what to look for in app developers
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What to Look For in App Developers for Your Team

Laura MacPherson June 18, 2020

Not just anyone makes a good app developer who will be part of a team that accomplishes great things together. It takes a certain kind of person with specific skills to thrive as part of a development team. As a small product design studio, every single hiring decision we make has an impact on our company’s success. Here’s what to look for in app developers for your team, based on what we’ve learned through our own hiring process here at Designli.

Technical Abilities

It goes without saying that when we hire a developer, we look for someone with the technical skills we need. This may include an understanding of various coding languages, database design, security, and other areas. We look for people with deep expertise in the particular area we need to fill, rather than a jack-of-all-trades. It’s great if a developer is familiar with multiple aspects of development, but the hiring decision is based on their technical chops in the area that we need. 

Broad Experience with Startups

A big percentage of our client base consists of startups. While startups generate a lot of exciting energy, they come with a few challenges, including a rapidly-shifting product concept. That’s part of what we do to help our clients — work with them to think through all the aspects of a successful product that will meet the needs of their particular users. We need developers who are on board with the unique needs that startups have. Here are two things we specifically look for.

  • Problem-solving and analytical skills — There aren’t rule books for how product ideas should be developed. A developer must be comfortable finding a way to do what’s required and solve challenges. Initiative is encouraged.
  • Tolerance for change — Things change quickly and frequently at startups, and our developers understand this. Working with developers who can go with the flow allows us to help our startup clients to be nimble and responsive. 

Excellent Portfolio

You probably wouldn’t buy a car before test driving it, and the same goes for hiring an app developer. We take a look at the portfolio of any app developer we consider hiring, and we take their apps for a test drive. We expect developers to have a solid understanding of UX design and even further, an understanding of behavioral psychology and design. Apps should be well-designed, appealing, easy-to-use, and enticing enough that users want to keep coming back for more. Behavioral design helps to supplement UX design by leveraging scientific findings and principles of human behavior to drive continued usage. 

Understanding of Business Strategy

Developers not only need to know how to code, but they also need an understanding of business strategy. In order to make the best technical decisions to delight users, developers need to understand things like business goals, user personas, and monetization strategies. All of these things play into the design and development of an app.

Culture Fit

When bringing on any new team member, culture fit is another important requirement. At Designli, we look for app developers with a strong work ethic who can communicate well and have a collaborative approach. We seek developers with attention to detail and an understanding that quality matters in everything we do. And that includes managing deadlines — we do what we say we will do. If we commit to delivery, we honor that commitment and we hire people who understand the importance of that.

Innate Curiosity

Technologies are constantly changing, and developers need to keep up with the changes by continuing their learning. This also includes staying abreast of trends in the industry and learning how new developments can add value to our clients’ projects. They also need to be curious to seek out the best solutions to solve problems. We encourage developers to ask questions throughout the process so they can determine the best solutions for our clients. 

Every person counts when it comes to a startup or a small product design studio like ours. We take great care to hire people that are a good fit for our team and our clients. This focus has been key in our ability to build an industry-leading company that our clients love and recommend. With these qualities in mind, you’ll know what to look for in app developers for your own team.

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