“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.” – Steve Jobs
What is a career? How do you know when you have found your dream job? What makes you wake up every day and think about new things you can discover? From your answers to the previous questions, you can use something similar to determine if you have found the right developer for you.
Like many careers, a developer has different specialties. In today’s digital age, there are probably more than three types of developers. However, the prominent ones are software developers, mobile application developers and web developers. The differences among these may not seem obvious to some, but the main thing is the medium of what you want to be built out.
Software development contains both web developers and mobile application developers. Software can be run in a desktop, web or mobile phone. For a mobile app, first figure out who your target audience is: Android or iOS users? Since I am not a mobile app developer yet, read Hiring a Developer and What You Should Know.
Some of the tips mentioned in that article also apply for web development. Depending on what you want to be built, make sure the developer has the programming knowledge & experience in the languages and tools it requires. How to know what a developer should know? Do your research first.
Besides knowing what languages and tools are needed, also ask about past experiences:
- Ask if they can show you their portfolio and what their role is in developing those websites
- What kind of clients do they typically work with? (Everyone has preferences.)
- Since it will be difficult to know the back-end code quality as a non-developer, instead pay attention to how well details are executed such as navigation flow, interaction, call to action buttons or simple to understand feedback for errors
- Though this is mainly a designer’s responsibility, the look and feel of the website is a front-end developer’s objective to make clean and crisp as possible. In other words, how well does it match the design?
- Look over the developer’s case study and testimonials to get a glimpse of their process and how well they work with their clients. (Do you not want to work with a developer you can trust and get along with?)
- Ask for their process. How much involvement do you need and what form of communication do they use? (It is necessary for the client to be part of the entire process to give guidance.)
- Ask for a development link to see the progress of your website. (Nothing should be shown to you at the very end only.)
- Finally, ask for their estimated costs and duration of what it takes to develop your type of website. Every website is different so you will have to explain a few details to get a quote. (Recommend sharing your big picture goals for your website.)
Outputs and Results
- Design Files – coming from the designer to be given to client and developer
- Wireframes and PSD/Illustrator files of the design
- Style Guide: color scheme, fonts, layouts, and usage
- Images: Logo, icons, graphics, etc
- Proposal / Agreement that outlines the timeline of the process and goals
- Access to Development Link and paths in your Live Site
- Content Types, Database Relationships and Theme Files info for better future management
- Optional: Access to tasks management software to request for changes
- Website – Live and admin access to website
The information outlined above is reasonable expectations for a developer. If some parts are not being answered well, ask why? There is a reason for everything.
I heard of horror stories from some clients that their previous developer did not communicate with them throughout every phase and only kept postponing the deadline. Months go by and no progress has taken place. To avoid that, ask for the development link to see the progress of your website. If the developer is hesitant, be wary.
From Steve Job’s quote, if the developer truly enjoys what he/she is doing and cares about quality, it will show in his/her portfolio. If something is missing, then keep looking and do not waste both of your time. But also know that no one is perfect. All you can do is to avoid as much problems from occurring by following the suggestions above. Who likes problems?