Best Mobile App Developer – How to spot a unicorn?


Your organization needs a mobile strategy. Period!

With mobile eating the world, the question of ‘should I have a mobile strategy?’ has gone obsolete. Now, what haunts most business owners is, how to take their organization mobile especially when they don’t have a mobile development team in-house. An alternate but a seemingly risky option is to outsource your mobile app development project.

Choosing the right developer could, indeed, be a tricky task. For not all of us are Master Oogway to find the legendary dragon warrior. So, how to find a good mobile app developer? What are signs to look out for? How to differentiate an experienced mobile app developer from a rookee?

Do you want a single answer? No, there isn’t one.

But, what you could probably do is – ask these questions,  lookout for the following and TIG ( Trust in God)

Questions to ask a mobile app developer before hiring

  1.  How many apps have you built so far? Mobile app development is no way different to any other field. The more number of apps a developer has built, the more experienced he is. But a good programmer can adapt himself/herself to build a mobile app. Between no. of apps on the store and the superior geek cred of the developer, I’d go with the latter.
  2. How many ….. apps have you built? While the first question helps you to get an idea about the developer’s experience on the whole, this question will help you to know his experience on the particular platform / business category you are planning for your app ( I’m a street racer. But I suck at driving a Boeing 747). A kids’ app needs pedagogical understand and learning development models while a utility app does not require such specialist know-how!
  3. Can you share with me a list of your previous customers? Do you mind if I check with them about your works? – Get access to their clientele list and talk to a couple of them. If needed, approach someone who could do that for you. If a developer continues to work for a client in improving the app, ask specific questions about how the developer interprets app downloads and user engagement data to make app changes. If you can find a developer who gets these, you’ve hit a jackpot!
  4. How can I monetize my app?While this looks like a 100% business question, it is not actually so. There are different types of app monetization approaches and a good/experienced developer will have, at least, a basic understanding about these techniques. It’s also pertinent from an app development perspective – If you get someone who can implement an ad exchange program, analytics tools and engagement plugins, it may decisively improve your app’s success!
  5. Can you also give me some insights about mobile SEO/ASO and app marketing? – They don’t need to have perfect answers. But from the answers you know if the developer does it for $ or for passion.
  6. What tools do you use for developing and project management? Yes, a good craftsman never blames his tools. But also remember that WW II was never fought with an axe and a spear! Besides, there are about 2500 SDKs and tools to get a well-polished app out there. Know what your developer plans to use!
  7. What do you suggest as best practices for submitting the apps to the app store? – What you are looking for here is the experience of handling the ever changing policies of the app stores. There are several avoidable gaffes that your developer ought to know!
  8. That reminds me, ” Would you also help in submitting the app to the app store?” – Obvious, but some don’t do it!
  9. Would you be ready to sign an NDA( Non-Disclosure Agreement)? Make sure you own the IP rights of the code-base.
  10. Do you have experience in migrating an app to a different platform? Not quite relevant in all cases. But in situations where it is relevant, look for demonstrable expertise.
  11. Do you have a company/individual blog? Can you point me to it? Reading a developer’s blog gives you a great insight about his passion and experience towards mobile app development.
  12. How much do you charge for fixing the bugs outside the contractual support time?
  13. Are all your developers in-house? Some developers simply act as a project manager and they get the work done from other freelance/other developers.
  14. What smartphone do you use?  Do you think I’m going overboard right? Might be not. Read on. More than passion, the type of smartphone ( iOS/Android/ Windows/ BB) a developer has gives you a hint about how updated he might be with the platform.(P.S. Note that I’ve put this in the last. This should not be a deal-breaker)

Other signs to lookout:

  • Find out how much importance a mobile developer gives to UI/UX, battery and memory optimization
  • Check out how good his/her communication skills are, especially when he is from a non-English speaking country
  • The type of questions s/he asks you and the quality of suggestions s/he provides to improve your product
  • Make sure you know who will be your point of contact in the company
  • The position(ranking) of the apps s/he has previously built. The more successful an app, the better it has gotten with performance and bug fixes (hopefully)!

If you are going to spend tens of thousands or more on an app, its advisable to do a due diligence. Test with a pilot project(typically should get over before a week or two)  and see how it goes.

If you’re still unsure, give us the honor of finding you the best mobile app developer from our curated list of mobile app development companies.

Image credits

Building an app? Tell us about your project

We'll connect you with the right team for your project, for free!

  • Very good advice! We frequently get all these questions, as well as one about business models. We’re developers for hire, so clients pay us to make their ideas and specs into apps that they then own free and clear. Some people are looking for more of a partnership arrangement or to sell their idea to a company that will run with it themselves.

    • Ashwin – ContractIQ

      One worrying trend is, apps are seen as transient and quick cash machines (while stats don’t support that view). Apps are just traditional businesses adopted for new delivery/distribution contexts. Very short term thinking overrules sound logic right from the word go, in many cases!