A mobile app for your business is even more important than a website. 63% of users prefer apps over sites because it is convenient while 57% do so because it is faster and 40% like the way apps store information. Play Store and App Store offer over five million apps.
By the end of 2020 there will be 6.95 billion mobile device users across the world, spending a couple of hours a day on apps. Apps look easy but developing one requires exceptional skills.
Given that you need an app for your business you will want an expert in mobile application development but how do you hire the right mobile app developers? Read on.
The Android – iOS Divide
Which way to go? Android or iOS? Ideally, you need to have apps for both platforms.
- Android has 72.6% market share
- iOS has 26.72% share and Windows has a miniscule 0.03%.
Clearly, it is wiser to spend your money first on Android mobile app development. However, if your product or service is targeted at those with better incomes then iOS may be better.
Individual Developer or Mobile App Development Company?
The next thing to consider is should you hire an individual or a company for mobile application development?
Individual App Developer
- You could have a hiring or contractual arrangement so that the individual works full time
- You can expect better attention and commitment
- The downside is that an individual may not possess all relevant skills and expertise in technology stack such as user interface development and underlying technology as may be needed based on features and functionality. Besides, communication and availability as well as speed of development are issues to consider.
Mobile app development company
Mobile app development companies usually have a full team of specialists working together. You will have access to the interface designer, experts in various technology stacks, and full infrastructure in terms of hardware, software, and app testing.
The downside is you may pay more but you are assured of fast development. Further, apps need to be updated on an ongoing basis. In this case, too, a company is preferable over an individual.
The Tech Stacks
Before you hire mobile app developers you will need to evaluate their competence in various tech stacks:
- Structured Query Language
- RESTful APIs
- IoT, Artificial intelligence, machine learning (not absolutely necessary, but a plus point for specific requirements)
- Objective C, iOS software development kit, Apple Xcode
- Android Software Development Kit, Android Studio, Gradle, and Android programming languages such as Java and Kotlin
- Cordova, PhoneGap, Ionic Angular JS, React Native, Xamarin, C# for hybrid apps
It is not possible or easy for one person to master all these technology stacks. A mobile app development company has teams with specialists in specific stacks for iOS, Android and hybrid app development.
The stack is chosen depending on the goal of the app and interfacing with technology already in existence. For instance, you may want the app to connect with your website or financial accounting package.
However, expertise in tech stack is just one important aspect of mobile app developers. There are others to consider.
Industry Knowledge and Understanding Business
A mobile app does not operate in a vacuum. It must be aligned with the business, product and service a company offers. It must satisfy expectations of app users. Technical competence is a good thing but if your app developers also have an understanding of how users work and how business works then it is a plus point.
Expect your developer to work closely with you to understand your needs and your business. Further, you may wish to monetize the app, in which case, the developer should be able to implement ways. Analytical skills are absolute must to conceptualize the right app and architect the right model.
Communications are Vital
It is best to choose a mobile app developer who works on the agile model. The app can be tested as it develops and time to market is short. In the meanwhile, you and your developer must be in constant communication to exchange ideas that will lead to an app that is as perfect as is possible.
Competence to Address Bugs
Even if the mobile app development is agile and testing takes place in-house, there are extraneous factors that affect performance. Such bugs need to be detected and ironed out. It is one thing to write code and develop apps.
It may be harder to find out glitches and this is where experts stand out from novices. You pay more to app development companies but get the benefit of fast resolution of all issues.
How do they tailor the package? Individual developers may be available today but not a year or so later when you want to update the app. App development companies are stable and you can expect support on a continuing basis. When you pick a company you must know how they operate.
- For instance, a mobile app development company may claim to offer all services in-house. In reality, they may simply farm out work to specialists, contracted hires, or workers on a piecemeal basis and put the pieces together.
- The better class of developers maintains in-house teams of experts in various branches such as user interface, programming, tech stacks, and testing. Everyone works together to build your app.
You can obviously see which one is better.
The knowledge that comes with experience is the best because there are things that theory cannot teach. Developers with real life app development experience are the ones to look for. Almost invariably they will show you apps they have developed and even get you references and testimonials from customers.
You can hire a mobile app developer to work exclusively for you in which case you get a good idea of the time frame in which work will be completed. However, unless the app developer is part of a team you cannot expect the developer to be able to address all aspects of app development.
Leave it to a company specializing in app development but get an exact timeline. Time is money and the more time they take, the more it will cost you. The median cost of app development per hour in the US ranges between $100 and $150.
As stated above, competence in tech stack is not the only thing. Security is important and the developer you choose must be able to implement strictest security features.
Submission to App Store/Play Store
You may offer apps direct to your customers. That will not get you many downloads. You will have to go through App Store or Play Store. These platforms have strict norms to which the app must comply before it will be listed for downloads. Make sure you hire developers of apps who make it their responsibility.
From the above you can see that the best course of action is to hire companies for mobile app development, making sure that they have in-house teams and capabilities in mobile app tech stack as well as other IT areas such AI and programming.