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How to Hire a Mobile App Developer: All the Dos and a Few of the Dont's

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Anastasia Osypenko
Market Researcher

You’ve decided on your mobile application idea. You’re happy with it and can’t wait to get started. Don’t expect this process to go at lightning speed straight off the bat though. First of all, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the important task of hiring a mobile app developer who is a good fit for your project. You want it to be nothing but perfect, right? Hiring the correct developers is key.

We are a mobile app development company in Australia and we know a thing or two about hiring developers at all levels. At MadAppGang, we’ve shaped our team by carefully interviewing lots of candidates and selecting only the best. We’ve gotten so good at it that we often help businesses find the right people.

We know what it’s like to search for that perfect developer who will contribute to your idea with creative input and a relevant skill set. In this article, we are going to share that knowledge with you. Let’s review all the stages in the process of hiring an app developer.

Which Type of Mobile App Developer Do You Need?

First of all, you need to define the type of app you’re making depending on which platforms you want it to be available on. There are native, hybrid, and cross-platform applications, native apps are generally the most efficient. Cross-platform developments work best with simple apps that don’t require large databases, intense calculations, or extravagant graphics.

When it comes to native apps, you have the option to create one for iOS or Android only, or you can make both. Note that the latter choice means two separate development processes. Review the market before you make your decision. If you go for a single platform, make sure you’re searching for developers with relevant skills.

You can even ask them which smartphone they use because their experience as users should go hand in hand with their development capabilities.


What Skills Are You Looking For?

While searching for the right person, you should consider their developer-specific skills and the relevance of their experience to your project. Apart from that, you need to look for a developer who is able to work well in a team and is communicative at all times during the project.

Technological Skills

The criteria differ depending on whether you’re hiring an app developer for Android or for iOS. But there are some skills a developer needs to have regardless of the platform including:

  • Expertise in cross-platform solutions is practically a must because the issue of adapting an app to work on various devices may come up.
  • A knowledge of the platform user interface guidelines compiled by Google and Apple

Another important skill is device segmentation. Android developers should know how to create an app that works on devices made by different manufacturers and can adjust to different screen sizes, while iOS developers should know how to adapt apps to different versions of the system.

As for the differences, they are based on a particular programming language and the technologies linked to it. For example, before you hire an iPhone app developer, you have to examine how well-versed they are with the syntax of Swift. They need to show a thorough understanding of network protocols (JSON, XML, Protobuf), concurrent programming tools (GCD, NSOperations), system frameworks and UIKit, and Apple’s Xcode IDE.

Android development, in turn, requires fluency in Kotlin and Java and a good working knowledge of tools such as Android Studio and Android SDK. Developers have to be competent when it comes to dealing with third-party libraries and APIs.

If you want to test your candidates' skills but don’t have relevant competence or a CTO to do this, you can find a development agency who will conduct the technical interviews for you and vet the candidates. At MadAppGang, this is one of the services we provide.

Domain Expertise

Ideally, you want to work with a developer who has relevant experience. For example, if you want to build a bookings system app, it doesn’t make much sense to hire an app developer whose experience is in gaming projects. You want a developer to be on the right track with your domain and idea.

When you’re looking through a developer’s portfolio, think whether you know any of the apps they’ve worked on. Find those apps in the app stores and read some real user reviews.

There’s no escaping the fact that the more experience a developer has in your field, the more likely it is they will succeed. At MadAppGang, for example, we have particular expertise in healthcare and wellness projects. We have worked on several health apps which gave us precious insights we then used to make our own app for running which covers not only performance tracking but also important health-related parameters.

Soft Skills

Regardless of the type of tasks you need to get done, the developer you hire should also be able to interact with you and your team and show excellent interpersonal skills.

Problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, good time management, patience, adaptability, and helpfulness – there are a number of soft skills you want to see in a developer. The majority of business leaders even claim that soft skills are often more important than job-specific ones.

If you’re taking a freelancer or an outsourcer on board, make sure they speak English at a decent enough level that they can communicate clearly with you. Ask how they manage their work processes and how they will keep you up to date with progress.

Another indication of a good developer is their contribution to open source. This is not about business, but about personal growth. Hiring people who are constantly improving themselves shouldn’t just be a matter of appreciation, but a requirement.

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Where Can You Find a Mobile App Developer?

The easiest thing to do is to post a job description on the website, looking for an in-house member of the team. Although, that makes most sense when you have a long-term project in mind, not something that will take just a couple of months.

Another option is hiring a freelancer. There are plenty of freelance platforms where you can search for talent. You may have heard about Upwork or TopTal – the latter is a safer choice as there is an in-depth review procedure.

The process involved in hiring a freelancer is tough. Not only you will have to sift through hundreds of profiles, but you won’t have any guarantees that the person you hire will deliver what was promised and won’t disappear during the project. If you go this route, look for portfolios with enough technical details (skills, technologies, past projects) and personal information (a photo, a real name). GitHub and LinkedIn profiles are also a must these days.

If your project needs more than just one developer, do not hire several freelancers. More often than not, they will not communicate well or work together as a team. Instead, search for agencies with a solid team of developers. You can browse platforms with outsourcing companies (like Clutch) or find one located near you. Communicating your idea face-to-face is always better.

Don’t fall for cheap mobile app development services hailing from somewhere on the other side of the planet as it will actually cost you more. A safe and balanced solution is to opt for a small and experienced agency with a coordinated team. They will be able to offer you several developers to choose from.

When you first contact a mobile application development company, make sure you ask them which technologies they use and whether they follow coding standards.

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The Questions You Should Ask During the Job Interview

First of all, before you set an interview time, contact clients the developer has previously worked with. Concentrate on those projects which are most similar to yours. You want high-quality development and verified experience in your field so feedback from people in the same industry as you is the most valuable.

Look for Passion

During the interview, you should ask about previous projects, ask what unexpected problems developers had or what their worst experience with clients was. A good developer is a passionate developer and the way a person talks about their work speaks volumes.

As Joel Spolsky of Trello and Stack Overflow suggests, you can reveal a good candidate by two key things: they will be excited to talk about their previous experience and are careful to explain everything in layman’s terms.

Workflow and Communication

Ask questions about the developer’s communication preferences. Which channels do they like to use, how often will they be in touch, how much do they expect you to be involved? Remember that good developers keep their clients informed and involved at all stages.

You need to be able to track the progress of your app and the developer should have systems in place so that their workflow is transparent and steady.

How to Set a Trial Period

It’s OK if you want to see a developer in action first before you hand over the reins to the full process, especially if you have a completed application in mind. First, make sure the developer understands your task and your expectations. Set a clear milestone you’d like them to reach between two to four weeks. After the set time period, you’ll be able to see how much they have completed the task. Remember that it’s not just the end result that matters, but also the process. The developer should allow you to participate in this.

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Hiring Mobile Application Developers 101

Before you approach developers, you should know exactly what kind of app you want. Think it through thoroughly and be ready to communicate your idea in minute detail.

Look for passionate developers who share the same interests as you and have relevant experience with apps in a similar niche. You don’t have to narrow your choice to local developers, although, it is more practical to find someone who shares the same time zone and understands the culture you’ll be marketing to. Never choose price over skills and always interview candidates before hire.

Hiring mobile application developers can seem like an insurmountable task, but equipped with the right knowledge and attitude, it’s not too hard. If you’d like to reduce the risk involved in outsourcing your application and make the most of your new cooperation, get in touch with us here at MadAppGang. We offer extensive project planning and guide our clients through every stage of the development process. Drop us a line if you’d like to know more.

09 April 2019