How to Hire the Best Web Developers: What to Look for and Where to Find Them
Online businesses need talented developers to create amazing customer experiences that beat the competition.
But finding and hiring high-quality developers can be challenging, costly, and time-consuming. Currently, there are tens of thousands of web developers available to hire, but the quality of these developers varies greatly.
If you have tried to find a quality web developer for your business, you know how difficult it can be to receive applications from candidates who possess the skills and experience you need to take your business to the next level.
Define your project and scope of work
Before you can hire anyone, you will need to know what exactly they will be doing. When it comes to hiring a web developer, this is much harder than it sounds. Not only do you need to be aware of the different types of developers, but you need to know the exact skills your task requires.
If you don’t clearly define this at the start of your project, you can expect quite a few problems down the line. Not defining this can lead to anything from having to hire more people with different skills to massively going over the budget to developing dysfunctional websites.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, spend some time coming up with exactly what you want from your developer hire.
Outline the type of projects they will work on, what their workload and schedule will look like, who will help onboard them, and what you hope to gain by bringing them into your team.
Think about the project or projects that you need a developer for, and ask whether the work can be done by someone else already on staff. If not, maybe you could find a short-term freelance developer to complete the work for you.
This is a crucial step that will specify all the other details you need when looking for a developer: scope and length of work, exact skillset, who will manage the developer in your organization, what the deliverable will be, and if the work will be measured by any KPIs.
Difference between web development and web design
The first thing to consider is the difference between a designer and developer. Both might be needed in your development project, but they’ll each contribute fundamentally different skills.
A web designer will work on the design elements of your site: creating the mockup of the look of the website, color palette, typography, any graphic design icons, and the overall style of the website.
Rarely will a designer turn that into actual code. That role will usually be the front-end developer. Front-end developers take all of the design mockups and builds them into the actual website.
Rarely will a front-end developer create any actual functionality of the site.
If your website will have a form to signup and create a profile, the designer will design the look of it, front-end developer will take the designer’s mockup and make that into the visual code, but it will be the back-end developer who will build the actual functionality of registering the user.
Back-end developers build the actual functionality of a website with a programming language and then assign it to the front-end code to display it on the website.
To illustrate the differences between the three, let’s look at the scenarios in which you would use a specific type of designer or developer.
When to use a designer?
It might seem like designers simply develop pretty looking graphics and icons. While that’s certainly the case with some web designers, a great designer is also fluent in UX (user experience).
These designers understand the intended end use of the interface they’re designing, then apply design principles, color schemes and graphic design to efficiently display the information the user needs on to the screen. Some designers specialize in different design elements, such as typography or illustration.
Depending on the project and the skill of the designer, the designer might also apply psychology to leave the end user in awe of the product.
This is well within the power of a great designer, but such professionals are extremely expensive and require other professionals to deliver — such as product designers, interaction designers and more.
This means that for an average web site project, you might hire one graphic designer to get any icons designed. And sometimes, you don’t even need that. There are plenty of sites to get stock icons so your budget might be best spent elsewhere.
Perhaps the most famous such style guide is the Bootstrap CSS framework. It’s a pre-set design made into small snippets of CSS code that developers can use to quickly get interfaces built without the help of a designer.
If you’re ready to hire a designer, check out our guide on setting a budget for a quality graphic design work.
Do you need a front-end developer?
- Implement what the designer has come up with
- Work on any design functionality your website will have
- Work on any client-side functions that your website requires
An example of design functionality would be if your website requires a menu that opens once it’s clicked or any ecommerce functions, for instance.
Client-side functions are a bit more complex for a non-technical person to understand, but it comes down to the way modern websites are built.
It’s very common for modern sites to load all at once and then let the user browse in between the available views or pages, without loading anything again. This is called client-side rendering, the most common client-side function.
In other words, when a visitor visits a website, the server passes on all the code of the website to the browser. It’s then the browser that processes everything on each click the user makes. The front-end developer needs to set this all up and implement it, pointing each page or view of the app to the correct piece of front-end code.
It’s very likely that a project will require a front-end developer. The good news for the average web project is that most front-end developers you will typically find in online marketplaces will also be able to put together a simple design using any of the CSS frameworks.
When does a project require back-end developer?
You will need to hire a back-end developer if your project will require the storing of any information.
For instance, let’s look at the scenario of a user having the ability to sign up. The back-end developer will design functionality that enters the submitted information into the database, and then displays it in any other relevant pages or applies some sort of processing to it.
If your website will allow users to submit any type of information and then see it displayed elsewhere on the site, you will need a back-end developer to build this functionality. This information can be anything, from forms submitted, buttons clicked or specific pages visited.
A Facebook “like” is information submitted to Facebook by a user, then displayed elsewhere on the site — it’s the back-end developer who built this.
There are different languages that a back-end developer will use, such as Python, PHP, Ruby on Rails and many more. A back-end developer will usually specialize in one or two languages.
It’s also common for the back-end developer to use pre-made code snippets to increase the speed of the development and lower the costs. Two such languages are PHP and Ruby on Rails, both of which we have helpful guides for you to check out:
- How to hire a PHP developer
- How to hire a Ruby on Rails developer
What is a full stack developer?
A full stack developer is able to develop both the front-end and back-end code to make a fully functional website. These developers are pretty rare, but a lot of developers on online marketplaces throw this term around to increase their exposure.
In reality, it’s usually someone who knows a framework or two for back-end code and also knows a CSS framework for the front-end. Technically, these are full-stack developers and they will be able to deliver on a simple project.
But when it comes to the full scope of a complex website, it will be extremely rare for one person to know the full tech stack required: setting up and maintaining the servers, databases, back-end programming, handling data and finally the front-end development.
So certainly consider a full-stack developer if it’s a simple project you’re looking to build. However, if it’s anything complex, don’t fall into a trap of thinking that one developer will be able to deliver on everything your project needs.
Full-time vs. freelancer or a contractor developer
When you have an idea of the type of developer you need, it’s important to consider timing and hours needed.
This is why it’s extremely important to think through your project before you start, write down the project management process, and consider who will manage your developer.
If you’re simply looking to get a static website with some information up and running, it will likely be a one-time project-based hire. If your project will require maintenance or adding in new functions, you might consider a full-time developer.
If the project will require different types of developers, such as front-end and back-end, it’s likely that you will have one lead developer who works on the project full time and will let you know if any other skills are needed. It’s generally a good idea to have a lead developer, as such a developer will usually also manage any other freelance developers that you will need.
It’s possible that your lead developer will be a contractor — someone who works on your project exclusively for 3-6 months, yet remains a third party to the business and invoices for work completed.
If you’re looking to hire a WordPress developer, you can usually hire someone for a one-time project. They set everything up according to your instructions and you take over managing the contents of the site.
When hiring from online marketplaces or with international talent in mind, your developer will almost certainly be remote. This is great, as they can work their own hours and don’t have to commute to any offices. This expands your talent pool and can cut costs on things like office space.
Source: HUBSTAFF.COM |How to Hire the Best Web Developers: What to Look for and Where to Find Them