In 2023, people worldwide downloaded over 257 billion apps. That’s an average of 32 app downloads per person. And while the number of apps a person uses daily keeps growing, small businesses, brands, corporations, and startups are searching for developers to build their own apps. This increase in demand for apps is reflected in the market for app developers. In the United States alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 25% increase in demand for them in the next two years—a much more significant increase than in other professions.

However, as the pool of app developers grows, it has become more challenging for business owners to find a reliable developer. And if you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or project manager reckoning how to find app developers, you have come to the right place.

In this article, we will discuss the steps to find a good app developer, how to prepare, and how to avoid common pitfalls. 

What Is an App Developer?

App developers are software engineers specializing in designing, building, and maintaining mobile, desktop, or web applications. 

They use various programming languages and tools to translate ideas into functional, user-friendly applications. At the heart of their craft lies their ability to understand the concept of the business or brand they are working for and translate it into a functional tool that solves the needs of its users. 

Before Hiring an App Developer

Before you start your search for the best app developer, you need to take three critical steps. Let’s explore each in detail.   

1. Outline project scope 

The first (and most crucial) step is to define your project’s scope. In this step, you detail your app’s goals, features, and the audience pain points it will solve. 

You will have a few brainstorming sessions with your team during this time. Based on these meetings, you will create a list of the app’s must-have and nice-to-have functionalities. By doing so, you will have a clearer vision of your app, which will then help you communicate more effectively to the app developers you will hire.

Besides, having a clear overview of your app will help you keep the development process within the timeline and budget.  

2. Decide on the type of the app you need

Now that you have a clear idea of what your app will envision, you should decide on the type of app you want to build. This step will help you identify the kind of developer you need, how long the development process will last, and the overall cost of the app.

Broadly speaking, you must identify whether you need a native, web, or hybrid app. To ease your decision, consider your target audience, the user experience you wish to provide, and the app’s intended functionality. Addressing these points will allow you to make an informed decision on the type of app that best suits your needs.

3. Allocate budget for app development 

With a clear vision of what your app will be about and how it will be built, it is time to define how much money you want to invest. To tackle this, start by researching and comparing costs associated with apps and the development process you want to employ on your app (for example, native apps are more expensive than web apps).

During this process, you must be realistic about your budget and allocate a sum to unforeseen expenses. Now that you have a defined budget narrowing your search for an app developer will be easier. 

How To Find Mobile App Developers In 5 Steps?

Now that you know what you want, how you want it, and how much you are willing to pay, it is time to roll up your sleeves and find the adequate app developer to bring your idea to life. Below, we will discuss how to find the perfect match in 5 steps. 

1. Conduct research

Of course, your journey to hire the best app developer starts by researching the market. With an estimated 26.4 million developers worldwide, the pool of app developers is broad and deep. To narrow down the search, start by identifying developers with expertise in the type of app you want to create (if you want a native app, then search for developers specialized in that).

You can use online platforms such as LinkedIn, GitHub, and industry-specific forums to find professionals with the right skills. Because you already know how much you want to invest in your app, narrow the search to developers whose prices are within your range.

2. Ask for their portfolio

Once you’ve identified potential developers, your next step is to examine their skills in depth. The best start here is a portfolio of past projects. Going through the developer’s portfolio will help you understand the developer’s aesthetic style, complexity of work, and experience executing projects similar to yours.

Scanning through their past projects will give you an idea of whether your project can be part of the portfolio in the future. 

3. Ask for client testimonials 

Now that you know their skills, it is time to assess their reliability and professionalism by contacting past clients or asking for testimonials. Client testimonials are crucial as they offer first-hand insights into the developer’s working style, communication skills, and ability to deliver projects on time and within budget.

When you learn about past clients’ experiences with the developers you want to hire, making informed decisions and setting realistic expectations for this collaboration will be easier. 

4. Decide on the partnership model

Assuming that portfolio and client testimonials allowed you to decide who you want to hire, we now go to the bottom of the funnel to select a developer for your app.

If you want to stamp your collaboration, you must decide on a collaboration model. Developers and/or development agencies offer a range of collaboration models, including fixed—price contracts, time and materials contracts, full-time partners, and external consultants.

While each model has its benefits and drawbacks, you need to select a partnership model that falls within the complexity of your project and budget. 

5. Agree on the budget and project timeline beforehand 

Now, it is time to move on to the last step before you hire an app developer: setting the budget’s scope and defining the project timeline. Here, you must have a written agreement detailing all the essential details of your collaboration—the budget, collaboration model, project timeline, and milestones.

With a signed contract in hand, expectations are better managed on both sides and provide security if anything goes south. 

Conclusion

Finding a mobile app developer who will bring your app idea to life is not an easy task. However, you can find the perfect fit with careful planning, thorough research, and defined expectations. With the right developer by your side, your app can be the pathway to (the digital) success of your business. 

FAQs

How to avoid common pitfalls when hiring an app developer?

To avoid the common pitfalls when hiring a developer, pay close attention to their communication skills, the professionalism of their portfolio, and the integrity of their client testimonials. Also, be aware of unrealistic promises for quick turnarounds and prices lower than the market rate. These red flags can indicate the developer’s expertise and professionalism are compromised. 

How much does it cost to build an app?

The cost of building an app varies depending on its complexity, platform (iOS, Android, or both), and the developer’s location and expertise. While simple apps can cost as little as $10,000, more complex projects can exceed $100,000.