How to Hire Mobile App Developers in 2021: Clear Guide to Nail It

Updated 19 Aug 2021

Published 27 Jan 2021

14 Min


Mobile app market is growing at an enormous pace and is projected to hit 258 billion downloads worldwide by 2022. Consumers are more likely to use a mobile app than a website which makes mobile developers one of the most demanded specialists on the market.

Hiring app developers may seem an easy task to handle from the first sight. In reality, it’s a multistep process with various pitfalls that may cost you a reputation if the final product is poorly-implemented. This article breaks down the entire hiring process into smaller pieces to help you hire the right app developers to build your ideas.

We’ll cover the following points:

Hiring Options You Have

When it comes to IT-related professionals, you have flexible options — full-time or part-time employee, independent contractor. How that employee will work (in an office or remotely) and where you find them (freelance platforms, outsourcing companies) also bring you much flexibility in terms of price. Each option is applicable in different situations and has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Option #1. Work With Freelancers

This is likely the first option that comes to mind when there’s a need to hire app developers. The reason why freelancers are a widespread hiring option is that companies can work with specialists worldwide and they typically charge less than an in-house developer would cost a company.

There are many websites with thousands of freelancers who specialize in different fields, and you’ll definitely find and hire mobile app developers with the skills and experience you need.

There are several popular platforms for hiring freelance developers:

  • Youteam
  • Upwork
  • Toptal
  • Fiverr
  • Supersourcing

Just like any remote employees, freelancers need to be experienced and self-motivated to achieve the goals you set. Otherwise, you may spend extra time to settle organizational issues.

Language barriers and time zone differences are among other possible obstacles of working with freelancers leading to misunderstandings and failed deadlines. Another common problem is that freelancers often work on several projects simultaneously. Therefore you should pay some attention to freelancer’s reputation to make sure they won’t abandon your project one day.


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Large pool of developers with different skills
  • Numerous hiring platforms


  • Language barrier possibility
  • Rather hard to manage
  • Chances of project abandonment

Option #2. Assemble an In-House Team

This option is the exact opposite of hiring freelancers. You hire app developers, rent an office, and work as a team. In this case, the communication is on a very high level as you’re all under the same roof. As a result, you get more control over the entire development process and can make changes at any time.

But don’t rush into rejoice. Assembling an in-house team is typically associated with huge expenses. You need to rent an office, furnish it, purchase hardware and licensed software. Besides that, you must pay wages, sick leaves, vacation payments for every single employee.

iOS and Android developer salary

When assembling an in-house team, keep in mind high developers' wages.

Don’t forget about the long and difficult hiring process. It’ll be hard to compete with large companies that lure specialists with huge salaries and numerous perks.

Another pitfall is that you may need someone who can manage your development team. If you don’t have management skills, hiring a Project Manager or CTO is vital to ensure continuous and effective development.


  • Full control over the team
  • No communication difficulties


  • Long and challenging hiring process
  • Expensiveness
  • Team management requires skills

Option #3. Hire an Outsourcing Company

One of the easiest ways to create an app is to outsource the development to a professional IT company. If you do so, you’ll get top-tier services for a reasonable price. This option doesn’t force you to hire employees, rent an office, and make other unnecessary expenses. Most IT companies already have a pool of professionals you need to create an app. Besides, vendors take responsibility for team management and product delivery.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to outsource mobile app development services to an experienced company overseas. You’re free to pick any company from the world’s most popular outsourcing regions that suit your resources and requirements. We’ll talk about outsourcing regions a bit later on.

Hire mobile app developers onshore, nearshore, offshore

Three types of outsourcing.

However, you may encounter a language barrier and a significant time difference when choosing a foreign vendor. These flaws can affect the overall communication process with the vendor, but experienced vendors have employees with good English and adjust communication time for the client’s convenience.


  • Relatively cheap
  • Wide choice of tech vendors from all over the world
  • You can get any tech expertise you need
  • No need for management from your side
  • Fast project start


  • Language barriers and time zone differences may still occur

When Outsourcing Is the Best Choice?

As an outsourcing company that provides mobile app developers for hire, we’ll tell you in which cases outsourcing is an ultimate option.

Budget limitations

If your resources are quite limited, you can hardly afford the in-house development team. In addition to high salaries, you must also spend a considerable amount of money for rent and office-related expenses.

When you choose to outsource programming, you don’t need to worry about whether you have enough money to pay the rent and wages or not. What’s more, you don’t pay for sick leaves or vacations — only for the actual work done.

Talent shortage

Even if your company has an internal software development team, the app you’re looking to build may not match your team's skills. It’s time-consuming and often more expensive to build AI-based or AR features without relevant expertise.

Outsourcing lets you find and hire an app developer with the skills and experience to help you implement your idea. Depending on the size, outsourcing companies typically have a pool of specialists with expertise across business domains and technologies.

Strict deadlines

Managing a team of freelance or in-house developers requires a lot of experience. Otherwise, poor planning will lead to missed deadlines or a poor quality product.

With hundreds of products behind, outsourcing companies have a clear understanding how to build a strict and transparent pipeline that prevents missed deadlines. Even if unforeseen problems occur during development, IT vendors can solve them following agile development methodologies and being flexible to changes.

Where to Hire Mobile App Developers?

When looking for app programmers for hire, there are several ways to find app developers for your project. For example, 35% of startups rely on referrals while 30% of companies use professional platforms. We’ll consider each hiring option in detail to help you with your choice.

Ask for Referrals

Looking for app developers, you can always ask for referrals. Chances are someone from your professional network can suggest you a proven professional. However, this method requires a pretty long list of professional contacts. The more people from the industry you know, the higher your chances for finding the right tech talent for your team.

Tech Events

If referrals aren’t the option, you can always look for developers on specialized tech events. These events unite thousands of developers and industry experts to share knowledge, experience and build partnership.

A distinctive feature of tech events is an opportunity to meet mobile app developers directly and discuss further cooperation opportunities in the formal atmosphere. Even if you don’t find talents for your project on tech events, you’ll receive valuable industry contacts that can come in handy later.

There are several annual tech events that you can visit for hiring mobile app developers:

  • Code Mobile. It’s the iOS and Android tech conference in the UK made by developers for developers.
  • DroidCon. For over ten years, this Berlin event evolved into the largest Android-only developer meeting.
  • Appdevcon. It’s an Amsterdam-based tech meetup for iOS, Android, and cross-platform developers.
  • THAT Conference. This conference holds in Wisconsin Dells, WI and gather a cozy IT community to share experience.
  • ÜberConf. It’s a Denver-based conference full of industry-recognized experts and skilled mobile developers.

Online Platforms

This is the easiest path you can step on. There are many tech platforms that gather information about IT companies and freelancers from all over the world. Using these aggregators you’re most likely to hire mobile app developers for a reasonable price. Different platforms are good at finding professionals for different cooperation models and they can be split into three types and some of them were mentioned earlier:

Platforms for hiring full-time employees:

  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Dice

Platforms for hiring freelancers:

  • Youteam
  • Upwork
  • Toptal
  • Fiverr

Platforms for hiring IT vendors:

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • IT Firms
  • 99Firms

How to Hire Mobile App Developers With the Right Skills

According to the CareerBuilder report, three of four employers suffer losses from hiring the wrong person for a position. To prevent you from entering this statistic we’ve prepared several tips that will help you find reliable developers with suitable tech expertise for your app idea.

Tip #1. Determine App’s Platform

The tech expertise of your future development team completely depends on the app you want to create. So it’s vital to decide whether you want a native app for Android, iOS or a cross-platform app built with Flutter or similar technology. Clearing it up, you’ll make the further search much easier.

On our behalf, we can break down hard skills that Android and iOS developers should have into a comprehensive list.

Native app

Native app is a program designed to work on a particular platform or device. In case of mobile app development you have a choice between Android or iOS devices and you need to hire Android or iOS developers respectively.

Hard skills of native app developers

Skils and knowledgesiOS developerAndroid developer

Programming languages




Xcode IDE

Android Studio


Cocoa Touch, UIKit, RESTful, OpenGL, Metal

Retrofit, GSON, EventBus


Core Data framework

Jetpack Compose, Android UI

Additional skills

Understanding of UI/UX design standards, Apple Human Interface Guidelines

Knowledge of Material Design Guidelines

Cross-platform app

A distinctive feature of cross-platform apps is the ability to work on more than one platform or device. For example, a mobile cross-platform app can work smoothly both on iOS and Android. If you need a cross-platform app, you can consider hiring Flutter app developers. Flutter is one of the most reliable and powerful technologies for creating cross-platform apps.

Skills and knowledges of Flutter developer.

Skills and knowledges of Flutter developer.

Tip #2. Examine Portfolio and Case Studies

A well-written portfolio can show you much more than the list of skills. It can reveal all details about previous projects like requirements, challenges and the ways they were solved, industries, tech stacks and more. As a result, you’ll receive a much more transparent picture of previous works and expertise of app programmers for hire.

For example, at Cleveroad we recently worked on a social networking app called Ayoo Dance. We were challenged to create a flexible iOS platform that can unite dancers from all over the world, let them communicate, and compete with each other interactively.

Ayoo Dance interface.

Ayoo Dance interface.

Within seven months a development team created an iOS app based on Swift using AWS cloud service for infrastructure and Node.js for an admin panel.

Ayoo Dance tech stack.

Ayoo Dance tech stack.

Learn more about Ayoo Dance in our detailed case study.

Tip #3. Collect Reviews from Previous Clients

Reviews and ratings are a cornerstone of your final choice of IT vendor. Every platform that provides information about IT contractors has a reviews section where you can learn detailed feedback about each IT company from previous clients.

Mobile app developers reviews and ratings

Check reviews and ratings when hiring mobile app developers.

Pay attention to the overall score, what problems brought clients to the developers, and how the process went. Besides that, you can always contact previous clients via LinkedIn and ask for honest feedback about the cooperation process with the development team and things that may be hidden behind the scenes.

A detailed review on our cooperation from Henrik Loop, Blockbuster's CTO.

Tip #4. Pay Attention to Communication

When looking for mobile app developers overseas, keep in mind that communication difficulties may arise. Whether they’ll be significant or not depends on three factors:

Level of English

The level of English directly affects the overall cooperation efficiency. The development team must clearly understand your requirements, while you should easily receive development reports. A strong difference in English level can easily lead to misunderstandings between both parties and missed deadlines.

When choosing the country where you are going to outsource the project, look for the region with the highest English Proficiency Index (EPI). The higher the score, the greater your chances for hiring app developers with a good English level.

Time zone differences and communication tools

It’ll be quite uncomfortable to communicate with a development team located a thousand miles away. For example, if you’re in New York, USA and your offshore development team is located in Kiev, Ukraine, you’ll face a significant time zone difference. When it’s 8:00 AM in Kyiv, it’s still 1:00 AM in New York. To solve that issue, IT vendors typically schedule all communication sessions with customers to make the most out of meetings and minimize time zone differences.

When negotiating with a vendor, ask a few questions about how the communication process goes at their company and what communication tools will be involved. Tools like Slack, Google Meets, Zoom, and Skype can greatly simplify communication and are quite popular among development companies.

Cultural differences

Many entrepreneurs underestimate this communication aspect. However, cultural aspects can greatly impact the communication between parties and overall work efficiency. Different cultures can be split into high-context and low-context.

If two opposite types start to cooperate, a lot of misunderstanding may occur:

  • High-context culture implies underlying context, meanings, different tones.
  • Low-context culture relies on message clearance, stated explicitly and no room for message interpretation.

To prevent unpleasant communication experience, you should pick a development team from the country with the culture type close to yours.

Cultural differences

Different countries have different cultures.

How to Hire Mobile App Developers Without Tech Expertise?

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you can still hire programmers for app development. All you need to do is attract an independent tech consultant to interview candidates and help you make the final decision. This option will require additional investment, but it’ll quickly pay off with saved time and hired app developers’ quality.

In case you don’t have a budget for hiring tech consultants, we’ve prepared several articles that’ll help you evaluate hard skills of app programmers for hire:

Where to Hire App Developers [Country]

If you want to outsource development or hire developers nearshore or offshore, you must be aware of popular regions that suit best for it. To help you pick the right one, we’ve carried out research and highlighted the development rates in different outsourcing destinations and popular tech hubs.

Eastern Europe

This is the first outsourcing destination that comes to mind when there's a need to hire app developers. Eastern Europe combines a reasonable average hourly rate from $25 to $50 and strong tech proficiency among developers. One of the most famous tech hubs in this region is Ukraine. Its popularity has spread far beyond region borders thanks to globally successful startups like Grammarly, Ajax Systems, GitLab, and many others.

Popular tech hubs in Eastern Europe

CountryAverage rateNumber of companiesDevelopersTech profficiency (According to TopCoder)





6th place





7th place





11th place






Western Europe

Western Europe is known for its comfortable conditions for relocating IT businesses created with the Schengen agreement. Thanks to that, this region is full of experienced IT firms with average hourly rates ranging from $70 to $150.

Popular tech hubs in Western Europe

CountryAverage rateNumber of companiesDevelopersTech profficiency (According to TopCoder)

The UK




19th place





21st place





59th place






South America

This region’s distinctive feature is its geographical proximity to North America, which means a slight time difference between these regions. With average hourly rates from $35 to $50 and rapid IT industry growth, South America is an emerging outsourcing destination.

Popular tech hubs in South America

CountryAverage rateNumber of companiesDevelopersTech profficiency (According to TopCoder)





18th place





28st place





26th place





33rd place


This region is located quite far away from countries that tend to outsource the most. With English Proficiency Index equal 492 and high-context culture, there’s room for improvement. Still, Asia has pretty much to offer. With a large tech talent pool and average hourly rate ranging from $25 to $30, you can consider Asia as a region for app development outsourcing.

Popular tech hubs in Asia

CountryAverage rateNumber of companiesDevelopersTech profficiency (According to TopCoder)





2nd place





1st place





9th place





8th place

Want to Hire App Developers for Your Project?

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

Looking for app developers?

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

Frequently Asked Questions

To hire the best developers for your app project, you should follow a strict step-by-step guide:

  • Step #1. Pick suitable hiring option (freelancers, in-house team, or outsourcing)
  • Step #2. Choose the way of search (referrals, tech events, or online platforms)
  • Step #3. Pick the location of your future development team

There are several popular outsourcing destinations with different rates that should be considered:

  • Eastern Europe ($25 to $50 per hour)
  • Western Europe ($70 to $150 per hour)
  • South America ($35 to $50 per hour)
  • Asia ($25 to $30 per hour)

We've prepared several tips to help you hire mobile app developers with the right skills:

  • Tip #1. Determine what type of mobile app you need (native or cross-platform). Native apps require iOS or Android developers for hire (depending on the platform of choice). Meantime, Flutter developers suit best for cross-platform app development.
  • Tip #2. Examine portfolio and case studies of all candidates to learn more about their expertise.
  • Tip #3. Collect reviews from previous clients.
  • Tip #4. Pay attention to time zone differences, level of English, cultural differences, and communication tools.
  • Tip #5 If you aren't tech-savvy, attract an independent tech consultant to evaluate all candidates.

There are several reliable platforms to find IT company for your project:

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • IT Firms
  • 99Firms

There are several annual tech events that you can visit for hiring mobile app developers:

  • Code Mobile. It’s the iOS and Android tech conference in the UK made by developers for developers.
  • DroidCon. For over ten years, this Berlin event evolved into the largest Android-only developer meeting.
  • Appdevcon. It’s an Amsterdam-based tech meetup for iOS, Android, and cross-platform developers.
  • THAT Conference. This conference holds in Wisconsin Dells, WI and gather a cozy IT community to share expe
  • ÜberConf. It’s a Denver-based conference full of industry-recognized experts and skilled mobile developers.

You should pick outsourcing when:

  • You have serious budget limitations and want to put all your resources into development.
  • In your area quite high talent shortage.
  • You've set strict deadlines that must be met.
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Alicia Thomos
15.04.2021 at 09:12

The blog is helpful for all those who are finding a Mobile App developer. Moon Technolabs is one of the best development company who provide developing services hourly basis also.

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