The global mobile app market is expanding rapidly — it’s expected to reach $939 billion by the end of 2023.
While the market is growing by the day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find quality mobile app developers. With millions of software developers to choose from, how can you separate the wheat from the chaff?
In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to hire a mobile app developer for your company. We’ll look at how much you can expect to pay, your different hiring options, what skills to consider, and more.
When Should You Hire a Mobile App Developer?
A mobile-powered project takes a lot of work. Aside from building APIs, integrating third-party tools, and automating workflows, you must also maintain high levels of software code.
This makes hiring a mobile app developer a no-brainer. Not only will they save your company time and money, but they’ll also offer several additional benefits.
More Focused Efforts
Having a mobile app developer allows your other team members to focus on their respective duties.
A solid mobile developer might be able to resolve CRM issues or even take care of cloud computing and integrations, for example—freeing up other team members to focus on improving services and customer satisfaction.
Access to an Expert
A mobile app developer’s previous experience, technical expertise, and skills will be extremely useful throughout the lifecycle of your development project.
You’ll have access to them throughout the entire process so they can resolve issues quickly whenever they arise. This way, you won’t experience any bottlenecks that could cost you a lot of time and money. Instead, you get to enjoy smoother operations where projects are done on time and within budget.
Keep Up With Competitors
Technology is always changing and evolving.
With 255 billion mobile apps downloaded in 2022 (up 80% from 2016), it’s clear that consumers’ need for applications is increasing.
The sheer volume of app downloads makes it clear that the app industry is more competitive than ever.
To stand out and remain competitive, you need an app developer that’s up to date with the latest changes. This way, they can implement the most recent features and ensure relevant and secure technology for your users.
Discover more software development and engineering statistics.
Depending on the type of mobile app programmer you hire — which we’ll cover in the next section — some offer post-launch support services.
This can include updating features, fixing bugs, adding new functionalities, and more. You won’t have to worry about being on your own when the project is complete.
Most Common Options for Hiring a Mobile App Developer
You have several options when it comes to hiring a mobile app developer.
1. Hire In-House
The most common option is hiring an app developer as part of your in-house team. If you already have a development team but need an individual to focus on mobile apps specifically, you can fill the labor gap by sourcing and hiring someone for this specific role.
While this option allows you to have more control over the entire development project, it also comes with more expenses. Here’s a list of some of the pros and cons of hiring an in-house mobile app developer:
Pros of In-House Hiring
- Higher employee engagement
- More loyal to your business
- Integrated into your company culture
- A better understanding of your business workflow and processes
- Complete control over your team
- No communication difficulties
Cons of In-House Hiring
- Longer hiring process
- Full-time salary
- Additional benefits, such as a 401(k) plan
- Costs of providing work equipment, hardware, and licenses
- Limited to local tech talents (if you require an in-office employee)
2. Hire a Freelancer
You can also choose to hire a freelance mobile app developer.
The freelance market has grown tremendously over the past few years. There were 70.4 million freelancers in the US in 2022, with this number being projected to grow to over 90 million by 2028.
There are more than plenty of qualified freelancers for you to choose from.
Hiring a freelancer is typically less expensive, and they can be highly specialized. However, they can also be harder to manage. Here are some top pros and cons to consider when hiring freelance developers:
Pros of Freelancers
- More flexibility
- Access to expert talent
- Easy to find with numerous hiring platforms
- Large pool of developers with various skill sets
- No need to supply work equipment
- Access to talents worldwide
Cons of Freelancers
- Complicated onboarding process
- Less control over the freelancer and process
- Lack of loyalty and long-term commitment
- Only suits small-to-medium businesses
- Possible language barrier
- Higher chances of project abandonment
3. Hire an Outsourced Team
Lastly, you can outsource the development to a professional IT company. Outsourcing to an IT company means you get access to people who are highly skilled in mobile app development and who have a proven track record.
However, this can also mean you must dedicate additional time to managing the outsourced team. You also heavily rely on an outside company — putting you at their mercy.
Here are some pros and cons you need to consider when hiring a company to develop your mobile apps:
Pros of Outsourcing
- More time to concentrate on core activities
- Improved efficiency
- Access to expert talent
Cons of Outsourcing
- Lack of full control
- Higher risk of miscommunication
- Less flexibility
How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Mobile App Developer?
Mobile app developers earn different wages based on several factors, including their developer type, location, experience, and skills.
For example, according to the BLS, the average hourly rate for software developers is around $52.50.
Android developers who live in certain states, including Oregon, California, and New York, earn 15%–24% more than average. And those who live in Utah, Kentucky, and Arkansas, make 25% less than average.
Learn more about app developer salaries in our full guide.
Another thing to consider is the number of hours it takes to develop an app. It can take months to build an app. This is because there are different stages, including scoping, UI/UX design, development, testing, and deployment. This could increase overall development costs.
While the mobile app developer won’t be responsible for all of these stages, they’ll be involved in a big part of the project and may even be needed to troubleshoot some technical difficulties.
What To Consider When Hiring a Mobile App Developer
There are a few essential skills and traits to consider when you want to hire a mobile app developer.
To find an app developer that fits your project and company, you need to consider their development approach. This includes how they divide their work and organize their time between different tasks.
This will indicate whether they’ll be able to work well with your in-house team and follow the correct processes. It’ll also tell you whether they can finish the project in your desired timeframe so you can set appropriate deadlines and milestones.
Use of Technologies
You need to look at the technologies the app developer candidates specialize in. This way, you can make sure they have the necessary skills for your project.
- What programming languages do you prefer the developer to use?
- Is your app web-based?
- Do you need an elaborate user interface?
- Do you need cross-platform development?
- How will you set up your database servers?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow down the applicants when you get to the hiring phase.
Prior Experience in Mobile App Development
If you want to build a quality mobile app that’s able to compete with others in the market, you need a developer with experience. You can gauge whether a developer has experience by looking at their resume, portfolio, and testimonials.
It’s good to consider those with at least a few years of experience. While it is possible for graduates to be highly skilled, they may not be as equipped to deal with problems when they arise since they haven’t been in the industry for long.
Code Ownership Views
You also need to consider the developer’s views on code ownership. This is especially true when hiring freelance app developers or outsourced teams.
Some companies want partial ownership of the code. However, if you own the code, you’re not required to remain dependent on the IT company or individual developer. So, make sure your mobile app developer understands and agrees that the code belongs to you.
Top Sites to Hire Mobile Apps Developers
The sites you choose to hire the developer through will ultimately depend on whether you choose the in-house, freelance, or outsourced option.
This is because different platforms are good at finding professionals based on your needs and cooperation model. Below are lists of the best platforms for hiring in-house employees, freelancers, and outsourced teams.
Platforms to Hire In-House Employees
Platforms to Hire Freelancers
Platforms to Hire Outsourced Teams
- IT Firms
- 99 Firms
Alternatively, you can go to tech events. Tech events are conferences for businesses in the IT and software industries. These events aim to educate, inform, and train B2B and B2C attendees on the latest discoveries, processes, and tools in the industry.
There are numerous tech events that take place annually. Here are some of the most popular events you can consider.
- Droidcon: Events created specifically for Android developers. People can attend these events in different parts of the world, including London, New York, Berlin, and more, where they get to learn, create, and collaborate with other developers.
- Appdevcon: An Amsterdam-based tech meetup for Android, iOS, and cross-platform app developers.
- Code Conference: A tech conference by Vox Media Events — offering an important gathering opportunity for media, tech, and ecommerce leaders.
- Techspo: Events hosted in different locations all over the world where business and tech professionals get to meet and innovate.
- THAT Conference: An event hosted in Texas and Wisconsin where people with diverse technology backgrounds and expertise levels gather to learn and form a community.
If you’re looking for a local tech conference, simply type “tech event + [your location]” into Google’s search box and see what comes up. Alternatively, you can use social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn to find events.
6 Steps to Hire Mobile App Developers
Before you start the hiring process, it’s important to have clear app development goals and a budget. You need to know what type of app you want, when you need it, and how much you’re willing to spend on different stages.
This way, you’ll be able to hire the candidate or team that can get the job done on time and without breaking the bank.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s dive into how you can hire a mobile apps developer.
It’s important to note that if you’ve found someone who looks good on paper, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the right person for the job. There are many other things to consider. Below are the six steps you can follow to find the right person (or team) for the job.
1. Ask Your Business Friends or Colleagues For Referrals
Asking the people you know and trust for referrals is a great way to cut candidate hunting time drastically.
With this method, you can save tons of time and effort sifting through hundreds of subpar worker profiles. Instead, you’ll be able to focus on high-quality candidates referred to you by the people you trust most.
That being said, keep in mind that even though your business associate might think the candidate is a good fit, they might not be. So, stay true to what you need and what’s best for your business.
2. Scour Different Hiring Platforms For Ideal Candidates
If you didn’t manage to get referrals from your friends or colleagues, or they simply weren’t a good fit, the next best thing is to research hiring platforms. The platforms mentioned above are great places to source candidates.
For example, let’s say you decide to search for a freelancer on Fiverr. You can simply head to the site and search for a “mobile app developer” in the search bar.
From there, you can go through the freelancers that pop up to find one that fits your needs. If none of the freelancers suit your project, you can follow the same process on the other freelancer sites until you find suitable candidates.
When it comes to looking for a full-time employee, the process is different. Instead of searching for candidates, you can get people to apply for the position through job listings on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. Or you can create a company page on LinkedIn to attract prospective employees.
Lastly, you can hire outsourced teams on platforms like 99 Firms and Slingshot or by identifying companies at tech events.
3. Examine Their Portfolios, Testimonials, and Technologies
Once you have a list of candidates, you can review their portfolios and testimonials individually. It’s vital to look at what their past clients have to say.
Come up with a list of questions that help you understand their development skills and experience. How long did it take for them to complete the project? How well was the app executed? Were they well organized?
Make sure that their specific technical skills match what your project needs.
4. Look at the Additional Services They Offer
Some application developers may offer more services that aren’t necessary for your app, such as design, project management, etc.
Though these additional services are nice to have, they can often result in higher costs. Depending on the scope of your project, it might be best to look for someone or a team who offers a package consisting of only the services you need.
5. Consider Company Culture
If you’re hiring an individual, they’ll need to have a personality that’ll work well in your work environment. If you’re hiring an outsourced team, you need to look at their company culture and determine if it fits yours.
For example, the IT company you’re planning on outsourcing to may give their developers large amounts of creative leeway while you don’t. Or, a freelancer may be used to handling projects on their own while you want them to work in a team setting.
The best way to determine whether they’re a good fit is to do an in-person or video interview. Ask them about their values, goals, typical work processes, etc.
From the meeting, you’ll be able to gauge their personality and see whether their work ethic, company values, and expectations align with yours.
6. Keep Communication in Mind
When hiring a remote individual or team, always keep communication in mind. While working with someone on the other side of the world is possible, working around time zones can hinder operations.
Before hiring an app developer, you need to ensure it logically makes sense and that you have the necessary communication tools to make it work.
For example, if your company is based in North America and you hire a freelancer from Eastern Europe, you have a time difference of seven hours. This means that by the time you get to work at 9am, it’s already 4pm in Europe, which is close to the end of their workday.
It’s always best to consider hiring someone on your side of the world. This way, you can easily arrange specific times to meet on a call or to collaborate.
Hiring a mobile app developer can be tricky — especially if you don’t know where to begin or what to expect.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll get to source, hand-pick, and hire a mobile app developer that’ll suit your project and company.
Remember, if you’re looking for a developer with specific technology and work capabilities, consider their technology stack and development approach. Also, look at their portfolios and testimonials to get a good idea of what you can expect from them.