How to find an app developer and a suitable one at that?

This is one of the first questions that will arise once you decide to create an app. We live in the digital era, and technology will only evolve. A successful mobile app could be a critical factor in boosting your business; after all, it made a total revenue of $318 billion last year.

Whether you are launching your startup or would like to digitize your current business, you will definitely need to hire an app developer to accomplish your business goals.

This question seems easier if you know what to do step by step.

Our article aims to save you time by figuring out how to hire app developer you will enjoy working with and providing tips that cover the following information:

  • Pros & cons of 4 options to choose from when you hire app developers
  • Benefits of hiring a dedicated app development team
  • Key criteria which help to hire a suitable mobile app developer
  • Questions to ask in order to detect the perfect candidate
  • Common mistakes during the process of hiring app developers

Let’s start right away trying to find IT specialists to build an app for your business needs.

Hire an App Developer: 4 Options to Choose From

There are different options for finding your perfect candidate, namely:

  • Hire mobile developers in-house, locally
  • Hire app developers from a local IT company
  • Hire a freelance developer
  • IT outsourcing with dedicated dev teams or staff augmentation

Let’s now outline the options with the pros & cons when you choose an app developer for hire. The best choice depends on your business goals, whether you need to start a new project or just need simple IT staff augmentation to perform extra tech tasks.

Option 1: Hire Mobile App Developers In-House

The first option is to hire mobile app developer internally. This variant is best when you already have a project, and there is a solid budget and well-settled SDLC (software development lifecycle), but you require extra specialists.

Most suitable for small or mid-sized companies.

Based on your project, you may find that one developer is not enough. An application development team usually consists of 5-7 professionals like the Quality Assurance Engineer, Project Manager, iOS and/or Android mobile app developers, backend (server-side) developer, and the UX/UI Designer to cover all areas needed to develop a great application.

The benefits are that you can completely control the app development process and have close daily communication and cooperation.

On the contrary, this is the most expensive and time-consuming variant. Consider additional expenses for office space, equipment, and taxes, as well as the organization of HR procedures, and the development process itself.

Pros Cons
Easy communication It takes a longer time to hire the perfect candidate
Complete control over the process Costs more to employ new specialists
Deep knowledge of the tasks/project Longer time for employee integration
Proper fit for the company/IT department Extra costs for equipment, office space, taxes, and other perks

Option 2: Hire App Developers from a Local Boutique Team

Another option, which in fact, saves you a considerable amount of time for the organizational process, is to hire app developers from a local boutique IT company.

Again, this option is a good variant for small or mid-sized projects.

This option costs slightly less, but still requires large investments. The average rate of an app developer for hire in the US ranges from $100-$150 per hour. Double this sum by the number of app programmers, and the final bill could total around $100,000+ per small app project.

Pros Cons
Less time to start a project & assemble a team A larger investment is required if finding an IT vendor locally
Greater chance of meeting deadlines Limitations when sourcing experts only in the local market
Cultural fit of the team of mobile app developers

Option 3. Hiring an App Developer on a Freelance Website

Another alternative to pick from when you decide to hire app developers is via different online freelance sites like Upwork,, Fiverr, etc.

Usually, these resources represent the cheapest mobile app development services, which is the single benefit of this category.

You should choose app developers for hire from a freelance platform only for simple or short-term tasks and when you have a limited budget.

The biggest issue is the huge communication gap between the freelance app developer and the client. As well, all the management and the entire monitoring process lies on the client’s shoulders.

A general recommendation is to always check the reviews, tech tests, and completed projects of freelance app developers. Though, be aware that many can show a non-existent portfolio and tests do not always show the bigger picture of the developer’s capabilities.

If you plan to hire an app developer from a freelance website, remember that there are sometimes ghost mobile app developers who hide behind low prices. There are potential risks with uncertainty and security, as these mobile developers may sometimes suddenly disappear without any explanation.

Please note the following weak points when hiring mobile app developers this way:

  • Freelancers are not likely to provide a turnkey app solution, as they concentrate mostly on technically performing tasks
  • Freelancers do not follow application development methodologies or use project management tools
  • Freelancers may not keep track of your app project deadlines
  • Freelancers should be trustworthy to ensure that they do not use your app’s code, distribute materials, or perform other inappropriate actions

Lastly, if you are dissatisfied with the end result, you will need to start the process all over and hire an app developer again. In most cases, the code may lack sufficient quality to be used a second time. What might initially seem cheap, may turn out to be rather resource-intensive.

Pros Cons
Way cheaper when compared with any other option You are completely reliant on the developer and their work
No extra costs are required (e.g. taxes, equipment) Communication can be limited due to language barriers
Able to check out specialists worldwide with different/ niche tech capabilities No control over the process or deadlines
A large pool of mobile app developers with different specializations There are fewer chances for a cultural fit/match
Possible disclosure of sensitive information about the project

Option 4. IT Outsourcing Services, Dedicated Mobile App Development Agencies

Last but not least, you can turn to a dedicated development team like MLSDev. IT outsourcing is the process when you hire mobile app developers on a contractual basis.

These firms provide full-fledged IT outsourcing services starting from app project concept finalization to the app’s release and further support & maintenance. The model allows business owners to create effective solutions and keep operational expenses down.

The model is suitable for projects of any size and with any business requirements. Check out for more detail on how to outsource website development, in particular.

At the same time, depending on the region, these teams can have a very good correlation between the price and quality. For instance, Eastern Europe is well-known for its highly capable mobile app developers. An hourly rate of an app developer for hire, let's say in Ukraine, is approximately $30-$50 per hour, meaning that the average price per app project will start at about $50,000+.

Moreover, these firms usually have a long-running history, 15+ years of app development outsourcing experience with developers that are in-house employees. Due to harsh competition, they value their reputation, brand, and clients.

Pros Cons
Best way to find the necessary expertise Lack of communication, in some cases
Great price-quality ratio compared to all other options Possibility of having a cultural gap with mobile app developers in some countries
Possibility to find unique tech expertise worldwide Costs are higher than for hiring a freelance developer
No extra costs are required (e.g., taxes, equipment)
Quicker hiring process
Project management and business analysis can be included in the service
Clear guarantees and signed NDA agreements to keep project information secure
Guarantees to meet deadlines
A project can be easily scalable with new objectives

MLSDev is a dedicated web and mobile app agency that has been providing software development services since 2009. We definitely know how to reach our client’s goals and deliver high-quality quality products to their end-users.

As an example, check out our cooperation with McDonald's where we have implemented a loyalty application for the customers of the brand in the Baltic region.

McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App
McDonald’s Baltics: Loyalty App

Extra Tip: Beware of Body Shop Companies for App Developers

Along with the growth of the global IT market, lots of shady development firms have appeared. These teams typically provide low-priced application development services. They may appear similar to dedicated teams from IT outsourcing companies like MLSDev.

How do they manage to provide low-priced services to build an app?

The majority of these companies underpay their employees and use amateur or recent graduates as cheap app developers for their coding services.

Thus, do not be surprised if your project ends up having deplorable code quality and performance. Think twice before you hire mobile app developer from body shop firms.

Continue reading this article. We explain how to find an app developer and identify a great vendor to whom you can outsource your app development.

Are you searching for professional and capable app developers to hire?

Reach out to our team and we will provide you with a free consultation and explain to you all ins and outs of the software development procedure. We will assist you in finding the necessary specialists based on your criteria as well as calculate the cost of their work.

Get your consultation for free

Benefits of Hiring App Developers as a Dedicated Team

In this section, we provide a bigger picture in terms of the benefits received once you hire mobile app developers in the form of dedicated service from an IT outsourcing company.

Reasons Behind Hiring a Dedicated App Development Team
Reasons Behind Hiring a Dedicated App Development Team

The advantages of choosing app developers for hire from an IT outsourcing vendor include:

  • Allocation of app developers with necessary tech capabilities
  • Allocation of tech specialists with expertise in a particular field
  • Great quality-cost ratio
  • Time savings
  • Business support
  • Understanding user experience
  • Risk management
  • Project timeline management
  • Post-launch app support and maintenance
  • Fair app development estimate
  • Financial and legal support
  • Elimination of the hiring process & taxes on the client side

To expand, first, the mobile app developoment company validates and estimates all the tasks and plans the application development process. This helps to assemble a team consisting of just the right app development specialists, with the necessary skills and seniority levels. As a result, this results in a high-quality product at a fair price.

These dedicated agencies handle the app development process completely by utilizing project management tools and app development project frameworks. Services such as Business Analysis and UX/UI Design are also involved. With these inputs from market research as well as interactive and intuitive design allows for useful and profitable mobile apps to be built.

The team keeps the project’s security as a priority. The general practice is to sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) before you provide insights about your app idea. In the end, the app materials such as concept, design, and code, are your property.

Bottom line: The company is working on your project’s success and looking toward long-term commitment.

Where Can You Find an App Developer for Your Project?

There are multiple ways, and resources you can use, to search for mobile app developers. Initially, you can start looking for an app developer via personal recommendations and connections.

The best option is to ask for referrals if you have a friend or colleague who has already found a capable team of IT professionals.

Alternatively, there are many websites and platforms.

Online Platforms

As well, you can search for developers on social networks like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, or even Reddit. You may also make good use of online directories that list app developers like Clutch, GoodFirms, and SoftwareWorld.

By the way, if you want to create a social network, check out the following guide: How to Create a Social Media App.

Tech Events

How can you find an app developer and hire a professional right away?

Well, you could attend a tech conference and make valuable contacts to source your project with the top tech talents. You could discuss your cooperation model and vital details of a future project directly.

Here is a list of the top tech conferences for hiring mobile app developers:

  • WebSummit - global tech and innovations meetup, held in Lisbon, Portugal annually.
  • Mobile World Congress - here you can check out the top mobile app development companies. The conference is held annually in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Code Mobile - a conference for iOS, and Android developers, usually held in the UK.
  • DroidCon – the largest conference, gathering the biggest Android app developer community in the world.
  • CES - Global Stage for Innovation is one of the most influential tech events in the global arena, held in the US in Las Vegas.
  • DeveloperWeek - collects the top developers, engineers, dev teams, and executives from 70+ countries.

How to Choose Skilled App Developer Wisely: Step-by-Step Process

Let's now discuss how you can hire an app developer in a reasonable way.

Primarily, you should define your project’s requirements and understand the app development process, at least superficially. These factors may help you to preliminarily allocate a realistic budget to implement your app concept.

Luckily, there are lots of available materials. The next article gives valuable insights into the app development process and costs: How Much Does it Cost to Make an App.

Back to the focus on the key criteria when hiring an app developer; the following are the sections of the information you need to collect and analyze while screening app vendors.

Step 1. Collect Information About the Company

  • Check out the company's employees. Analyze the dedicated team’s representation on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) or the team’s page on a website to learn whether or not the staff is real and works in-house. It is possible that the team may have a local representative whom you can also address.

  • Review the tech stack, specialization (e.g. cross platform app development), provided services, and experience in industries. The majority of professional app developers have a technical specialization. Therefore, if you are looking to hire a developer with specific skills (e.g. blockchain), take this into consideration.

  • Look at a portfolio, successful case studies, awards, and years in existence. These and other similar details can be checked on the company’s website.

Once you get a general overview of the dedicated software development team, the next step is to start contacting and arranging the interview process to hire an app developer.

Step 2. Check Information About the Team

Check out the team’s size and structure. Examine how many app developers the company has, their experience, and seniority levels (e.g. Android and iOS app developers, backend developers, etc.)

Arrange the interview process. In most cases, your initial contact point with a company is a sales manager. You can ask to schedule interviews with app development candidates; preliminarily, you can also request their CVs and code samples.

Evaluate the app developers. You may apply the following criteria: sufficient level of English, creative input to your app idea, critical thinking, and experience in your industry.

Interested in what questions you should ask during the interviews to hire an app developer who will be the perfect candidate? Continue reading to find out.

Step 3. Gather Information About Customers & Projects

  • Check the testimonials and references. Research if the team has ever worked with a client from your location, ask for some contacts, and check the number of repeat deals.

  • What about big brands? Inquire about the top clients, their projects, and results. Give credit to those that have worked with well-known brands.

Step 4. Discover Information About the Communication Process

  • Level of English. Professional teams have management staff that are fluent in English. As for the developers, you will need to check their comprehension and expression of ideas regarding your project concept.

  • Communication tools. Get information about how the communication process is arranged inside the company, within a dedicated app development team, and with clients for timely updates. Tools for video conferences, like Slack or Skype, are quite widespread.

  • Time differences and cultural aspects. During the screening process, think about how convenient or not it would be for you to work with a team in a different timezone. As well, take into account the different cultural aspects, the way team presents information, and their style of communication.

Step 5. Reveal the Company’s Culture

The culture factor is essential when assessing software development companies for hiring app programmers that most tend to skip. IT companies may have different working atmospheres, thus influencing working mode and progress.

For instance, some organizations function in a hierarchical and traditional management style. Other teams operate on a team-based level that encourages every participant to contribute and speak up about their ideas despite individual rank. Another alternative is giving workers complete freedom without supervision; in particular, Google uses this approach.

Thus, even though an IT firm has the right engineers to build an app, the organization’s culture might not be the best fit for you and your business. So, look deeper and discover app programmers' ethics, values, and personality for the best outcome.

Step 6. Study Information About SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)

  • Gather information about project development process. Examine methodologies, frameworks and approaches applied (e.g. Scrum, Kanban), development and design guidelines (for native apps on iOS or Android), and allocation of a Project Manager. Check the communication and feedback procedures during all app development stages.

  • Troubleshooting and bug fixing services. Check how quickly the team is able to react to potential issues and perform quality assurance.

  • Project support and maintenance. With the app release, the main work has only just begun. As you are interested in evolving the project, get a complete picture of the app’s scalability and ongoing support process.

Step 7. Ask for Information About Fees & Agreements

  • Rates and payment process. Discuss the hourly rates required to choose software developers for your project, how clients are billed for services, and the flexibility of the payment process. The fairest payment structure is Time & Material; where a client is invoiced based on actual hours spent on a project with preliminary good-faith project estimates.

  • Agreements. Respectable software development companies readily sign the NDA agreement with you to keep app information confidential. Moreover, you can check the draft of the contract upfront to study the details inside.

The next illustration summarizes all the above-mentioned points to consider when choosing an app developer for hire.

List of Criteria to Choose App Developers
List of Criteria to Choose App Developers

Once you collect this information and conduct a few interviews, you may have finalized a decision on the most suitable app developers for you to hire. The next phase would include signing the corresponding contracts and hiring the app developers.

In any case, you should keep the communication flow open and reach out to the best app developers on a regular basis by email and through teleconferencing. You may ask your dev team to send you emails with key updates or use other methods to keep the communication easy and transparent.

How to Hire an App Developer: Tech Specialization

If you plan to hire mobile app developers with vast experience, then check out the following aspects during the interview:

  • Seniority level and years in the profession
  • Technical proficiency and specialization (e.g. iOS developer)
  • Number of successfully completed app projects
  • Number of acquired achievements, awards, technical certifications
  • Participation in specialized conferences, hackathons, meetups
  • Deliverables provided (e.g. code sample)
  • Experience working under pressure and with tough deadlines
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Contribution to your project concept during the interview

Also, a general recommendation is to try to receive personal characteristics from colleagues or other people before hiring mobile app developers. Moreover, it is best to choose a professional with experience in developing an application similar to your concept or industry.

Hire Mobile App Developers with iOS Specialization

If you have defined that you need to target the Apple mobile market, then you definitely need to hire mobile app developer specializing in iOS.

iOS App Developer Technical Capabilities
iOS App Developer Technical Capabilities

A good iOS developer should possess tech capabilities and perform tasks like:

  • Solid knowledge of iOS programming languages (Swift, Objective-C)
  • Ability to develop an app for different devices: smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • Work with the most frequently used APIs and open-source libraries
  • Knowledge of IDE, REST/JSON/XML standards; MVP, MVVM architecture patterns
  • Familiarity with iOS app publishing to Apple Store
  • Good testing and debugging skills
  • Application of KISS and SOLID principles in software engineering
  • Business and user experience knowledge is a plus

Capable iOS developers are in demand these days and it can be challenging to find a good one. As mentioned, a dedicated development team carefully selects programmers to fit your project and, at the same time, takes care of the development plan and growth of their developers.

Alternatively, you can also study the presence of iOS developers in tech communities like:

  • iPhoneDevSDK hosts
  • MacRumors iOS programming forum
  • Cocos2d for iPhone
  • Stack Overflow (search with tag- iOS)
  • iOS Developer Forums

During the interview process, you can check the following points:

  • Study their shared code contributions on GitHub
  • Ask for libraries, third-party frameworks, and other components that should be used to build your project
  • Inquire about how the developer sees the project’s implementation and its further evolution

Hire App Developers with Android Specialization

If you are targeting Android mobile users, then you need to find an app developer specialized in this platform.

Android App Developer Technical Capabilities
Android App Developer Technical Capabilities

Great Android app developers are highly skilled in the following aspects:

  • Have practical knowledge in Android programming languages (Kotlin, Java)
  • Operate in open-source ecosystems and libraries
  • Knowledge of Android NDK and architectural patterns - MVP, MVVM
  • Manage and work with Android version updates and their APIs
  • Application of KISS and SOLID principles in software engineering
  • Understand the app publishing on the Google Play
  • Good testing and debugging skills

Similar to iOS, you may check the following forums once you decide to hire an Android app developer:

  • Google developer groups
  • Android Development Community
  • Android Forums
  • AndroidPit

Questions to Ask App Developers for Hire

Continuing our guide on how to hire mobile app developer you will enjoy working with, here is a list of the most essential questions. You may use these when hiring an app developer on a freelance platform or during the screening process inside a dedicated software development agency.

  • Company-related questions
  1. Where is your company located? Do you have a local representative?
  2. What is your tech stack and specialization?
  3. For which operating systems are you able to build mobile apps?
  4. In what industries do you have the most experience?
  5. Where can I check your completed app projects? Can you provide me with links to app stores?
  • Team-related questions
  1. How many in-house employees do you have?
  2. What is your company structure?
  3. Do you have enough iOS/Android app developers to complete my project?
  4. Do your app developers have specific awards or accomplishments? What are they?
  5. How do you allocate suitable app developers for projects?
  6. Are a designer, project manager, and business analyst part of the team?
  7. What are your design and user experience capabilities?
  • Client-related questions
  1. Who are your key clients?
  2. Can you give a list of current and past clients?
  3. How did you add value to their project concepts?
  4. Can you relate to the clients from a similar business sphere?
  5. What level of involvement do you require from your clients?
  • Communication-related questions
  1. What level of English do you and your team have? Can app developers speak fluently?
  2. Is (particular time) suitable for our communication?
  3. How will you communicate during the entire development process?
  4. How will you keep me updated about progress and issues?
  5. What communication tools do you use?
  • App development-related questions
  1. What mobile app development methodologies and frameworks are applied by the company?
  2. Which programming standards and guidelines do you follow?
  3. What are your design principles; how do you create an app design?
  4. How do you see the monetization of my app concept?
  5. What would you advise regarding my app concept monetization?
  6. What core functionality would you extract in my project?
  7. What additional features do you recommend that I include?
  8. What complex app functionality have you implemented already?
  9. How do you conduct app testing?
  10. How do you react to and fix issues on the project?
  11. How will you manage the project’s security?
  12. Do you help with app submission to the app store?
  13. How do you provide post-launch support?
  • Agreements-related questions
  1. Who owns the project materials (code, design, etc.)?
  2. Can we sign the NDA before we proceed with project details?
  3. What are your payment terms and processes?
  4. Can I check the draft of the agreement beforehand?

Common Mistakes When Hiring an App Developer

There are many aspects that may negatively affect the final app’s success. In short, it all starts with an incorrect or misused app idea, followed by poor-quality app implementation or zero budget spent on marketing. Luckily, you can prevent one global mistake, which is to hire an app developer that doesn’t add value to your project.

Our team worked out a detailed step-by-step guide on How to Make Your App Successful. Check out information ranging from choosing a great new app idea to free app promotion tips inside.

Look at the most common pitfalls when you hire mobile app developers and learn how to avoid them:

  • Decision to proceed with the cheapest option

Quality does not go along with a cheap price tag. Experienced and capable top mobile app developers definitely value their work and cannot charge only $5 an hour. Besides, body shops or ghost developers may hide behind low-priced app development services.

  • Taking only price into consideration when hiring app developers

This means that you should not proceed with the most expensive option like a boutique development firm either. An expensive developer does not guarantee the implementation of a classy app product.

  • Lack of experience and no understanding of your business

Interested in knowing how to create a delivery app? It is better to choose app developers for hire who has worked on a similar app concept and is aware of your business niche. This helps to align business aspects and ensure a clear understanding of the technical requirements within a product.

  • Apps are not completed and delivered to the app store

Double check if the app developers you want to hire actually worked on the applications that are published in app marketplaces. You can always download and test these apps.

  • Start coding without proper project evaluation

Before any app development starts, it is crucial to complete a discovery phase. App developers should understand the full picture of the project based on the finalized concept, market analysis, and functional specifications. Otherwise, the coding portion can be thrown in the trash and the money will have been spent in vain.

  • Project budget and timeline are not established

Once you have discussed the project concept, defined the functionality, and covered all the important project details, ask for an estimate before hiring an app developer. Professional teams deliver an estimate and the next development steps in the form of a project proposal. Please note that good-faith estimates take time to make.

  • Not taking into consideration the post-launch app phase

Planning in a long-term perspective is also vital. Think ahead and understand how the mobile app developer can help you with further project scalability, future product versions, maintenance, bug fixes, and troubleshooting.

How to Find an App Developer: Summary

So, how do you hire an app developer? To sum things up, here is a checklist to help you form an opinion about potential candidates, whether requiring iOS or Android developer:

  1. Understand your app project’s needs, requirements, and priorities
  2. Check out the portfolio and other related information about the app developer
  3. Collect references and feedback from top clients
  4. Evaluate the team and each separate developer's input to your project idea
  5. Involve app developers during project discussions
  6. Assess the whole SDLC, including support & maintenance stages
  7. Determine security matters during the app project development
  8. Analyze the preliminary developer’s proposal with the project budget and timeline
  9. Agree upon the pricing terms and agreements
  10. Find a reliable partner interested in a long-term commitment

There is no issue in finding an app developer these days, but it can be difficult to select an app development vendor to suit your individual business purposes.

Hiring a dedicated software development team provides far more advantages compared with hiring an app developer on a freelance platform. The latter may look like the cheaper price is worth it, but a fully covered service with business analysis, project management, design, and ongoing support outweighs the low cost. Besides, there are many experienced app development teams working in outsourcing with an affordable price-quality ratio.

A dedicated mobile app development agency is ready to work on your app concept from its successful launch and onto its further growth.

Feel free to contact MLSDev

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the average app developers' hourly rate in the US?
If you consider hiring an app developer in the USA or Europe, the average rate for the service of a top iOS or Android developer may range from $70 to $150 per hour. This results in the total minimum cost to build simple native apps of around $100,000+ per platform.
How can you save up to 60% of your budget without losing in mobile app development project quality?
The option is to turn to the dedicated mobile app development teams that provide full-fledged service from the app concept to its release and further support & maintenance. Depending on the region, these teams can have a great price-quality correlation. For instance, Eastern Europe is well-known for its highly capable mobile app developers with rates of $30-$50 per hour, meaning that the average price to complete an app will start at about $50,000+.
What benefits will I get when choosing app developers for hire from the trusted app development company?
Once you hire app developers in the form of dedicated service you will get an advantage of saved time, project and risks management, business and legal support. This firm will allocate app developers with necessary tech capabilities as well as tech specialists who are experts in a particular field. Besides, if you hire such a team in Ukraine, for instance, you’ll receive a great price-quality ratio.
How to choose a proper mobile app developer?
To hire a proper app developer for your project it is necessary to evaluate aspects like tech capabilities and expertise, years in a profession, level of English, communication skills, and so on. If considering to outstaff a developer from the IT firm, you should also study the company’s website and online presence, portfolio, team size and structure, ask for references as well as software development lifecycle and development practices and tools used.