahead of the game and will be able to strengthen the team;
Long term planning.
An in-house team makes the proven squad that you can rely on during the following years.
Cons of in-house development:
It’s necessary to form a team and manage it.
You have to teach everyone to understand the software development process.
It’s difficult to create a high-quality software product if you haven't had this experience before.
You need to advance your expertise;
Comparing with an outsourcing development company it’s much more expensive to have your own product development team.
Outsourcing Developers: Pros & Cons
Outsourcing has become commonplace in many niches. It should be noted that outsourcing will cost more in comparison with freelancers, but it will save time. If you compare it with the in-house development, then choosing an outsourcing company will cost less but still with a high level of dedication and involvement.
Pros of outsourcing development:
Less time is spent on project control.
Attracting an outsourcing company allows you to most likely get the expected result within a required schedule. Outsourcing companies are often self-organized and dedicated to their projects, and even more so there is always a project manager on their part who monitors the process and regulates it;
The work with an outsourcing team provides a possibility for your in-house team to be more productive.
Sometimes full-time in-house specialists are not able to cope with all the number of tasks on the project, then the best option would be to outsource the product development and let your team concentrate on the most important aspects of the project;
Outsourcing companies have established processes for application development, so this provides a higher speed of work;
You will get a high-quality briefing.
The team on the side of the partner company will help to draw up the correct technical specifications and set priorities;
Efficient communication is a priority.
Usually, in outsourcing companies, all communications are kept by managers, which makes it possible to systematize the process;
You can be confident about the financial and legal security and non-disclosure of information.
Safety takes part in every project. If we consider the option of cooperation with freelancers next to outsourcing, it is worth noting. Outsourcing normally provides reliability and data security. Undoubtedly, this is critical for you;
The attraction of competent specialists is required for outsourcing companies.
Therefore, they cope with the solution of highly specialized tasks like no one else;
When working with an outsourcing company you will exclude disputes and disagreements with developers.
If a specialist is dissatisfied with something, he can only make complaints to his employer. The client pays the company for the work and does not get engaged in personnel management.
Cons of outsourcing development:
Time for immersion in a niche.
It will be necessary to allocate time for an outsourcing team to immerse in the client’s business;
Higher expenses on the development.
The services of an outsourcing company are more expensive than the work done by freelancers, but the guarantees are significantly higher.
Outstaffing development: Pros & Cons
The outstaffing model offers to hire a specific team or a single developer that are provided by the third party. This type of working model is becoming increasingly popular around the globe and is suitable for those business owners who work dynamically and need various resources at different periods of their activity.
Pros of outstaffing development:
First of all, outstaffing reduces money for searching (recruiting), hiring and retaining an employee;
You can surely have a quick response to the needs of your project.
You can define the number of developers required for the project. Not a problem if there is a need to coordinate the size of the team on the project, or the number of tasks assigned to the developer. You can independently select the number of developers for your project and form a team you need;
You can rely on the outstaffing about quality and deadlines.
As practice shows, when applying the outstaffing model, the quality of the code is high, and projects in most cases are completed before the deadline;
Outstaffing team selection will take only a few days while finding a candidate for your team requires a lot of searches and interviews;
You get a high level of responsibility and qualifications: goal settings, quality control of their implementation.
Cons of outstaffing development:
The level of control and management of the team is a bit lower if compared to the in-house employees;
There might be a risk of getting the developers a level lower than the client requests.
The outstaffing companies sell them for the price of the middle or senior developer in order to earn more.
How much does it cost to hire an app developer?
One of the most important criteria for choosing a performer is the cost of mobile application development. It takes a very large part of the budget. The cost may include the work of various specialists and will depend on the time they spend. Also, the cost of development can vary significantly depending on the location of the contractor and their experience.
As it can be seen on the map, the development price range is quite large even within one region, but still, we strongly recommend not to choose a performer resting upon the low price. Always pay attention to the experience of the contractor, check the projects in his portfolio whether they specialize in the spheres needed for your business.
If the developer has good experience in implementing projects for a specific industry, the cooperation process will be much easier and more efficient. The cost of your future application will directly depend on the amount of work the team is doing.
Cost of application development in different countries
Usually, the cost implies an hour of work of a specialist that is professionally engaged in the development of an application and has proven experience in this area. The actual price of the app development depends on the schedule, the amount of work and the platform the app supports.
Let's look at approximate price tags in different parts of the globe:
In Lithuania, specialists work in the price range of $41-50 per hour or more.
In Ukraine, where there are also many app development specialists, you will pay $35-60 per hour.
India can boast with thousands of outsourcing companies.
A lot of them are struggling with competitors by dumping the costs and provide an hour of work up to $25.
American developers get $50-150 per hour on average.
Most likely, you will have to pay from a couple of thousand dollars to dozens of thousands for a particularly sophisticated application.
In Europe, high-quality IT services will cost about $40-100 per hour.
British studios charge $65-130 per hour.
Local or overseas developers?
Both cases have their strengths and weaknesses. One of the main factors is economical. If you live in the US, the development cost of the local specialist will be much higher than the overseas developers’ service, especially those located on the other side of the planet from you.
You always need to remember the difference in the time zones. But it’s even better to work with a time difference sometimes — you don’t need to fool around with momentary working moments.
All planned work comes completed for you in the morning. It is worth exploring in detail the market of foreign developers to find a perfect performer.
Where to find performers?
Freelance websites are special web services for finding remote employees or performers for a specific project or task.
TopTal is a freelance platform for web developers, designers, and financial experts. The platform is positioned as a closed community. The hourly rate of the developers on the platform makes $50-60. The platform is distinguished by interesting long-term projects, customers and responsible performers.
Upwork is the world's largest platform for cooperation between employers and freelancers. Millions of job offers and CVs are posted annually at Upwork. Contractors receive payment once a week, and the platform takes from 5% to 20% of this sum. Upwork allows customers to create online development teams. The company also offers Upwork Team App software, which allows customers to see the freelancer’s work process during their work hours.
On this platform, you can post a description of your project or task and get a series of proposals from freelancers. To decide which freelancer to entrust your work with, you may not only compare their prices and terms but also look through the profiles of candidates on the site. The profile, as a rule, has a summary, a freelancer rating on the market (provided by customers), a history of work performed, reviews, portfolio, and technology stack.
Many sites offer tools for communicating with freelancers, planning work schedules and performance control, and can also act as a guarantor in your transaction. You pay for the work not to the contractor, but to the site, which guarantees for a certain percentage that the freelancer will fulfill his obligations on time and will not disappear with your money.
B2B is a business model the purpose of which is not to work for individual customers, but for other businesses. Both companies involved in the transaction make a profit. B2B catalogs are the lists of such companies, classified and grouped by their location, specialization, and ratings. For example, you can find a contractor on the independent platform known as Clutch that performs in-depth reviews of IT companies and agencies.
Professional social networks unite people with common professional interests. They are used to search for work (including the basis of recommendations), establish new business contacts, gain new knowledge in the professional field, etc. There is a list of the most popular business social networks.
LinkedIn is a social network for a professional presence on the Internet, which helps with finding the right people, sharing information, ideas, and opportunities to keep abreast of events and the professional life of contacts. On their Linkedin profiles, users often indicate their skills and work experience in different companies. Other users (colleagues or employers) can also evaluate their skills. Also, there you can find plenty of communities and interesting groups.
Dribbble is a platform that brings together graphic and web designers, illustrators, and 3D visualizers. On this platform, the authors post their work, evaluate and comment on the projects of the other community members. Here you can post a job and find a contractor, or write to a designer you like.
With Behance, millions of designers, illustrators, and photographers showcase their work, share experiences, receive rave reviews, and comment on peers. Works cannot be evaluated in a negative way. You can either support the author by clicking “Appreciate this”, or leave their work unattended. You can post a job and find a contractor there, or write to a designer you like in direct messages.
GitHub is a project and code version management system, as well as a social networking platform designed for developers. GitHub allows you to work together with other people around the world, plan your projects and track your work. The site has a section for posting vacancies.
After researching the job market of developers, make a list of companies or candidates for cooperation. Look for reviews of potential performers who specialize in application development and design.
Comments on cooperation should be studied not only on the developers’ website but also on other resources. No one will post negative reviews on their own website.
You can also contact previous clients represented in the portfolio and ask them about cooperation with the contractor about:
How the consultations went?
Whether the deadlines indicated in the contract were respected?
How quickly the changes and improvements were made?
How do they evaluate the effectiveness of the app?
After the information is received, you can discard the candidates that you did not like for some reason.
Make a short plan with details that may shed light on your project and give an approximate understanding before a conclusion of a treaty and signing the NDA.
Contact each of the potential performers and tell them about the project details, best practices, what you want and who you need, timing and budget. Demand the answers to all your questions.
A check-list of the questions you need to find answers for:
Does the developer really want to work with you?
Specialists who have expert judgment ask deep questions, try to plunge into the essence of the task, the intricacies of the business process and correctly formulate important and complex parts of the application’s functionality at the input.
How honest are they with you?
It is normal when people want to earn money. But it is critically bad when the desire to earn money becomes the first and only goal. If you feel that the conversation is constantly going about money, most likely they are only interested in salary.
Is it possible to build effective communication with this performer?
Do not be afraid at the start to discuss the schedule and format of communication between you and the performer. It’s normal practice to coordinate daily morning meetings or to monitor the progress of work by mail, Skype or other messengers.
Is the performer’s approach to developing clear and is it possible to control the process?
A developer who knows what they will do with your application will describe to you each stage of development. Moreover, they have to ask you to participate and keep up to date with the progress. A dedicated expert normally insists on your assessment of the intermediate result and your full involvement in the process at each stage of application creation.
What should the person or team that works with you be like?
Ask general questions about it. This will help to learn more about soft skills and relieve some tension.
Do you see any involvement into your business?
A professional company will do everything to know more about your business and will do it in a relatively short time. A good result can be achieved only with complete diving into the business processes.
Are they ready to stay on your budget?
If your development budget is strictly limited, a loyal developer will still look for an opportunity to offer you a better approach to development without spending even an extra penny at the start. It will help determine the minimum list of necessary functionality with which you can enter the market.
Do they have rational suggestions?
This is a reason to be on the alert if the developers accept all your offers. This means the absence of their own ideas regarding the technologies used, so do not be surprised if you later find yourself to blame for a product that does not work as you expected.
Do they offer innovative solutions?
To correctly evaluate this criterion, you yourself need to be aware of technological innovations.
Are they ready to step back from one-size-fits-all solutions?
It is always easier, during the development process, to follow a pattern than to do something individually. A professional developer will insist on a custom solution, and not because they want to complicate things and inflate your budget, but because each project is specific, and this should be taken into account during development.
What about security?
This is especially important if you want to create an e-commerce application or any other solution that involves the introduction of payment systems. This means increased security requirements. Therefore, find out in advance how they are going to implement them.
Is it possible to get the whole range of services in one place?
This is much more profitable and effective if your application will be created in one place by one company, starting from the evaluation of the idea and ending with the release to the market.
Is it possible to turn to them with a mere idea?
The first thing that an experienced developer company will do is evaluate the viability of the idea, analyze the market and competitors, and help you come up with unique features of your product that will allow it to be different from the rest.
Do they have development experience in the field to which your application belongs?
This is a definite plus in favor of the company since practical experience in this area will help to develop a truly better concept and functionality for your application. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask about already implemented solutions and ask to familiarize yourself with the cases.
What guarantees does the contractor give?
Right during the first or second interview, ask for a contract template and carefully read each letter.
What about the price?
This criterion is quite controversial. In the IT services market, you can only find the approximate market price for application development. Therefore, do not be surprised if you hear one price in the first company, the employees of the second company will voice several-fold larger price, and third will refuse to talk about the price without having worked at least at the first stages of the application.
All these seemingly short questions can help you make the final decision about who makes the best performer for you. Most likely, a good agency after these stages will be able to make an assessment of your project — costs, time and resources and will send you a proposal for cooperation if both parties are satisfied.
Having completed all these stages with several companies, you will have several offers on hand, with different variations and prices for services and terms. You will choose the best and optimal option. You have only to sign a contract.
The search itself may be more time-consuming than you expected, but it’s better not to rush to prevent mistakes. This can critically affect the life of your project. You can communicate with potential performers for several weeks and ask any questions to be sure of your choice.
To Sum Up
So, choosing a reliable contractor is part of the success of the project and your business. Summing up, we can highlight the main stages of the process while choosing a developer:
The first step will be a detailed study of a wide range of contractors of different levels and character: from beginner freelancers to big companies. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages, it’s worth stopping at one option of the contractor that suits you best.
You can start with the developers at the top of the search results. Comparing them, focusing on the quality of the portfolio, reviews, recommendations, the information in open sources and other factors, then choose several priority candidates.
Sending of requests
Having formed a list of interesting development companies or freelancers, you should leave applications on their websites or in direct messages on the relevant platforms and check the effectiveness of feedback.
The brief, which the companies send to the client, allows you to detail the tasks of the project.
Analysis of preliminary miscalculations, according to completed and elaborated briefs.
It allows you to reduce the number of companies to several priority ones.
The stage of intensive consultation, which precedes the decision on cooperation. During the conversations, you can discuss all the details of the project, evaluate the team's expertise and focus on business tasks, clarify the methodology and the interaction process.
Comparing all the data on the contractor, possibly test tasks, determine the optimal price-quality ratio and sign an agreement with the contractor you have chosen.
We tried to make this list as detailed as possible. If you are now wondering how to choose the right developer of a site or mobile application, be sure that these criteria will help you weed out unreliable candidates and make the best choice.
Full compliance with these criteria gives a guarantee that you will receive a truly high-quality and sought-after product.