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How To Hire an App Developer

Tips on how to find a role that is critical in the digital age.

We’ve moved into a digital age, and many businesses are in the business of creating apps. Gone are the days of CDs loaded with programs; everything is done on a mobile phone. It’s unlikely that app development is already on your team’s list of skills. If you’re looking to build an app for your startup, there are several considerations you need to make before hiring an app developer or team of developers. Think you’re ready? Here’s how to hire an app developer.  


  1. Determine your budget. 

As a startup, your mind is probably always on your money. An app developer is yet another consideration for that already-stretched budget. However, keeping up with the demands of the digital age could hugely benefit your business’ growth! The first step to hiring an app developer is to figure out exactly how much money you can — and are willing to — spend.  

But remember – you get what you pay for, and good developers don’t typically come cheap. According to, you can expect to pay entry-level app developers in the mid-60K range, while the median salary sits at $81K. If you’re looking for top talent with the most experience, you are likely to pay top dollar – they typically clear $130K+ a year.  If you want more information, we’re happy to provide guidance. The market is constantly changing and candidates are moving quickly. 


  1. Decide on what you need.

There are three primary options for hiring an app developer. Your budget will highly inform your decision, but there are a few other considerations to take into account when determining the best fit for your startup. First, here are the three options for hiring app developers:  

  1. Freelance 
  2. In-house 
  3. Outsourcing 


If you’re looking at a one-time project, a freelancer is the way to go. They’re contractual, so you can go your separate ways once the project is done — plus, no benefits, vacation pay, etc. There are a few catches, though:  

  • It can be time-consuming to get them up to speed on your project
  • They sometimes over-sell their skills to land contracts 
  • They can be located somewhere else in the world, depending on which hiring platform you’ve chosen, where there may be both time zone and tech challenges 


In-house teams of developers, or even just a single developer, can be fantastic but are the most expensive of the three. If you have a big budget and plans for continual development and updates, developers on staff can be beneficial. You can communicate directly with them over time, and they have that buy-in to the company’s growth, culture, and development. Aside from the cost, however, another big challenge is that it can take a lot of time and even more money to find and hire the right teammates, plus a manager for them. 


Finally, we come to outsourcing your dev team, a good mid-way in terms of expense. You can choose a company with a spotless reputation and proven excellence in their developers while skipping the costs of bringing in full-time employees and finding space for them to work.  

You also don’t need to manage them from the inside. All-in-all, outsourcing is an excellent option for a startup with a one-time app project in mind. If you already have some development knowledge within your current staff, you’ll have someone who can perform maintenance and updates once the whole thing is up and running.  


  1. Find them.

The task of hiring an app developer poses the same challenge as any other role: Where do I find them? Luckily, there are several sites to hire freelancers from, such as Upwork. Outsourcing is manageable, too. You just need to find an IT company that specializes in outsourcing developers.  

But what about building an in-house team? This one requires a little bit of work and should follow the exact steps you would take to hire for any other position in your company. You must build that ideal candidate persona, define the role, create a recruitment strategy, post the job, conduct interviews, make a job offer, and close.  


  1. Do these checks on your contenders. 

An app developer is a very technical role. Unlike some of our other “how-to’s” where you can leave room for lack of experience and technical knowledge, you need to ensure you are bringing in someone who knows how to get the job done. Here are a few things to look for in your contenders:  

  • Check their portfolio out for similar apps and work in your niche 
  • Download some of their previous work and take it for a test drive 
  • Read client testimonials 
  • Look at the technologies and development tools they use 
  • The quality of work they put into your skills testing assignment 

You can find a top-notch list of app developer FAQs on this site 


  1. Create an NDA and close the deal.

While non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) might be standard practice for your company already, it is a highly recommended best practice when hiring a new developer so that you can fully protect your coding and IP. Once this is taken care of, follow our steps on how to close during the offer stage.  

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