Hiring the right web or software developer for your growing business is not an easy task, especially if you’re looking to enhance or build a custom software solution. With so many options available, it can be difficult to determine which developer is the best fit for your business.
In this article, we will discuss some tips on how to choose the right web or software developer(s) for your needs. We’ll also provide a few questions you should ask before making your decision. So, whether you’re just starting out and need a basic website or you’re looking for a more complex solution, read on for help finding the perfect developer!
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Do You Need a Designer, Web Developer, or a Software Developer?
Before you begin the search for the right developer for your business, you need to understand the difference between a web designer, a web developer, and a software developer.
A Web Designer or UI/UX Designer
A web designer or UI/UX designer is someone who is able to gain a firm grasp of what you’re trying to create with your website or software, and then can turn your ideas into something visual. This is a highly creative person with a strong understanding of how users interact with digital interfaces and websites, but who can also understand your brand. Web designers and UI/UX designers are definitely an essential part of the development process since they are the ones who determine how your website or software application will look, but they are usually not coders and cannot turn your designs into tangible, working digital products.
A Web Developer
A web developer is someone who can take a web designer’s designs and turn them into a fully functioning website. They are responsible for the look and functionality of your website, as well as making sure that all the code is written properly and meets web standards. A web developer is typically only capable of developing websites specifically, so if you’re looking to build a custom software that runs behind the scenes of your front-facing website, a web developer is likely only going to be able to handle the front-facing website piece of the puzzle.
A Software Developer
A software developer is someone who specializes in creating custom software applications . These applications can be anything from a basic web application to a mobile app or even a desktop application. A software developer is going to have the ability to not only code your custom software, but they will also be able to work with you on the design and user experience of the software. If you’re looking for someone to build an entirely new piece of software, then you likely are looking for a software developer. That being said, they are often not capable of also building a website as not all software developers are also web developers.
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Sometimes You Might Need to Hire All Three
It’s pretty rare, if not impossible to find a single person who can handle your design, your website, and your custom software all in one. If you do run into someone who claims they can do all three of these things flawlessly, you should either be very cautious, or you’re extremely lucky. Building a custom website or software takes a lot of work and expertise, so if you’re looking for a great end result, you should think about hiring a professional who can handle designs and development separately.
If you’re business is building both a website and a software, you’ll definitely need to consider hiring all three of these professionals to get this job done right. In this article, however, we’ll only be focusing on web and software developer roles.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Freelancer
Many businesses consider hiring a freelancer to build their websites or software, simply because it’s more affordable than having someone in-house. Especially if your company is building a technology that is more of a one-off project, hiring a freelance web or software developer can seem even more beneficial to business owners.
Here are some benefits of choosing to hire a freelance developer for your business:
- Usually a lower hourly rate
- Many freelance directories exist to find qualified candidates
- Wide variety of talent
- Ability to hire/onboard quickly
Here are some cons to choosing to hire a freelance developer for your business:
- Limited transparency to your project
- Lack of professional contracts
- Lack of insurance in case of issues
- High risk if freelancer befalls a personal tragedy
- Risk of freelancer suddenly quitting and holding your project hostage
Pros and Cons of Hiring An Agency
Another great option to consider when it comes to hiring a web or software developer for your business is to look at an agency. Hiring an agency has many similar benefits, perhaps even more so than hiring a freelancer. For example, agency development rates are usually quite comparable to the going rates of expert freelancers, but agencies offer professional contracts, they have business insurance, and a full team of resources at their disposal.
Unlike leaving your project in the hands of a single freelancer, working with an agency means that even if a developer leaves the project, the agency can reassign another developer to the project without you even noticing in most cases. Additionally, agencies often have a great online presence and the good ones can offer client recommendations and testimonials to prove their quality of work before you sign a proposal.
Benefits to hiring a developer through an agency:
- Affordable hourly rates
- Access to multiple resources
- Professional, legal contract
- Project transparency
- Usually has proof of credibility online via testimonials
Tips to Hiring the Right Web or Software Developer
Now that we’ve gone over some of the pros and cons of hiring a web or software developer as a freelancer or through an agency, it’s time to give you some tips on what to look for when you’re ready to take the next step by hiring a developer for your business.
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Make Sure They Know the Technology You Intend to Use
One of the best ways to determine if a web or software developer is right for your project is by asking them about their experience with the technology you want to use. If they’re not familiar with it, it’s likely that they won’t be able to help you build what you have in mind. This is especially important when working on fully custom web or software projects.
You can check if a developer is skilled with a particular coding language or technology by carefully reviewing their previous projects. Explore their portfolio to determine the technology stack used most often. Ask the developer specific questions about what they did on the project to better gauge their understanding and level of experience.
They Should Offer Ideas and a Potential Execution Plan for the Project
In order to make sure that you’re hiring the right web or software developer, they should be able to not only talk about their past experiences and what they know but also offer creative ideas for your project.
Ideally, a web or software developer will want to sit down with you and discuss the project in detail before offering an estimate. They should be able to listen and clearly define the problems your business is facing, then offer up technical solutions that make sense for your needs. Be wary of a developer that isn’t asking a lot of questions about your project because that means they are either not invested, or they don’t have the experience you require to handle the job.
They Should Provide a Full Technical Scope of Work
In order to avoid any surprises down the road, it’s important that you receive a full technical scope of work from your web or software developer before starting the project. This document should outline everything that will be done during the project and what is expected of both parties.
This is also a good way to measure if the developer understands all of the problems you’re facing and how you intend to solve them. If they’re able to provide a comprehensive technical scope of work, it’s likely that they understand your needs and are capable of executing on the project.
A Good Developer Has a Testing Plan
When a web or software developer is confident in their abilities, they will have no problem creating a testing plan to ensure that the project meets all of your requirements.
This testing plan should outline how the developer intends to test the project during each stage of development and what type of tests they will perform. This is important because it shows that the developer is thinking about the quality of the project and is taking measures to ensure that it meets your standards.
The Right Developer Should Give Your Team Full Access to the Codebase
If you’re paying for a web or software development project, you should have full access to the codebase throughout the duration of the project. This is especially important if you’re working with a solo freelancer because if that individual ever disappears from the project suddenly, you’ll still be able to onboard someone new.
In the case you are working with an agency, as long as your contract states that you own all rights to your final product and your code, you may not necessarily need direct access to the code unless you’re preparing to transition to another firm at some point.
Beware of freelancers or agencies that are secretive or unwilling to give you full access to your digital product.
You Should Have a Clear Contract and Estimate
In order to protect your business, it’s important that you have a clear contract and estimate in place before starting any web or software development project.
The contract should outline the scope of work, payment terms, timeline, and other important details about the project. It’s also important to make sure that both you and the developer sign off on the project deliverables, and that each of you are on the same page about the key functionality.
The estimate should be itemized and detailed so that you have a clear understanding of the costs associated with the project. It’s important to note that web or software development projects often go over budget, so it’s important to have some flexibility in your estimate, and be understanding that these kinds of projects typically do run into unforeseen situations. The estimate for development work is almost never exact, but a good proposal should include enough detail and potential outcomes to at least give you an indication of what an overage might look like cost-wise.
Interview Questions You Can Ask a Developer Candidate
When interviewing candidates for your development project, here are some key questions you should ask:
- Can you provide an estimate of the total project cost?
- What is your development process?
- How do you communicate progress and updates to clients?
- Do you have a portfolio of previous work that I can review?
- How do you handle changes or revisions to the scope of work?
- How will you track time and budget?
- How do you handle reporting on project progress?
- What is your testing process?
- What costs are involved if we go over the estimated budget?
- Do you foresee any technical problems or overage potential with this project?
- Can you provide any client referrals?
- Do you intend to hand-code this project and, if not, which elements will not be hand-coded?
- For elements of the project that are not hand-coded, will the packages you utilize be open-source packages that we are free to use and license if desired?
- Are their any third-party services involved in this project that we’ll have to pay for ongoing?
Choosing the right web or software developer is a critical decision for any business owner. By taking the time to understand your needs and doing your research, you can find a qualified developer that will help you create a successful project. Remember to ask lots of questions, review portfolios, and get referrals from previous clients to make sure you’re making the best possible decision.
We sincerely hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’re looking for a qualified team of developers to help with your next project, get in touch with us! We’d love to discuss it with you!