What to Look for in a Developer When You Aren’t a Techie

When you have a vision for a development project, but no technical skills to make it happen, engaging a freelance developer can be a great solution.

But how do you go about doing that?

In this post, we’ll look at four in-demand types of developers: WordPress, web, mobile, and software. We’ll start with the basics to give you a good starting point about what to look for in a developer.

1. The WordPress Developer

Content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress are by far the easiest way for anybody to set up a website. However, free and premium themes can only take you so far. Sometimes you need a little more customization to get the look, feel, and performance you want.

That’s where a WordPress developer comes in. They generally have a firm grasp of the front-end web fundamentals: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. They’ll also know their way around PHP, the language WordPress is written in. They can often develop custom features for your site, know which plugins to install for SEO and other perks, and can help you maintain and secure your web application.

There are many other content management systems to choose from, including Squarespace and Magento; if you’re setting up an ecommerce site, a platform such as Shopify may be more fitting. Much of the same technical expertise applies regardless of the specific platform.

Learn more: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a WordPress Developer?

2. The Web Developer

CMSs are great, but sometimes you need full customizability and control over your web app to bring your vision to life. Other times, you may use a CMS to handle content but need a more robust infrastructure for the rest of your site.

The role of a web developer can be divided into two parts:

  • Front-end, which is everything you see and interact with in your browser, and
  • Back-end, which is the data management and business logic that supports your app behind the scenes.

On the front-end, look for strong web fundamentals and familiarity with a JavaScript framework such as React. On the back-end, focus on database management systems such as MySQL and server-side frameworks such as Node.js.

Web projects tend to be structured front to back as a technology stack. Depending on your project, you may need a front-end developer, a back-end developer, or both.

Alternatively, a full-stack developer may be able to help you organize a project across the entire stack. Theoretically, a full-stack developer understands both front- and back-end development. In reality, however, full-stack developers tend to specialize in either the front-end or back-end of a stack. So the best approach for someone who doesn’t know anything about web development is to hire a senior web developer (or full-stack developer, depending on how they’ve positioned their business) who can help you identify the unique needs of your project.

Learn more: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Web Developer?

3. The Mobile Developer

We live in an increasingly mobile-first world. From smartphones to tablets, a mobile developer can help you develop apps for a range of devices. The two major camps for mobile app development are Android and Apple. (Learn more about how these two platforms compare.)

On the Android side, developers typically have strong Java skills. Kotlin is another programming language that has become popular for Android development.

On the iOS side, look for a developer with a solid background in Swift. More senior iOS developers may also have a background in Objective-C (the predecessor to Swift for iOS development).

If you’re seeking cross-platform support, there are many frameworks available that allow your team to use one language to code for both iOS and Android. For example, React Native lets JavaScript developers create near-native performing apps for both platforms.

Learn more: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mobile Developer?

4. The Software Developer

We’ve covered web (including WordPress) and mobile developers, but what if you’re looking to build something else, like a desktop application? Maybe you’re trying to create a video game, or perhaps you’re looking for someone who can program an Internet of Things (IoT) device.

The type of developer you’re looking for has a lot to do with what you’re trying to build. Freelancers will typically brand themselves as software developers or engineers. Since these are umbrella terms that cover a broad range of expertise, it’s important to tune your search to the specific skills needed to bring a particular project to life.

Here are some common examples of software projects that fall outside the typical domain of web and mobile applications:

  • Video games: Common skills include low-level languages such as C and C++ as well as platform-specific languages such as Swift for iOS. But what you’re really looking for to build a game are game development engines such as Unity or Unreal.
  • IoT: In addition to low-level languages such as C and C++, look for someone who’s familiar with major IoT platforms such as AWS IoT, Google Cloud IoT, or IBM Watson.
  • Windows desktop applications: When you build for Windows, it’s all about the .NET Framework for top-level desktop applications and Win32 API for more low-level control of the hardware.

Learn more: How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Software Developer?

Want more information? Check out this post Not a Developer? 9 Things to Know When Hiring One and learn more about tips, skills, and trends in the Hiring Headquarters.

The post What to Look for in a Developer When You Aren’t a Techie appeared first on Upwork Blog.

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