Hire a Mobile App Developer: How to Distinguish the Best from the Rest
How To Find and Hire Remote Developers / Remote Recruitment

Hire a Mobile App Developer: Can You Spot the Good from the Bad?

Ihor Shcherbinin
VP of Recruiting at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

According to Statista, 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 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 3 years.

We understand that as a business owner, you need to carefully manage costs to optimize your resources. and pursue rapid growth and scalability to stay competitive in the market. 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 a robust enterprise-level software application, it becomes essential to engage a comprehensive development team or consider collaborating with IT staffing agencies such as DistantJob which specialize in sourcing and vetting skilled mobile app developers. These agencies can assist in finding suitable candidates based on your specific needs, saving you time and effort in the hiring process.

When it comes to finding mobile app developers on your own, there are several avenues you can explore. One common approach is to utilize online platforms and job boards that specialize in connecting businesses with skilled developers. Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal provide access to a wide pool of developers, allowing you to browse through their profiles, review their past work, and assess their rates.

Hiring the right developer for your app development needs is crucial, and it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the cost and resources involved so we created this guide for you, where we cover everything you need to know to hire the best mobile app developers in 2023. 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

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 which 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

Besides language knowledge, other technical skills are essential such as version control (with Git being the most popular example). Depending on the specificity of your project, others may be required, and it’s important to establish them before looking for candidates.

2. Soft Skills

Soft skills are more difficult to pinpoint and check for in a candidate when recruiting for app development but are equally important.

Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll want developers to exhibit some combination of:

  • Effective Communication
  • Public Speaking
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
  • Patience and Open-mindedness
  • Time Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Accountability
  • Creativity
  • Leadership

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.

How To Hire a Mobile App Developer in 5 Effective Steps

Finding app developers is easy, but hiring them is another story. You’ll want to develop good hiring strategies and apply effective methods to have the best chance of hiring top talent. Here are our steps to ease your hiring process.

1. Determine Your Employment Model

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. However, there are also websites that can help you find the right people for the development work you need, such as Fiverr and Toptal.

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.

IT Staffing Services

If you’re looking for more permanent staff to help you with your app-building ventures, there are three main ways to go about it, each with increasingly more management involved on the company’s end:

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, or Glassdoor can help companies 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. However, finding out if the person is right for the position is still the responsibility of the hiring staff of the company.

Hire Internally

Recruitment efforts on behalf of the company can also be carried out independently, but these will take a heavy toll on the company’s hiring staff. They will be responsible for maintaining and managing a database of all candidates for a given position while also being responsible for filtering and assessing which are the most suitable for the job.

3. Assess Your Candidates

After deciding how to build your development team, it’s time to look for candidates. You’ll want the best possible people to work for you, so it’s important to establish a good hiring strategy.

Having a good interview structure is critical to find the best candidates suited to the job easily. Work with the rest of your development team and establish exactly what you are looking for, and then ask questions to your potential candidates that test those skills.

If you want to test out their technical skills, performing mobile app developers hiring challenges is a good way to do so. If you want to test soft skills, a good way to test their capabilities can be done by conducting a pair programming interview.

You can mix and match these interviews as you see fit to find the best candidates possible for your openings.

4. Define Your Budget

Much like their responsibilities, a developer’s payroll will be based on seniority and the complexity of your project, thus the skills set you’re after.

If you’re wondering, “how much does it cost to develop a mobile app?” we have an extensive article to help calculate these costs.

5. Onboarding

You keep hearing about onboarding and might wonder why is this an important step. Well by onboarding the new coder you ensure a smooth and successful transition into the workplace. It helps the new employee become familiar with the company and its culture, as well as the tools and processes they need to complete their work. Onboarding also provides the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from senior team members, allowing the new hire to gain valuable insight into the new job and the organization.

Hiring App Developers: What is the Cost in 2023?

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 Salary.com)

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!

Ihor Shcherbinin

Ihor, is the VP of Recruiting at DistantJob. He specializes in sourcing and placing top remote developers for North American companies. His expertise covers the entire recruiting cycle, from pinpointing job needs to finalizing hires. Known for his skill in remote staffing solutions and offshore team integration, Ihor excels in matching the best tech talents with U.S. organizations. His approach to virtual developer hiring is marked by insightful candidate selection and strategic offer negotiation, ensuring the right fit for every role.

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

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