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How to Find an App Developer

A well-designed app can lead users to your website, increase sales, and boost brand visibility. In 2020​, there were over 2.29 million apps in the Google Play store and 4.4 million apps on the Apple store. ​Statistics ​also show that more and more individuals are spending time on apps and on their mobile devices.

Given these numbers, it makes sense that you would want to make an app. After all, having an app gives your brand a competitive advantage. But, you need to find the right app developer so that your mobile app isn’t a dud. A poorly designed app can lead to high app dropoff rates and can be a waste of money. If you are working with an unqualified app developer, you might find yourself working with a lot of technical debt and with an app that doesn’t work.

Finding the right app developer is key to having a successful app and a steady long-term relationship with your developer. Read on to learn how you find the ​right app developer​.

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Search for an App Developer

Finding a high-quality, full-time app developer can be extremely challenging, especially if you have a small budget and can’t afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you are a start-up or can’t dedicate a full budget to hiring a developer, it would make sense to consider hiring either an independent contractor or a contract developer lab.

When starting this search, try to map out the deliverables you need from your developer before signing on with them. You don’t want to hire a developer only to find out they can do half of the jobs you need!

Along with job details, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • How complicated is your app idea, and can the idea be simplified?
  • How quickly do you need more complex features integrated into the app?
  • What is your time to start-up?
  • Do you want to build an Android app or an iPhone app, or both?
  • How much of the design/development have you mapped out yourself?

Other things to consider would involve the level of additional jobs needed. For example, most teams need a project manager, quality assurance engineers, and so on. If you hire a freelancer, you might be doing this work yourself or at least doing the work to find other freelancers who can assess the quality of your app. While this can be fine, you must also coordinate to find a freelancer who specializes in the app features or programming language that your developer is using.

Hiring a freelancer is usually more cost-effective, but you might incur a lot more technical debt than you think. This is primarily because freelancers are more willing than most dev labs to take on that debt. After all, they are only one person and are compromising a lot to take on the job. So while you are saving costs, you’ll still need to hire a project manager to help with oversight and implement project management best practices to reduce tech debt.

Usually, hiring a contract dev lab is your best bet because you get the most cost-per-work ratio. You may have to pay a little more because you are hiring a team, but the team will come with systems to reduce technical debt and improve app quality, therefore improving the quality of the product produced.

Things to Look for in an App Developer

You may be looking for any app developer to get started, but you should be considering the qualities of a good app developer so that you can avoid headaches down the road. In all seriousness, app development is a significant investment, and a lousy app developer can lose you a lot of money, waste your time, and cause stress.

By looking out for the following key qualities, you can find an app developer that you can trust and perhaps one that will support your app in the long-term:

  • They have finished projects to show
  • They provide app management as a service
  • They have experience in app development (rather than computer-based or web-based app development)
  • They work on legacy projects
  • They address technical debt online or in their project management capabilities
  • They have a scrum master, project manager, and cohesive delivery team
  • They address key issues associated with a project upfront
  • They have a discovery stage

While these qualities aren’t necessarily required in a good app developer, they help. Some freelance developers might have aspects of these qualities as part of their skillset, so be sure to ask the right questions when hiring your developer.

If you have a developer interested in it, try to use one of their apps to see if you like it. Test the app functionality, the speed, UI/UX, and the overall design.

Where to Find an App Developer

Where to find an app developer will depend on the route you’re willing to go. Freelancer websites are easier to spot than B2B sourcing. You can look on top-rated freelance sites Toptal, Hired, Guru, VWorker, and Upwork. Vetting the freelancer is on you, but luckily these websites allow for ratings and reviews to be posted, so you have a better idea of the individual’s past work.

If you are looking to partner with a developer, you can search tech blogs, creative communities, and university networks.

Other connections include your network, so referrals, and basic Google searches. You should consider putting your trust in B2B directories. These directories might be slightly more in terms of cost, but these companies go through quality assurance, so you know you aren’t getting a random coder off the street.

When you go with a ​software development agency​, you might also get UI designers, product managers, and technical product managers to oversee the project. So while there is a little more money involved, you also don’t need constant oversight as if you were managing a freelancer. The agency takes on a bit more responsibility, usually the cost, especially since they have experience handling these projects and can avoid certain pitfalls.

Starting with a New App Developer

If this is your first app, you’ll want to work closely with your new app developer to better understand the process. This is wise, especially if you’re going to build more apps in the future.

An experienced app developer, especially an app team, will work with you by creating the app, asking for feedback throughout the discovery stage, and providing updates once the code is being built. They will also walk you through testing and audience feedback.

Since building an app takes a lot of time and effort, you want to make sure you have the right team on your side. Hiring a ​team​ is usually the best bet when it comes to app building. This is because more individuals can be supporting the development of your app, and you don’t have to pay for their services individually.

With product and project management, technical management, tech debt reduction services, customer support, testing, and more, you will find that a team has a lot more insight than a freelancer. Consider onshore or nearshore outsourcing so that you don’t have to deal with cross-border transactions. Some teams also provide ​marketing services​ for when your app is live and business consulting for starting your own business!

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