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Let our expert Guide Walk You Through the Hiring Process.
Choosing the wrong developer may cost you tens of thousands of dollars, lots of time, and business opportunities. Evaluate developers using our Developer Performance Matrix and the worst won’t happen!
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.
Nope. If you google "How To Hire a Software Developer?" you’ll find a lot of marketing materials presented as a guide by software development agencies.
•JetRuby doesn't want to be one of those agencies.
We have huge experience in hiring and firing numerous developers and development firms. During the past 12 years, we’ve worked with more than 100 companies — 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!
Because we hope you use it on our team when you consider us for a project.
Please send the evaluation of us as a developer and your feedback to
Or click "Submit" and send us a message via the feedback form:
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.
— Well, we aren’t talking about pancakes. So let’s get that out of the way first.
A "stack" refers to the set of technologies used by developers to build a product. If you are reading this article, we assume that you want to develop a mobile, desktop, web, or cross-platform app. There are different sets of technologies for developing each type of application.
— Technology stacks are made up of the front-end and the back-end segments. The front-end part of a stack develops the application component, interacting with users. It could be the webpage or an application’s Graphical User Interface (GUI).
Back-end technologies are used for creating the application’s layer, which communicates and transfers data between the client (where the application is installed) and the server (storing the retrievable data of the application).
— 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.
If you’d like to find out how developers can manipulate with the use of code, read our ultimate guide here.
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.
— 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.
— The industry reports, such as Stack Overflow Developer Survey are excellent sources of information if you’d like to learn more about technologies and languages currently relevant to the application development.
It refers to the most popular technology stacks used by developers today in the 2020-s. 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 (RoR) is a rapid development web application framework, that allows to quickly walk 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.
— 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.
It means the use of a single language for all technologies of 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.
— 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.
— Cloud-based apps generally make the scaling process for an application much easier because all efforts on managing and configuring the server infrastructure for your app are handled by the cloud provider.
The cloud provider charges licensing fees for the computing time spent by your app.
Serverless stacks include Google Cloud Platform, AWS Lambda, IBM Cloud Functions, Azure Stack, Cloudflare Workers, and Computer@Edge. The cloud provider charges licensing fees for the computing time spent by your app.
— 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.
As an open-source product, it’s free and enables an easier adjustment of the stack components according to your business needs. PHP can be switched out for other options like Python or PERL.
— Flutter for Web is a new contender in the web development space and a competitor to React Native. Flutter perfectly suits the development of cross-platform applications. In addition, it ensures an easy deployment so developers can focus on bug-fixing bugs and new features.
— Not all developers are equally proficient with all technology stacks. Your goal is to build the application, using the most appropriate stack whereas a development agency may choose the one they have skills for. To avoid this situation, read our ultimate guide here.
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.
— Asking this question is only natural.
First, ask your friends and colleagues if they can recommend you to anyone. Personal recommendations from your trusted inner circle are the best way to find another trustworthy business partner. But, if you’ve run out of people to ask, here are some popular platforms 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" to get companies promoted to higher positions of rankings on those review platforms.
“Sponsorship” packages can be as pricey as $25,000 per month, so as the company’s client you will cover these expenses in one form or another. Therefore, considering agencies ranked from 20th to 40th on review platforms can save you money without compromising your project’s quality.
— Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, PeoplePerHour, and Guru provide transparent prices. Most freelance platforms thoroughly vet candidates. Toptal only accepts 3% of applicants.
— 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. Aggregators like FeedSpot provide an excellent choice of tech blogs. There is also Hashnode, where software developers create their blogs and cover various industry topics.
— These types of websites include Github, Dribbble, and Behance. Many of the freelance platforms work as portfolio websites as well. Some of them charge a special fee to unlock freelancers’ 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 are mostly popular among web and UX designers.
•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.
— Coming up with a good resume is one thing but the proper skill validation should prove the developers’ ability to follow through and do what they say they can do.
The following skill check websites will help you to test candidates you are considering for a project:
— Hosting a Hackathon
— Paired Programming Interview
— It probably goes without saying to make sure you have a good lawyer look over any business agreement before you sign on the dotted line or give anyone any amount of money. That being said, make sure you ask and look over the items on this checklist before doing business with any developers:
will be sent to your email
A list of questions we created to evaluate developers. Each answer has a score between 0 and 3 points, the maximum is 78. The score is calculated automatically based on the marked questions.
0 - 26
27 - 52
53 - 78
Google Sheets with Auto Calculated Scoring Matrix
The template provides you with space to take notes on the developer’s scores, project estimates - or anything else for that matter.
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.
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Diet and Nutrition apps, Workout and Personal trainer apps, Meditation and yoga apps, Activity tracking apps
We’ve done it all.
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: 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.
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: We do manual and automated QA testing.
A: We do automated, manual QA testing, and A/B manual build testing.
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: 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: 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, 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.
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: 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 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 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 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 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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
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 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 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.
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 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.