What To Look For When Hiring A Developer

Hello reader,

Developers come in all shapes and sizes. The type of development you require to get a project done will undoubtably require a skillset that ranges in difficulty from simple enough for a child to accomplish it, to 3 college degrees and 10 years experience.

However you might be surprised to find that with more modern web development you could make the wrong decision easily if what you look for is tons of experience.

In actuality most modern content management systems are centered around plugin type customization, that at best requires some basic coding to integrate with an existing project. Ten years of html coding has nothing to do with this kind of research and deploy scenario and in fact can be a hinderance if the developer tries to force conformity where it isn’t an asset.

Tech changes constantly and it’s no surprise that people don’t give that much thought when hiring developers. A programmer by nature knows that they will need to find the solution before they are confronted with the problem. This is often the best solution if the project isn’t simply web based and even app developers will agree that experience seldom carries from project to project. You might develop 100 apps and have literally no idea how to develop one that isn’t along the exact same lines as the last one.

Often the point of sale for a developer is a website swimming in good reviews, but is this really a sign of proficiency? If 90% of the projects done by a developer were on sites using php and your site will be using ruby… nope.

So how do you find the right developer?

  • Establish what the developer will need to know to complete the project
  • Create a rapport with 5-6 developers
  • Ask before you present a project what laguages and skills the developer uses most often
  • Present the development goal as theory and ask what would be needed to accomplish it
  • Compare the theoretical answer to what you know is needed

The steps above are literally the only way to get what you really want in a developer. Children can program simple apps, so having done 50 apps isn’t proof of anything. College degrees that came out before Drupal won’t demonstrate proficiency with it either. Likewise it is foolish at best to think that the confidence of a developer has anything to do with competence. It is just as likely that they can hit an obstacle then outsource the work to India and still make a huge profit leaving you with a barely working project.

A working criteria for your project should look like a grocery list:

  1. WordPress or Drupal Developer
  2. Who can do video and other emedding
  3. Ecommerce proficiency
  4. Can tie in affiliate software
  5. Can synchronize my data with an app (<— I can’t do that myself yet FYI)

Trust the process I’ve offered here, if I allowed comments it would overflow with angry remarks by developers who would argue all day long with what I’ve suggested. 90% of those developers would be a bad fit for 96% of the projects that exist. Only the precious few that can do exactly what you want are relevant to your own search.

I would know, I’m a developer who is only a good fit in the instances where you need a site at least somewhat like the ones I’ve already developed. Or one I can easily figure out how to do, or one I could do with antiquated html and CSS.

I’m probably not even close to the best at the above mentioned, but I’ll have plenty of people ask me if I can do a project and I’ll always say “probably.” which means “That depends, I won’t have to use ruby on rails or anything right?” The funny part is I know ruby, and could use rails, but I hate doing it. If it goes wrong I can’t easily fix it, because at best I am barely able to use it. I might not let that prevent me from trying and that should scare the hell out of you.

Does that mean I’m a bad developer? No it actually means I’m the normal every day developer who like every other developer is amazingly good at some things, fair at some things, and awful at some things.

But that is what you really need to know before you ever hire any developer, programmer, or frankly house painter. This isn’t rocket science but to be fair there are a few rocket scientists that probably suck at some part of what they do.

In any event thanks for reading this!

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759 thoughts on “What To Look For When Hiring A Developer”

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