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The MOST complete
Guide to Finding the Best Developer for your App.

Let our expert Guide Lead You Through the Hiring Process.

2 Bonus GIFTS included:

Developer Evaluation Matrix

Choosing the wrong developer may cost tens of thousands of dollars, lots of time, and business opportunities. Use our Developer Evaluation Matrix to score the developers, and the worst will not happen.

Developers Comparison Template

Gathering information and assessing agencies may be overwhelming. Use our Developers Comparison Template to keep the most important decision-making information organized in one place.

Is this just another guide doubling as a marketing brochure?

Nope. If you do an internet search on "How To Hire a Software Developer?" There's lots of informational marketing material disguised as a guide put out by software development agencies.
•JetRuby doesn't want to be one of those.

We have lots of experience hiring and firing other developers and other development firms. We have worked with over 100 companies over the past 11 years - and before that, we were a startup.
So, finding the right developer or firm for a project has been part of our business. And now, we want to share our wisdom on that process with you!

Why are we sharing this guide with you?

Because we hope you use it on our team when you consider us for a project.

Please send our score and any feedback to

Or click "Submit" and send us a message via the feedback form:

Follow Our Process

We promise. It'll be good.

Read the guide.

Contact developers, put their info into the Comparison Template provided.

Use the Scoring matrix, ask the questions, and calculate the score.

Choose the developer with the highest score.

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Technology Stack Overview

What's a stack?

Well, we aren’t talking about pancakes. So let’s get that out of the way first.

A "stack" refers to a technology stack which is the set of technologies a developer will use to build something. If you are reading this article, we assume you want to develop a mobile, desktop, web, or cross-platform app. There are different sets of technologies for developing each one of those specific types of application.

The Back-end and the Front-end

 Technology stacks are made up of the front-end and the back-end segments of a technology stack. The front-end part of a stack is for developing the part of an application that humans interact with, like the webpage or an application’s Graphical User Interface (GUI).

Developers use back-end technologies for creating the parts of the application that communicate and transfer data between the client – the computer the application is installed on – and the server – the computer that stores data on a database for the application to retrieve remotely.

Libraries and Frameworks

 If you drill down one lower level of detail of what comprises a tech stack, it’s typically composed of frameworks and libraries. Both frameworks and libraries are reusable code written by someone else that developers use to build and create functionality for an application.

A framework is the skeleton of an application similar to the framing in a house. There are different frameworks for different kinds of applications. A framework makes creating the application easier because the developer doesn't have to start from scratch. Using a framework also creates consistency in the code which makes testing the application easier and the security of the code better.

A library is a collection of code syntax used in building specific functionality or parts of an application. Just like a framework is like the framing of a house, the library is like a hardware or furniture store you go to and buy things to put in or add to the house—that way, the homeowner doesn't have to build those things from scratch.

Why is it important to know the technology stack a developer is going to be using?

 It‘s essential to look at the technologies and languages the developer or agency you want to hire uses. Every tech stack has its strengths and weaknesses. Some are geared toward building mobile apps or web applications, and others are geared toward data science applications. What stack you decide to use in your project can also determine how easy it will be to upgrade and maintain in the future and scale your digital product as your business grows.

Current Development Technologies

— Checking out industry reports such as the Stack Overflow Developer Survey is an excellent place to understand what technologies and languages are currently being used in application development.

Here are some of the most popular technology stacks used by developers today in 2021. Of course, these are just brief overviews of the technologies, and we encourage you to do more in-depth research if one of these stacks looks like a good fit for your project.

Ruby On Rails Stack

Ruby On Rails (RoR) is a rapid development web application framework for quickly going from an initial idea to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) web application. Since RoR has a host of ready-made, out-of-the-box, plug-ins and modules, the framework is very time efficient, consistent, secure, scalable, and cost-effective.

MEAN Stack

The MEAN stack is one of the best stacks for developers to use on projects that involve cloud hosting, calendars, mapping, and content aggregation sites.
The stack consists of MongoDB, Express.JS, Angular.JS, and NODE.JS. 

The stack is open source, so it’s free and has a well-supported developer community.
The MEAN Stack is a one-language, end-to-end solution.
Meaning, a developer-only uses one language for all the different technologies in the stack.

That also makes the stack very efficient because it’s easier for developers to reuse code.
In addition, the database is easily scalable to respond to the growth and success of your new app.

MEVN Stack

This cousin to the MEAN stack uses Vue.js instead of Angular.JS for a front-end framework. Vue.js offers a basic, out-of-the-box, lightweight functionality that can use third-party services to extend its capabilities.

In addition, Vue.js combines the best aspects of Angular.js and React.js to offer developers a complete toolbox of options.

Serverless Stacks

— Cloud-based apps generally make scaling an application much more effortless because all of the work that involves managing and configuring the server infrastructure for your app is handled by the cloud provider. 

Serverless stacks include Google Cloud Platform, AWS Lambda, IBM Cloud Functions, Azure Stack, Cloudflare Workers, and Computer@Edge.  They have licensing fees, and you must pay for the amount of computing time your app uses by the cloud provider.


LAMP is the old workhorse of the software development world. It is a reliable and stable set of technologies that is still very popular today. 

It consists of the Linux (Windows, or MAC) Operating Systems, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

Since it’s open-source, it’s free, and you can more easily tailor the components in the stack to your business needs. PHP can be switched out for other options like Python or PERL.

Flutter for Web

Flutter for Web is a new contender to the web development space and a competitor to React Native. Flutter is ideally suited for the development of cross-platform applications. In addition, it makes for easy deployment so developers can focus on fixing bugs and adding features.  

Guide to Finding the Best Developer

Development Agencies Versus Freelancers:

Use the table to evaluate which path is best for your project.

When to use an agency:

When to use a freelancer:

You have a new idea for an app but no details on the scope or deliverables.

You have a long-term project that requires a scalable team.

You have a project that requires a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development stage.

You have a complex project that requires a team of specialists.

When to use an agency:

You have a shorter-term project (10-20 days) with a clear scope and well-defined deliverables.

You have a project that requires minor changes within existing software that has quality documentation and version control.

You want to develop an interactive prototype for your project.

You have a project that requires no or low-code development tools like the website builders Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, or like the app builders Air-Table, Bubble, and Adalo.

Developers: How do I find one?

This goes without almost needing to be said. 

First, ask your friends and colleagues if they know anyone. Personal recommendations from your trusted inner circle are the best way to find another trusted business partner. But, if you’ve run out of people to ask, here’s a table of some of the more popular resources to help you in your search for your next developer.


Best For Finding an Agency

Best For Finding Freelancers


These websites usually have robust vetting and ranking systems in place for their candidates. However, it is common practice for these websites to offer "sponsorships", which allow companies to buy a place higher in the sites' company rankings.
The “sponsorships” can go for as much as $25,000 a month, and their cost is usually passed along to the customer in some form or another. So, being open to considering agencies on these sites ranked in the 20th - 40th rankings can save you money without compromising on your project’s quality.

Freelancer Websites

Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, PeoplePerHour, and Guru provide transparent prices. Most freelance sites offer or do a thorough vetting of their candidates. Toptal only accepts 3% of applicants. 

Freelancer Websites

Blogs like TechCrunch can be a great place to read articles about software development companies that you want to consider hiring. Other blogs like Techmeme and ReadWrite can also be good places to read up on current trends and technology in the software development industry. A great place to look for tech blogs are blog aggregators like FeedSpot. There is also Hashnode – a blog aggregator for software developers. There you can find blog posts about various industry topics by software developers.

Portfolio Websites

These types of sites include Github, Dribbble, and Behance. Many of the freelance sites overlap as portfolio websites as well. For some of these sites, you may need to pay to join to view freelance portfolios. Github is the industry standard for project repositories. If you are considering a freelance software developer and they do not have an account profile on Github that should be a red flag. Most working software developers do. Behance and Dribbble mostly cater to web and UX designers.

How to tell if you are hiring a professional developer?



The developer has a substantial, well-organized portfolio that they readily offer to you.

The developer’s website and any other content they provide to the public is well organized and the content explains technical concepts and their business practices in an easily understandable way.

The developer can provide references. They have no dead links in their portfolio or public information. Their contact information is readily available.

The developer asks about your business goals before seeking to understand your project's technical specifications.

They take some time to estimate the amount of work required to complete the project before providing you with an estimate.

The developer considers your customers and how the project will impact them now and in the future.

The developer focuses on the project's scope and the work required to meet your app's business requirements.

The developer is patient and takes time to educate you about any aspects of the project you don’t understand. Then, you notice yourself starting to ask questions about your project that you didn't think of before.

The developer takes the time to gently engage you about software development and how the trajectory of a project works. They also make an effort to adapt to your needs.

The developer requests your project specifications and offers to help you create them if you do not have them already.

The developer asks for a small retainer to begin your project and correlates future compensation to when they complete project milestones.

You and the developer create a clear understanding of their role, project responsibilities, and project deliverables.

When to use an agency:

The developer doesn't offer a portfolio or they don’t have a large body of work in their portfolio.

The developer's public information, like their website, either lacks the necessary information or is too confusing for you to assess if they would be suitable for your project. The technical information they provide is also difficult for you to understand.

The developer doesn't provide any references. There are dead links in their portfolio or public information. Their contact information is not provided, or it isn't easy to get a hold of them.

The developer seems hyperfocused on your project’s technical specifications without trying to understand your business goals.

The developer quickly offers an estimate for your project without spending any time learning about the project's work or your business goals.

The developer is more focused on coding than how their work will influence your business or customers.

The developer is very rigid about the tasks to complete and will not deviate from them.

You feel like you are the one who has to take the initiative to communicate with the developer, and you don't feel any connection with them.

The developer takes a rigid stance even on minor issues that you bring up.

The developer doesn’t work with specifications.

The developer wants the entire payment upfront before starting the project.

They also change their estimate after starting the project.

They do not offer to stagger their payments in correlation to meeting project milestones.

The developer does not offer to engage you in creating a clear plan for contributing to your project.

You are confused about their role, their responsibilities to the project, and their project deliverables.

Skill Testing Developers Before Hiring

It’s one thing to write a good resume but the proper validation in someone’s skill set is their ability to follow through and do what they say they can do.
Here is a list of programming skill check sites to test candidates you are considering for a project:

Other Vetting Techniques

— Hosting a Hackathon

— Paired Programming Interview

Legal Checklist

It probably goes without saying to make sure you have a good lawyer look over any business agreement before you sign on a dotted line or give anyone any money. That being said, make sure you ask and look over the items on this checklist before doing business with any developers:

Have you looked at all of the software company's legal documentation?

Does your development team need a certified specialist to meet any industry legal standards for your application? Does your team have any of these specialists on their teams?

Can you find and review the company’s hiring and management practices? Do they have employees reviews and human capital reports publicly available?

Are there any IP issues in the software company's contracts?

Does the developer’s Service Agreement cover and define: poor performance, any unforeseen fees or expenses, data loss, intellectual property, confidentiality, and non-competition?

Does the company have any history of litigation?


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App Idea Audit is Free

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Automated Developer Evaluation Matrix

A list of questions we created to evaluate developers. Each answer has a score between 0-3 points, the maximum is 78. The score is calculated automatically based on the marked questions.



0 - 26

Run Away

27 - 52


53 - 78


Google Sheets with Auto Calculated Scoring Matrix

Developers Comparison Template

The template provides you with space to take notes on the developer’s scores, project estimates - or anything else for that matter.


Company name

Contact name




Hourly rate


Start date


Company A

John Doe


+1 993...



Aug 30


Company B

Alex Jim


+1 106...



Aug 20


Company C

Clinton Marl


+1 258...



Aug 10

Thank you for reading
THE MOST complete Guide to Finding the Best Developer for your App.

We always appreciate any feedback about this guide. Please feel free to contact us and let us know how this guide worked for you.

The JetRuby team wishes you good luck with your project.

About Jetruby

11 years on the market

250+ accomplished Apps in 16 niches

58% annual growth

Clients from 
24 countries

100+ in-house engineers.

29% Senior+ level.

ISO 30414 (Human Capital) and ISO 10018 (People Engagement standards) Compliant

We are experts in:

Offices in 3 countries:

San Francisco, USA
Krasnodar, Russia
Lviv, Ukraine

We’ve probably already built several Apps similar to yours

We’ve probably
already built several Apps
similar to yours

250+ successful applications in 16 industries





Social Media

Real Estate

Food delivery



Taxi booking








We have extensive first-hand experience developing cutting-edge HIPPA-compliant, EHR, EMR, ERX, HCRM custom solutions. It allows us to save a lot of time and money for our new clients.


We develop custom, profitable solutions that can easily handle any flow of customers and provide stable business growth.


JetRyby’s marketplace solution OzMarkt allows you to build a fully custom marketplace with the features you need, making it a huge budget-saver for startups and small businesses.


From corporate virtual training platforms with complex infrastructure to microlearning applications with progress tracking.

Social Media

Social media apps
SM Publishing & Scheduling Platforms
Messaging Apps
Video-based Networks
Social Network Analytic Tools
Online Reviews and Polling

Real Estate

Grow your real estate business with a custom digital solution built by Jetruby experts.

Food delivery

Now is a good time to lunch your on demand delivery app.We’ve built several apps in this field. So we’ll develop yours faster and cheaper.


Vehicle Location tracking
Route Optimization
Vehicle Management
Nearest Gas Station
Mechanical Support
Merchants Real-time Notifications


Banking Apps
Investment Apps
Insurance Apps
Digital Wallet Apps

Taxi booking

Taxi Business apps
Taxi Business for Corporations
Car Rental apps
Air Taxi apps


Optimize your farming processes with our industry-specific expertise.
Weather Data
Farm Maps
Satellite & Drones
IoT Solutions


Flawless Registration Process
Engagement Features
Listings and Schedules
Event Feed Optimization
Search and Categories
Events Tracking


Multiple purchase options
Quick, problem-free purchasing
Track and show inventory
Personalized customers' experience
Supply chain management
Customer behavior analysis


Project planning
Task time tracking
Notifications and reminders


Travel Itinerary Generator
Geo-Tracking Services
Weather or Climate Forecasting
Location-Based Emergency Services
Currency Converter
In-App Language Translator


Diet and Nutrition apps, Workout and Personal trainer apps, Meditation and yoga apps, Activity tracking apps
We’ve done it all.

Let's build great things together

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Questions to ask when hiring a developer:

Background and Experience

* If you are looking for a mobile enterprise application developer, this question may not be applicable since most mobile enterprise apps are not in app stores.
A: They have one app they have made and it doesn’t work when you install it on your device.

A: Yes, they have apps but not in an app store. The developer provides you with a portfolio or links to several old icons for apps that have not been updated in at least a couple of years. Or, they give you links to apps that never made it past a proof-of-concept stage in their development.

A: They provide links to less than 5 apps in an app store. All of them are recently made for one specific platform.

A: The developers show you at least 10 apps that were recently developed that are in more than one app store and they are compatible with multiple operating systems.

A: They decline.
A: Yes, they have clients you can talk to but not with similar projects like yours.

A: Yes, they have clients with similar projects like yours, but they don’t have any references for you.

A: Yes, they have clients who have completed similar projects like yours and have references.

Technology Questions

A: Any language you want us to learn. We can learn very quickly.
A:  None of the languages the interviewee mentions are commonly used languages or languages widely used for your type of project.

A: The developer(s) have expertise in one commonly used language and can show you examples of their work in that language. For instance, they may know Javascript very well but not much else. They are, as the saying goes, “A one-trick pony.”

A: They provide you with a portfolio with the most commonly used languages for the type of project you are looking to do. Their portfolio includes Swift for iOS, Java, and Kotlin for Android. Other popular languages include Ruby, Javascript, Python, SQL (for databases), and technologies like Ruby On Rails and Node.js.

*When asking this question take into consideration the size of the development company you are working with. Larger firms will have more people and therefore more resources and a larger variety of expertise.
A: From your research, it seems they use a development stack that isn’t widely used, it’s obsolete, or a set of proprietary technologies with a limited user base, and difficulty to upgrade or migrate.

A: They have a minimal number of development stacks they use – one, maybe 2, and the developer does not advise you as to why the stack they use is the best for your project.

A:  They are experienced in a handful of moderately used frameworks and libraries and can give you good reasons to use their adopted technologies but not any good reasons they wouldn’t use a different, or more popularly used solution. (smaller firms may not be able to offer as many technologies.)

A: The developer has a wide variety of popular development technologies they use and advise you on which one would be best for your project and why. (Smaller firms may not be able to offer as many technologies.)

A: The developer doesn’t offer to do testing or if they do it is an added service.
A: We will do manual QA testing.

A: We do manual and automated QA testing.

A: We do automated, manual QA testing, and A/B manual build testing.

A: They do not know what an SDLC is and they don’t offer any documentation.
A: They know what an SDLC is, but they don’t have a particular one they follow, nor do they have documentation.

A: They have an SDLC they follow and describe to you but no documentation.

A: They have a documented SDLC, provide you with the documentation, and go over it with you explaining each stage of the cycle.

A: We won’t know until we see whether or not your servers start to catch on fire.
A: They seem to know about scaling and making it so apps can supply higher traffic loads but can’t provide straightforward ways of accomplishing this with your project.

A: They can use scalable back-end solutions for your application but do not offer access to scalable cloud solutions.

A: They suggest scalable back-end solutions for the design of your applications and offer scalable cloud solutions to handle your growing data and hardware loads.

A: What’s that? Never heard of it.
A:  They know what ASO is, but they do not offer it as a service in their project development.

A: Yes. The developer offers to provide ASO, but it is for an extra fee.

A: Yes. The developers offer to provide ASO for your app to optimize it for when it’s placed in an app store as part of the development of your project.

A: No. We only make the app.

A: No, but we know people who can. (Their price is not competitive.)

A: Yes, but it is an extra fee and not part of the cost of us developing your app. (Their price may or may not be competitive.)

A: Yes. It is a part of our development of the application.

Project Management

* If they say the primary methodology they use is a Waterfall methodology, then their project management style is most likely old-fashioned, and you should avoid using them.
A: I only write code, sit in a dark room all day, and spray spores at people who open the door.

A: The developer seems to know a lot about project management methodologies but is vague about which one’s they would use on your project.

A: The developer suggests several different methodologies on your project but doesn’t mention Agile, Scrum, or Lean.

A: The developer offers an unequivocal recommendation for the methodology on your project, explains the reason for it, and offers to use an Agile, SCRUM, or Lean methodology for your project.

A: Telepathy and smoke signals.
A: They offer a weekly email from a project manager once a week.  

A: They offer to schedule a phone or video chat with a project manager on a consistent schedule during the week.

A: They provide you with the names and contact information of all the development team members using the latest team communication applications where you can contact them regularly.

A: The developer does not offer to provide any reporting or updates but  will let you know when they are finished.
A: The developers offer to let you talk with the project manager once a week for an update.

A: The developers will provide you with an update on the project’s progress with team members daily.

A: The developers will give you access to your own code repository with daily code commit updates and progress reports from anyone on the team you want at your convenience.

A: The developer insists on getting started and doesn’t ask for any requirements.
A: They offer to look over your business requirements to understand them before they begin the project.

A: The developer offers to help consult on drafting your business requirements before beginning your project.

A: They would be happy to help you finish your project’s business requirements.They provide you with a detailed set of steps for planning the development of your app, including creating user stories, a SWOT analysis, and an idea audit.

A: The developers do not use project road maps nor do they offer to provide you with concise documentation outlining their development process for your project.
A: They say they use road maps in their development cycle, but their answer seems vague.

A: The developer does offer to provide you with a road map sample when you request one. The road map is not as detailed as others you have looked at.

A: The developer provides you without hesitation examples of their detailed project road map and suggests how they could tailor their road map example to your project. The road map includes daily and weekly updates and check-ins.

A: Since we know exactly what we are doing your input will only cause delays and we have no way for you to make change requests.

A: Since we are working for a flat rate we do not allow the project scope to change once we start.

A: The developer has daily and weekly meetings and a report which you can go over with a project manager at any time and discuss changes. You can request changes daily or weekly during or after the meetings.

A: The developer provides you with varying degrees of flexibility depending on your project requirements and your desired level of involvement in the project.

Business Questions

A: The developer is vague and is unable to provide you with concise staffing numbers. 
A: We have more than one developer. They do have multiple roles.

A:  We have one full-sized team consisting of 1 to 2 developers, a systems analyst, and a project manager.

A: We have several full-sized teams that include UX/UI designers, DevOps, QA engineers, developers, a systems architect, and project managers. We also can scale and add more staff using contractors and temporary staff if the project requires it.

A: I don’t have much time to talk. We are backlogged for the next six months.
A: The developers let you know they have other projects, which may cause some delays in completing yours.  

A: We can get started whenever you are ready. If there are any scheduling issues, we will let you know and provide you with an updated project completion estimate.

A: We scale our staffing based on our customers’ needs and have several relationships with outside contracting firms. There will be no project interruption or difficulty staffing your project. All teams are dedicated to the project they are working on.

A: Not our problem. 
A: They discuss different profit models but don’t offer any specific recommendations.

A: The developer offers you one profit model suggestion without any reasonable explanations for why it is the best choice.

A: They offer several ways to make money with your app and provide the pros and cons for each model.

A: It’s ours and we will lock the code down and ransom you for access to it.
A: They expect to have some rights to the code or app after the project is completed but do not get into any details about their expected ownership stake.

A: The developer explains that you will own the app, but they don’t go into any detail about it.

A: They clearly state that you will own the app and that they will hand over the code when the project is completed. They also point out to you where this is stated in their contract.

A: The developer doesn’t use contracts – only verbal agreements and they become nervous when you request that they sign one with you.
A: They say they do but don’t offer to show you one.

A:  They provide you with a complex, 500-page contract that you have to pay a lawyer to read. And, the lawyer doesn’t understand it either.

A: They immediately provide you with a simple, easy-to-understand contract and offer to go over it with you.

A: The developer just writes code, nothing else.
A: They provide consulting on your app’s development.

A: The developer provides a limited number of services, including consulting on the development of your app.

A: They provide a full slate of app development, tech support, UX, tech and infrastructure consulting, web development, and hardware services

Project Cost Questions

A: The developer would like all their money upfront before beginning your project.
A: The developer works with only one pricing model and is not willing to be flexible.

A: The developer uses a mix of a flat and an hourly fee for projects. If there are extra expenses and changes, they use a time and materials, pricing model.

A: They ask for a retainer of 10% of the total cost of the project upfront and then ask for a percentage of their compensation after completing your agreed-upon project milestones.

A: The developer tells you they take the money and tell you not to contact them again after they give you your project’s deliverables.
A: They offer to do some minor bug fixes after finishing the app, but they will charge you for any other significant tasks afterward. (The developer does not mention or offer a Service Level Agreement, or SLA.)

A: The developer guarantees their work for up to a year and will fix all bugs for free, which is detailed in their SLA for when after they are done completing your project.

A: They fix all bugs, and provide free tech and infrastructure support for up to one year after the end of the project, which is detailed in their SLA for when after they complete your project.

A: The developer is very anti-social and doesn’t like to host anything – including your app.
A: Yes. But, the developer doesn’t offer any scaling or maintenance services.

A: The developer provides hosting services, but scaling and maintenance services are an added cost.

A: The developer provides an all-inclusive hosting service package with scalability and maintenance services provided.

* Before asking this question do a little research to find out what the technology licensing fees are in your area of the world.
A: The developer says they only use proprietary tech stacks and their prices are not competitive.

A: They offer one or two options for each, and their licensing fees are not competitive.

A: The developer offers one or two options for each, and their technology licensing fees are competitive.

A: The developer offers several open-source and proprietary tech stack options, and their technology licensing fees are very competitive.

A: The developer doesn’t do maintenance after finishing the project.
A: They offer to do maintenance, but their fees are not competitive, and they do not mention or offer a Service Level Agreement.

A: The developer does offer post-project maintenance. Their fees are competitive. 

A: The developer provides maintenance services for the app for a free period after your project is completed and launched. They also point out where it states this in their SLA but also mention dedicated maintenance staff will be assigned to your app after the project is finished.