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How to Find an App Developer in 2021: All You Need to Know

04 Mar 2021

13 Min

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The global mobile app revenue was valued at $582 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $935 billion by the end of 2023.

Keep in mind that before you start looking for app developers, you should know what developers you need.

For instance, apps for iOS require developers who work with Swift or Objective-C. If we’re talking about Android developers, they use Kotlin or Java. Cross-platform apps require programmers to know Flutter.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the preparations to find app developers, hiring options you can choose from, and developers’ rates by country and skills.

What You Should Know to Find an App Developer

Before hiring a developer, it’s vital to clarify your project’s idea.

Often, clients come to a software development company with the request like “I want a TikTok-like app.” But it’s better not just to create a TikTok clone but add some unique features. Thus, the user flow of an app can change completely.

In turn, the company will use more time defining that flows, rather than analyzing general requirements.

Let’s consider what you should know before finding app developers.

Determine If There’s a Problem

According to Forbes, 90% of new-launched products fail because they don’t meet the market’s needs. Let’s see what phases you should follow to stay behind these sad statistics.

Define Target Audience

It’s pointless to build an app without knowing who you’re creating it for.

You can’t build a mobile app for everyone as well as for one user. You should define a group of people with similar interests and problems to know who you create the app for and what features would solve their problems.

Start with basic information (age, gender, location, languages, income, education, and occupation) and then get into details (personality, behavior, values, habits, struggles, and so on)

Defining a target user involves analyzing the purpose of your mobile app and what problem it’s solving.

Validate the Problem

Before actually testing an idea within your market, all you’re doing is guessing. In order to build a successful app, you should conduct detailed research to understand if there’s a problem that you want to solve with your app.

Don’t make any assumptions, ask your potential customers to make sure the people who have that problem actually want a solution.

Validate the Solution

Find the solution. Compare your idea to existing projects to figure out how unique your app will be. There may be no sense in developing the same project if there’s another well-used one.

After that try to build a Minimum Valuable Product to check whether your idea meets customer’s needs. It includes only primary features that let users test the concept of your app.

Clear Up the Requirements

Before finding app developers, you should clearly understand the product's requirements. It’s a great idea to create a features list and start track and measure KPIs.

MVP

Many founders ignore MVP solutions for their businesses. They come up with the idea, start building their app right away, and then have no idea what to do when it comes to launching it.

Without clear requirements, developers won’t tell you exactly how much time and money the app development will take. That’s why it’s a good practice to prepare a list of must-have features that should be developed first. It’ll help developers figure out what tech stack to use and understand the customer’s expectations.

Don’t know where to start with?

We'll be glad to help you with the planning stage. Get a free consultation and project estimation.

All billion-dollar companies started with MVP solutions that most people would say were pretty bad.

For example, Airbnb’s MVP was a simple landing page launched by three founders who came up with an idea to connect people with extra rooms or beds to people who need a place to stay. So how did they start? There was a well-known design conference in San Francisco in 2007. They rented a small apartment and put together all their beds to provide visitors who didn’t get rooms in hotels with air beds.

They created a simple web page and ran a simple ad. Soon, they had three clients who rented their apartment during the conference.

Once they understood the viability of their idea and got first good feedback, they created Airbnb.

The airbnb first landing page

The first design of airbnb.com

Moreover, if you're looking for freelance app developers or gathering an in-house team, it's crucial to precisely set up your demands. They don’t have business analysts to help with requirements, so you have to do it on your own or hire a specialist.

KPIs

KPIs are the lifeblood of every business, and defining them is one of the first decisions you need to make when developing your project. It’ll drive user acquisition and increase revenue.

Tracking and measuring KPIs is essential for business because it shows whether your current strategy is actually working or not. They’re used to measure growth and spot the areas of your product that need improvements.

If you don’t track KPIs, your decisions will be based on assumptions and personal preference rather than data. KPIs lead to strategic, data-driven decisions helping move your startup in the right direction.

Now that you know the value of KPIs, you’re probably thinking of which ones you need to focus on and base your strategic planning around.

Below you’ll find the most important KPIs every startup have to track:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)
  • Customer Churn Rate (CCR)
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)
  • Revenue Growth Rate
  • Revenue Churn Rate (RCR)
How to find app developers: tips to follow

Preparation steps to find app developers

How to Find App Developers

After you’ve conducted the research and listed the features, it’s time to consider where to find app developers who’d bring your app to life.

There’s no sure way to tell you whether you need to work with a freelance developer or signing a contract with an app development company. Each option is relevant in different situations and depends on your project requirements.

Let’s consider the ins and outs of each hiring option:

Option #1. Freelance

Working with freelance mobile app developers is cheaper than an in-house team as you don’t need to pay for office space and equipment. But it works well only for small tasks and software upgrades — like fixing a shopping cart or building a WordPress site.

If you’re going to build an app from scratch, one freelancer can’t be responsible for full-cycle mobile app development. In this case, you need to hire a few freelance developers, UI/UX designers, and QA engineers.

Hiring a team of freelancers for a large project can be a risky and expensive idea due to team fragmentation. You’ll need to manage the whole process on your own or hire a freelance project manager (if you don’t have one).

Moreover, it may be difficult to find reliable app developers. Some of them deliver a project with bugs, others can abandon the project after a couple of weeks for a better offer.

As an option, you can place freelancers all together in your office. Thus, you'll manage the development process and improve communication between developers.

Pros

  • Cost-effective solution
  • Extended talent pool
  • Suitable for small one-time tasks

Cons

  • Communication issues
  • Harder to control
  • Chances for project leaving

Option #2. In-house Team or Remote Employees

If you’re looking for app developers to work remotely as a part of your company or you want to assemble an in-house team, then this option is for you. It’s a good decision if you have multiple projects to work on and want to control the entire development process.

In-house teams are a common practice among enterprises that want to have a superb level of control and enhance the communication between employees. When working with the team under the same roof, there’s no language barriers or time zone difference.

It's a convenient but pricey option. Hiring local specialists for an in-house team can be a complex and costly task, especially in the US or Western Europe. For instance, a senior software engineer in California charges from $87,000 to $150,000 per year. US-based UI/UX designers earn $85,300/year. QA engineer salary starts from $56,000/year.

This approach also requires additional expenses like office rent, software licenses, hardware, and taxes.

Pros

  • Full-control over the development process
  • No communication issues

Cons

  • Overpriced service
  • Additional expenses
  • Difficult hiring process

Option #3. Outsourcing Companies and Agencies

You can consider outsourcing app development or augment your team with app developers from an outsourcing company (whether you have just an idea or ready-made specification). In both cases, you’ll shorten the time to market, reduce the project’s costs and increase the quality of the product.

Wondering what is the mobile app development cost? Look through our article, explaining the factors that affect the final price.

This option doesn’t require renting an office or making other additional expenses. Outsourcing companies already have a pool of experienced developers you need to build an app. Also, they’re responsible for team management and product delivery.

Besides, if you’re on a tight budget, you can find app programmers overseas. You can choose any company from popular outsourcing regions that suit your resources and requirements.

You can face communication issues and serious time differences when choosing a foreign company. But experienced vendors have specialists with a high English level and flexible communication schedule for the client’s convenience.

Unlike the in-house team, you’ll get a top-tier service for a reasonable price in the short term.

Types of outsourcing

Three types of outsourcing

Where to Find App Developers

There are several ways to find specialists for your project. For example, 35% of startups rely on employee referrals, while 30% of tech companies use professional platforms. We’ll examine each hiring option in detail to help you land the best candidates for your project.

Ask for References

Asking your professional colleagues for any referrals is the most useful way to find app developers quickly and with limited resources.

It’s a powerful method, as the person you trust can speak for the candidates’ experience and qualification while telling them your company is a good place for work.

However, you need to have a long list of professional contacts to increase your chance of finding the right talent.

Use Hiring Platforms

This is the easiest way to find candidates. Using hiring platforms, you’re most likely to find app developers for a reasonable price.

They collect information about IT companies and freelancers from all over the world, giving the tools you need for a successful hiring.

There are three types of tech platforms depending on the cooperation models we’ve mentioned earlier.

Platforms for finding freelancers: Youteam, Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr

Platforms for finding full-time employees: Glassdoor, Indeed, Dice, LinkedIn

Platforms for finding IT vendors: Clutch, GoodFirms, IT Firms, 99 Firms

Mobile App Developer Rates by Country

Mobile app developers’ rates can differ from country to country, ranging from $100-250 per hour in the USA, Canada, and Western Europe to $20-40 per hour in India and Pakistan.

Eastern Europe seems to be a golden mean charging $25-50 hourly while providing a high level of competency.

If you want to outsource mobile development or find app developers nearshore or offshore, you should know popular regions that suit best for it.

We’ve analyzed rates of mobile app developers in different countries and highlighted the most popular tech hubs.

Mobile application developer rates in different countries

Mobile app developer rates depending on region

Experienced outsource app developers charge less than in-house ones but still guarantees high performance for your software solution.

It’s worth keeping in mind that mobile app developers’ rates not only depend on the country but also on the experience and stack of technologies that programmers work with.

PayScale claims $73,523 to be an average mobile application developer salary in the USA. According to Indeed, mobile app developers get $117,311 per year.

The numbers differ depending on the experience, qualification, location, and many other factors.

According to ZipRecruiter, Android developers get $112,647/year on average. That’s $54 per hour or $432 per working day. In turn, iOS developers are offered to $114,614 salary.

When looking for an app developer, it’s better to become familiar with the average mobile app developers’ price by specialization.

Below you’ll find the US-based freelancers’ rates per hour.

Rates of freelance developers per hour

DeveloperHourly rates

Front-end

$61-80/hour

Back-end

$61-80/hour

Full stack

$81-100/hour

iOS

$81-100/hour

Android

$61-80/hour

Things to Consider to Find Mobile App Developers

Mobile app development is so popular that finding a good specialist seems to be an impossible task.

However, if you know exactly what app you want to develop and keep in mind these eight tips, you’ll find the right specialist fast.

#1 App Type

Before hiring a mobile app developer, be ready to answer the following questions:

  • Are you going to develop an application to extend your business, or do you consider it a startup?
  • Is it a simple or multi-feature mobile app?
  • What type of app do you want to create (educational, lifestyle, productivity, game, and so on)?

#2 Experience and skills

Don’t forget to ask your app developers about their experience, programming languages, and frameworks they work with.

For instance, if you want to build an Android platform app, you need skilled and experienced Android app developers to get started.

Moreover, consider if they have expertise in your niche. If you're working in healthcare, you should find an app developer who knows how to create a mobile app complying with HIPAA.

#3 Communication

Communication is essential, especially if you’re going to outsource mobile app development. Before getting into details, it’s better to communicate with potential candidates via chat, phone, email.

Usually, a 30-minute live video call will help you evaluate an employee’s values and understand whether you're both comfortable with each other.

Want to know how to establish a consistent interview process? Check our article revealing how to do it in detail.

#4 Portfolio

You probably don't want an app developer who hasn't ever made a mobile app before. Look at the candidates’ portfolios to understand whether they’ve worked on products similar to yours. Download their apps, check whether they work as expected, and if they provide value to customers.

For example, at Cleveroad, we recently designed a social networking app called Ayoo Dance. Our goal was to design a mobile app that can join dancers worldwide, let them communicate, and show their skills interactively.

App interface

Ayoo Dance interface

#5 Timeline

Discuss the timeline upfront and see if it fits your requirements. Many app developers charge for the number of working hours they’ve spent to fulfill the project. It’s a popular option in projects where it’s difficult to set up a fixed timeline.

#6 Long-term relationships

The development process doesn’t stop after you launch the app. After releasing the product, developers should process the feedback if needed to fix any bugs or add new features.

Also, it’s crucial to analyze if the app satisfies customers’ needs and meets their expectations. So, long-term relationships are a must-have.

#7 Budget

Discuss prices in advance. Apart from development, many factors influence the final cost of the project. Design, maintenance, testing, deployment, and other services. You should consider all these expenses to create a more accurate budget for your future app.

#8 Compatibility

Before finding app developers, you need to consider the following criteria:

  • Language barriers. It’s better to choose specialists speaking the same language as you, then communication will be simple and natural. You can hire in-house developers or outsource overseas. However, hiring local developers can be a costly task for employers. Also, it can be tricky to find candidates with specific skills in local markets.
  • Time zone. It’s much easier to work with a slight time difference to not wait all day for developers’ answers to get things done. For example, outsourcing companies know how to solve that problem and often make a communication plan with clients to hold meetings on a convenient schedule.
  • Communication tools. Video and audio calls, text chats, sharing images, emails, synchronization with Google services will help you stay in touch with the development team to work effectively and solve issues faster. The most popular project management tools are Jira, Slack, Confluence, and Google’s G Suite.

Following these tips, you can narrow down the circle of specialists to look for and save yourself from wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Want to Find App Developers for Your Project?

Cleveroad is a Ukrainian mobile and web app development company with over six years of experience across various industries. Our mobile app developers are fluent in Swift, Kotlin, and Flutter technologies and are ready to help you build top-tier iOS, Android, and cross-platform apps.

Take a look at the projects we’ve developed in our portfolio.

Looking for mobile apps developers?

Tell us more about your project and get a free consultation from our specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can use popular hiring platforms to find app developers depending on the cooperation models (freelance, in-house team, outsourcing companies).

Before finding app developers, you need to make the following steps: define target audience, validate the problem, validate the solution, build MVP, measure (KPIs) and analyze.

There are three hiring options: freelance developers, in-house team, outsourcing companies.

There are several popular software outsourcing destinations: USA, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia. Eastern Europe is golden mean charging $25-50 hourly while providing a high level of competency. For example, Ukrainian developers charge $40.

It depends on the country, experience level, and stack of technologies that programmers work with. For instance, app developers in the USA charge $100/h compared to $50 in the Eastern Europe for the same price.

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