How to Hire an App Developer in 2024? The Only Guide You Need
Hiring & recruiting developers

Hiring an App Developer? Can You Spot the Good from the Bad?

Sharon Koifman
Founder and Remote CEO at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

The global mobile app market is projected to generate a staggering $939 billion in revenue by the close of 2023, and finding and hiring experienced app developers has become increasingly challenging. We’ve been tech recruiters for more than 15 years now and experienced a huge demand in headhunting for remote app developers for our clients in the past three years.

As a business owner, you need to manage costs to optimize your resources carefully to pursue rapid growth and scalability. If you are in the initial stages of your project and have limited financial resources, opting for a freelance app developer can be a suitable choice. This allows you to leverage the expertise of an individual developer while staying within your budget.

However, when undertaking the development of an enterprise-class application, you should consider having an in-house development team, focusing entirely on your app, or hiring a full-fledged agency to build the app from the ground up.

But how would one go about hiring someone to develop their app? Where do you find the agencies specializing in IOS or Android development that can keep everything under the same roof?

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to hire the right app developer. You’ll learn which skills to look for, the steps to follow for finding the right iOS or Android developers, and how to protect your ideas, ensuring you make the best hiring decision.

Let’s start with the key skills you need to look for in your new teammate.

Key Skills To Look For When You Hire a Mobile App Developer

When hiring an app developer, focusing on specific technical skills is crucial for ensuring a robust and scalable MVP. There are two major categories of skills that an app developer should have: Technical Skills and Soft Skills.

1. Technical Skills

Technical skills are fairly straightforward. An app developer should be proficient with the technology of the mobile platforms you want your app to run on. Usually, this will involve, at the very least, iOS development and Android.

To develop native apps, you’ll need to hire a mobile app developer experienced in the language of choice of the platform you want your app to run on.

PlatformMain Programming Language
iOS / iPadOSSwift

However, new technologies have surfaced that allow developers to write code for mobile applications once and deploy it to any compatible platform, called hybrid app development frameworks.

The languages used here are more tailored toward web technologies.

FrameworkMain Programming Language
React NativeJavaScript
Apache CordovaJavaScript

If your app incorporates AI features, proficiency in machine learning frameworks and a solid understanding of AI principles are essential. Experience with cross-platform development tools like React Native or Flutter can also be beneficial, especially if you plan to expand your app across multiple platforms eventually. Additionally, familiarity with version control systems like Git helps maintain code integrity and supports collaborative development.

2. Soft Skills

Prioritize developers who not only possess these technical proficiencies but also demonstrate a keen problem-solving ability and a passion for continuous learning, as the tech landscape is always evolving. These skills form the backbone of a competent mobile developer capable of transforming your vision into a functional and user-friendly app.

Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll want developers to have good communication skills. Especially important if you come from a non-technical background. Your developers need to explain technical concepts in understandable terms.

Roles And Responsibilities

A mobile app developer’s role and responsibilities will differ based on their seniority.

  • A junior mobile app developer will usually write low-impact code, such as unit tests and small-scale changes to the app. With the guidance of more experienced developers, they will quickly grow and eventually start developing systems independently.
  • A mid-level mobile app developer is autonomous enough to develop systems (or at least parts of systems) on their own and will usually answer to a senior developer who will guide them through the process.
  • A senior mobile app developer will be responsible for designing the architecture of an app, developing its more intricate systems, and mentoring younger and less experienced developers.

Hire a Mobile App Developer in 5 Effective Steps

Finding app developers is easy, but vetting them is another story. Here are our steps to ease your hiring process.

1. Determine Your Employment Model Based on Your Budget

When hiring a developer, the most important factor to establish is where you want to find your candidates. In this case, there are mainly three options you can choose from:

Freelancing – Hiring freelancers can be cost-effective in the short term, but they are usually a temporary solution. They can be employed alone or in small teams for small-scale projects but are usually inefficient to manage when in large numbers.

Lowest costs out of all the options.It can be hard to manage in greater numbers.
A flexible solution that you can opt-in and out of as you please.You’ll have to set up a good communication avenue with your freelancers to keep track of their development efforts and help them with any issues along the way.
Comparing freelancers’ skill sets to find the best candidate for a specific project can be hard.

Outsourcing – These teams are also considered temporary solutions since they are contracted app developers that work on a specific project. However, they have a greater advantage over freelancers in terms of teamwork since these are usually teams accustomed to working together. When hiring these teams, you will have little to no control over their work and must communicate with them through a project manager.

Outsourced teams are built as needed for a specific project and optimized for efficiency.The team is assembled in-house, and you won’t have direct access to them. You must mediate through a project manager, thus impacting communication between parties.
While not as cheap as freelancers, outsourcing is still a very cost-efficient solution.Depending on where you hire your outsourcing house in relation to your location, different time-zones can lead to further strains on communication that can impact project milestones.
Easier to establish a baseline for the level of quality of your finished product, providing more accountability.

In-House Team – Building an in-house team is the best approach if you’re serious about developing an app and providing long-term support. You’ll have full control over the app’s development and a team that can provide support for it after launch and build other apps in the future. It is more costly than the other options, but it is by far the most future-proof, especially if you hire remotely.

You have full control over the people who work for you and the development of your projects.The costlier option out of all three. However, some of these costs can be lowered by hiring remotely.
The team you build now will be able not only to provide support for the current project but will also be ready to tackle other projects in the future.
The best option when working on projects with sensitive data avoiding the more common risks of leaks and security breaches.

2. Find The Best Hiring Source

Knowing what kind of hiring you’ll go with is just a part of the hiring process. Finding the candidates, given your hiring method, is also important. So, where does one find tech candidates? There are a few options, depending on what you’re looking for:

Job boards

Freelancers can be found in many places, and sometimes all it takes is a stroke of luck or a good recommendation from a peer. While Fiverr and Upwork offer vast options, use them wisely. Look for freelancers with high ratings, solid portfolios, and experience relevant to your project’s needs. Be specific in your job postings to attract candidates passionate about app development.

Outsource agencies

The choice of which outsourcing house to pick will largely depend on your preference to stay local or go international. A local outsourcing company can be advantageous when dealing with a highly localized or geographically-locked project, but international companies can give you more competitive rates. You can use websites such as GoodFirms to help you find the right team to tackle your app development projects, independent of location. These can help you find candidates with the specific skills you need, though they may come with higher costs.

Remote Recruitment Agencies such as DistantJob can help you find the right people for any project, given the parameters needed for the job. These will usually tailor candidates to a company’s specific needs while keeping in mind the company’s company culture to increase the odds of a good and long working relationship. The great advantage here is that you don’t need to assess their skills personally since the agency will do that for you and present you only the best results.

Social channels

Online Professional Social Platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, or even Reddit can be a great place to look for candidates (or attract them with job listings) among a large array of professionals present on these platforms while also giving you useful information to compare their job experiences and skills.

3. Assess Your Candidates

After deciding how to build your development team, it’s time to look for candidates.

The initial step is finding someone who not only believes in your project but is also willing to invest their passion into making it a reality beyond just the financial motivation. Opting for a developer who demonstrates hard work and dedication can often outweigh pure skill alone.

Ideally, you’re looking for a bit of a full-stack developer who can integrate various components seamlessly. It’s crucial to employ a rigorous vetting system to ensure you’re hiring the best app developers. This involves reviewing their portfolio and specifically the apps they’ve previously developed to gauge their experience and expertise.

Structured interviews and hiring challenges can effectively assess a candidate’s technical abilities, while pair programming interviews can offer insights into their soft skills and teamwork capabilities. By tailoring the interview process to evaluate both technical prowess and soft skills, you’ll enhance your chances of finding the most compatible developers for your project.

Remember, the goal is to assemble a team that is not only skilled but also shares your vision and commitment to the project’s success.

4. Protect Your Idea

To protect your intellectual property and ideas during this phase, it’s essential to have the developer sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before starting the trial project. An NDA ensures that any confidential information shared during this period remains protected, giving you peace of mind as you evaluate their suitability for your project without risking your valuable assets. This step is crucial in making an informed decision about whether to proceed with a more significant commitment.

5. Trial Projects

Before fully committing to a long-term engagement with an app developer, it’s wise to initiate the collaboration with a small trial project. This approach allows you to assess the developer’s technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall compatibility with your project’s goals and team dynamics in a real-world setting. The trial project should be representative of the work they would be doing, yet small enough to complete within a short timeframe. This method offers a practical insight into their work ethic, communication skills, and the quality of their output.

Hiring App Developers: What is the Cost in 2024?

The cost of hiring an app developer per hour can vary widely, depending on the developer’s experience, the complexity of the project, the type of platform you are developing for, and the country you are hiring in.

In the US, app developers can charge anywhere from $20-80 per hour, depending on their level of experience and the scope of the project. A more experienced developer may charge up to $150 an hour.

On the other hand, developers from countries with a lower cost of living may charge less than $15 an hour. When considering the cost of hiring an app developer, it is important to find the right balance between quality and cost.

If you’re hiring remote developers (which is becoming increasingly common), you might want to check the table below for their yearly salary.

Junior Mobile App Developer$70,078$8,331$57,997$63,187$20,507
Mobile App Developer$90,040$12,765$66,813$72,364$26,822
Senior Mobile App Developer$125,854$28,104$90,463$100,877$42,777
(Values sourced from

How DistantJob Can Help

Hiring mobile developers can be challenging, but as long as you know the best methods and hiring strategies to apply to your situation, it can be an easy process. We should know, we have been finding developers for our clients for more than a decade.

If you want the best app coders without going through all the hassle, why not try DistantJob?
At DistantJob, we have a very rigorous process to select the developers we work with. If you want expert mobile developers in iOS, Android, web technologies, or C#, we have the right people for you to hire. You’ll quickly have great developers to work for you, which fits perfectly with your company culture. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today online or visit us in our Montreal office!

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman, the founder and remote president at DistantJob, specializes in recruiting top remote developers and spearheading remote workforce strategies. Sharon's approach combines cutting-edge remote recruitment practices with a deep commitment to building effective, globally distributed teams.

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Let’s talk about scaling up your team at half the cost!

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