Finding mobile app developers who are a fit for your business in a sea of options might be a challenge. In this article, you will learn what you should do before starting to search for a developer and where you can find the best developers for your needs.
It seems like every business has a mobile app these days. Restaurants have apps through which mobile users can order food in a flash. You can make an appointment with a doctor or a hairdresser through an app without the need to phone them. Need to call a cab? Many taxi companies have their own apps through which you can order a cab in one click. You can also get an app from a hypermarket and go shopping while sitting on the couch - the groceries will be delivered right to your home.
The average smartphone owner uses 10 apps per day and around 30 each month, with 21% of Millennials opening apps 50+ times per day. No wonder - with a mobile app, customers can quickly find all the information they need at any moment and buy a product or service straight away, whenever they want. To take advantage of this massive audience, companies worldwide are creating mobile apps for their businesses, so more than 100,000 new Android apps and more than 30,000 new iOS appears every month in their respective stores. With such a massive amount of rivals, you not only need an excellent idea for your app, but you also need an exceptional development team who will turn your design into a reality.
According to Evans Data Corporation, there were 26.4 million software developers globally in 2019, and the number is expected to grow to 27.7 million in 2023. On the one hand, this means you can handpick your ideal team of developers and software houses from all over the world, depending on which will suit your business and app idea best. On the other hand, finding exceptional developers among all those people might feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are so many of them that, just by looking at their internet profiles and portfolios, it might be tough to choose the right one for your business, especially if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and skills. Pick the wrong team for your needs and you might end up with an unfinished or functioning app that costs you way too much time, effort, and nerves.
But just how are you supposed to find the best app developers - those that have a broad knowledge when it comes to app development processes, are familiar with the newest technologies, and can guarantee you will get a finished product by a given deadline?
We’re here to help - in this article you’ll learn what you should prepare before going to search for the best mobile app developers, and we’ll mention a few places where you can start your search.
Start by defining your business needs
Technically you could start looking for new developers to hire right away, but with the massive amount of choices you might quickly get lost and confused. That’s why the most important thing before reaching out to potential developers of your new app is to research your own needs first, and decide who exactly you are looking for. This way you won’t waste time on tons of interviews that won’t get you any closer to finding the perfect developer. To get you started, here are five questions you should answer.
1. Why are you looking to hire a new developer?
The first question to ask yourself is why you are looking for a new developer, as this will give you an idea about which direction you should go. Do you want to build an app from scratch but you don’t have a development team? For this, you would either need to build a team of in-house specialists or hire a software house that already has an experienced team to build your app. Or maybe you already have an in-house team but it’s too small or not skilled enough to make your app, and so you need to hire an additional specialist? Or maybe you want to use the newest tools or technology in your app but your team is unfamiliar with them? Then, to fill the gap, you will need only one or two new hires, especially if you only need them for the short term.
The clearer you are about your plans for new hires, the easier it will be to find the ones who suit your business the most and build an app the way you want it.
2. What features do you need in your app?
Before starting the hunt for exceptional mobile app developers, the second thing you need is to specify your needs and expectations for the design. This includes what your app is supposed to do, what features you want it to have, and how fast you want it to be built. Suppose your idea is for a simple alarm app. In that case, you would need far fewer people than if you wanted to create a multi-feature travel app with booking services, social media sharing, geolocation, and a hotel or flight rating and review section.
Plus, building a complicated app might require looking for people who have expertise in a given area or are familiar with specific tools.
3. What specific skills and abilities do you need?
Following on from the previous point, you will need developers will a specific skill set for the app features and requirements you defined. For example, if you plan to build both native Android and iOS apps, you will need to look for developers who can program in each platform’s primary programming language (Kotlin or Java for Android and Swift for iOS) plus be familiar with various programming tools in each system (like Android Studio and Android SDK for Android apps or Xcode for iOS). But if you plan to build a cross-platform application, you need developers who are familiar building with cross-platform tools such as Xamarin or React.
If you plan to use the latest technology in your apps, such as Augmented Reality or Artificial Intelligence, looking for developers who have already created such apps is your best bet.
4. In what city or country will you look for your new developers?
If you are considering hiring only people who can work from your office, then your options are limited to developers who live in the same city as or nearby to your company, or people who are willing to move. That means it will also be much harder to find someone with the exact skill set needed to build your app.
With software houses or freelancing, your options are much broader as you can work with app developers from other cities or even continents. On the one hand, this gives you an incredible pool of development talents for you to pick from. But on the other, creating a freelancing team consisting of people from several countries might end in a development disaster. It will be hard for you to communicate with and control people living hundreds of kilometers away and in different time zones from you and each other.
To prevent those problems from happening, you should first research and compare different countries based on your needs, expectations, and available budget. You might also be tempted to pick the cheapest team available, but then you run the risk of getting a low-quality product and having to pay much more money later on improvements.
The most popular countries for outsourcing (based on costs, language, and IT skills) according to Codeinvip are India, China, Brazil, and for Eastern Europe, Poland, and Ukraine. Keep in mind when comparing locations that the hourly rates may vary significantly, as they rely not only on how complex the app will be and how experienced the developer is, but also on the costs of living.
5. How will you examine the developers’ experience?
Before you start making a list of potential candidates for hiring and reaching out to app developers or software houses that caught your eye, it would be best to spend some time researching their experience and skills to make sure they are a good fit for your business and thus as good as guarantee a high-quality final product. You should also know what questions to ask companies when reaching out to them. Here are some of the things you should carefully check when researching your future mobile app developers:
• Development team/software house portfolios
• Their developers’ skills and capabilities
• List of current and former and clients, their case studies and testimonials.
• What their preferred cooperation model is
• What tools and methodologies the developers use in their work
• How they can guarantee security and quality of the app
• What form of communication they prefer
Detailed research on each of the development teams’/software houses’ experience will help you avoid possible problems during app creation (such as not meeting deadlines) and guarantee you will get a product that works exactly as you imagined it. This is especially important if you need someone familiar with making a product for a given niche. The best idea here would be to look for developers or software houses that have already created something similar to what you want.
Should I hire an in-house developer, software house, or maybe a freelancer?
Now comes the trickiest dilemma you will have to face - whether you want to hire someone who will work in your office, or if you would rather outsource your app development to an outside team or individual. All three options have their advantages and disadvantages - an in-house team will give you the biggest control over the project, but it’s the most time and money consuming. Freelancers are the cheapest and easiest to hire but often can’t provide high quality due to a lack of skills and experience. Software houses, meanwhile, are the most cost-effective option, but as they are not familiar with your company or your product you will need to give them detailed requirements of the end product, plus your flexibility might be limited. What more should you know about each option? Here are the pros and cons of each:
1. In-house team
An in-house team is a group of developers that will work with you in the same building. To find developers for your team you need job advertisements for full-time developers, and during the hiring process you will pick the candidates that best meet your expectations or needs (when it comes to skills and expertise). For long-term or complicated projects, or when you plan to build more apps in the future, an in-house team might be just what you need. What more should you know about this option?
• Full understanding of your company values, mission, and expectations
• Complete dedication to your project, which means you will get the final product faster
• Full control over the product
• Improved communication between team members, as they see each other daily and work together
• You can handpick developers that will fit your team best
• Heavily restricted options when it comes to hiring
• The hiring process can be long and tedious
• Very high costs
• Staff turnover
• Need for business processes to guarantee efficient work
2. Outsourcing to a software house
Another option you have is to ask an outside company specialized in creating mobile apps to build one for you. In the past, this option was seen as risky and expensive, so companies were skeptical about hiring software houses for their idea. Now, outsourcing projects to software houses might be a good move for companies who want to build high-quality apps but don’t have the time or money for building an in-house team. Another considerable advantage of software houses is that they have skilled developers from various areas, so finding the specialists you need will take much less time. But outsourcing an app also comes with some risks, so here are the pros and cons:
• You can hire companies from all over the world
• An experienced and skilled team meeting your needs virtually guarantees a high-quality product • Flexibility and scalability
• Cost-effective, as you only pay for the amount of work done
• Hiring a software house is much faster than building an in-house team
• You have limited control over the project
• You need to discuss every part of the app to avoid a situation when the finished product won’t be what you expected.
• Frequent communication with the software house might be troublesome (especially if they work in a different timezone than you)
• Takes longer to develop an app
• Security risks
Hiring a freelance developer for your app is one of the most tempting options, as it is often the cheapest (you don’t have to worry about training, providing equipment, or work benefits) since their hourly rates are lower than those of a software house. For short-term projects, a freelancer might be just what you need. However, there are also many risks associated with hiring a freelancer - take a look at the advantages and disadvantages below:
• Cheaper than software-houses or hiring someone in-house
• Easiest to find and hire
• A massive pool of talents from all over the world
• Very flexible
• You risk getting a low-quality product
• Freelancers require constant monitoring of their work and it’s quality
• They have no knowledge about your brand or product, so you need to spend time explaining your vision to them
• Controlling multiple freelancers might be troublesome.
Which option should you pick? It depends on the complexity of your app (a simple app that won’t require much maintenance can be handed to freelancers, but the more complex the app the higher the risk of it not working how you imagine or requiring constant updates), your budget (an in-house team is significantly more expensive than software houses or freelancers), the length of your project (freelancers are a good option for short-time projects), and whether you plan to build other apps in the future.
Where can I find a developer or a software house?
Now that your goals and expectations are defined and you know who your ideal candidate is, it’s finally the time to go and look for your future hire. But where? You have tons of options here - you can use your connections, look for industry recommendations, or search for developers or software agencies on Google. There are also several platforms where companies can find the best developers for their app, with the most popular among B2B companies being:
→ Google for Jobs
Another good place to look for new developers is by looking at technical blogs such as TechCrunch or Wired, or online communities for designers and developers such as Dribbble or Behance. If you find someone who catches your eye, you can reach out and get to know them more.
If you decide to hire an agency, a good place to start is looking through B2B directories like Clutch.co, B2B Marketing, and Relevance. If you look for local companies, you can easily find them on Linkedin or by simply using google search. Whichever option you pick, remember to carefully screen all candidates - a good idea would be to reach out to companies the developers were working with earlier, or research the apps they’ve worked on in the past.
Finding an exceptional mobile app developer out of the sea of all possible choices might seem daunting. But if you have a clear idea of what you want your app to be and you’ve done your research, looking for the best mobile app developers to turn your ideas into reality will be much quicker and easier.