Hiring a mobile app developer is a huge decision. If you’re a business owner and you’re at the point where you’re ready to hire, but you’re not necessarily sure what goes into the process, it can be overwhelming. Developing an app is a costly investment, and you want the right team working on it. So, whether you’re looking for an agency or an individual, what should you keep in mind when hiring a developer? What are the specific skills to look for?
Programming Knowledge Language
First and foremost, when it comes to the technical skills your app developer should have, a knowledge of modern programming languages is at the top of the list. In addition to certain languages, a good developer will have a working knowledge of front-end development as well.
So what languages, in particular, are relevant?
Python is one language, and rather than Python 2, it may be valuable to look for someone with Python 3 knowledge because according to bloggers like Jeff Rouse, the future is Python 3. Rouse writes, “The direction is very positive, and the tide is turning in Python 3’s favor.”
Beyond Python, other languages that may be relevant when hiring an app developer include PHP, Java, C#, and HTML5.
There are certain niche languages you might want to look for, too, such as the Xcode development language from Apple.
Know What You Need
It may sound obvious, but a lot of businesses go into hiring a mobile app developer before they really know what they need in their app or the person who’s going to be designing it. For example, there are different phases of app development that include the back-end coding and then the front-end design process. You may want a developer who can do both, and beyond that, do you know the programming languages that are going to be most relevant to your project? Even though a developer may be proficient in several languages, which do they work with most often?
Other things you’ll need to think about as you define the scope of your project include the platform you want to target, any AP integrations that will be included, your target audience and your project timeline.
How complex will your project be, and are you at a point yet where you can outline what the deliverables will be?
Cross-Platform Knowledge and Experience
When you’re interviewing mobile app developers or development firms, they should have knowledge of multiple operating platforms. These three main systems are iOS, Android, and Windows. You want someone who is versatile and can build across platforms seamlessly.
Think About Your Business and Industry
A great app developer may have the ideal portfolio, but do they have experience building for businesses like yours or in your industry? What’s important with an app developer isn’t just the technical skills, but their ability to provide you with creative input. If they have no knowledge of what your business does, it’s going to be tough to do this.
When you’re assessing a candidate’s portfolio, it can give you a better idea as to whether or not they have experience in your industry. That experience can provide the valuable insight you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Even more, than experience, if you can find someone who has a true interest or passion for developing apps within your industry, even better. Someone who shows excitement for the work they do can be an invaluable part of your app development process.
Do They Need to Have a Computer Science Degree?
A big question you may have when hiring a developer is whether or not a computer science degree is a necessity. This can depend on your organizational requirements, but in general, maybe not. With something like app development, having a working knowledge of the technical elements of programming and robust experience can more than makeup for not having a degree.
Of course, if someone has great academic credentials paired with experience and they’re in your budget, then give them consideration. Just know that a degree isn’t necessarily a make or break when it comes to a great app developer.
Finally, along with the technical skills, it’s also important to think about soft skills and in particular things like communication skills. As you’re talking to potential developers, are they explaining things in a way that’s easy for you to understand? Can you see yourself being able to work with them smoothly? How much involvement would they expect from you, and does that seem in-line with your own expectations for how the project will go?