Are Reliable Software Developers as Elusive as Bigfoot?

Are Reliable Software Developers as Elusive as Bigfoot?

No. But finding one can prove just as unattainable as a Sasquatch sighting unless you know the right questions to ask. But if you’re like most people who don’t know the techno-babble that most developers use, you probably just smile and nod like you understand the difference between CSS, html, jquery, and Ruby on Rails, and you don’t ask any questions. Don’t make this mistake.

If you’re wondering who Ruby is and why she’s hanging out on train tracks, it might be time to call for reinforcements…..

Just as you would bring along a trusted friend or relative to help you buy a car, reach out to your more tech-savvy friends and ask them what questions to ask your potential developer. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a tech genius waiting in the wings, then look into hiring a consultant that can help you in the early stages.

If you don’t know any Mark Zuckerberg wannabes, and you can’t afford a consultant…

Consider these 7 points when choosing a software developer:

# 1 Developers are not too smart to explain

You should always ask your developer what the technology stack is he will be using for your project and why he’s choosing it. Then, research that technology and make sure it’s a fit for your project. If he says it’s too complicated for you to understand, be very leary. He should be able to explain anything to you in layman’s terms. This is your project (and money) afterall. You have a right to full disclosure.

#2 All developers are not created equal

No developer is an expert at everything and some projects are infinitely more complicated than the next.  Websites are no longer just HTML and CSS. They have evolved to be complex applications that run on remote servers and APIs.  A good developer has spent years learning and perfecting good development practices, and most will have four-year degrees in Computer Science or a related field.

#3 You get what you pay for

What drew you to this developer to begin with? Is this a family friend that you are trying to help out by throwing him some business? Or is it a freelance developer with an unbeatable price?  If either of these is the case, you should do your due diligence in checking him out before you hire him. Ask for his resumé.

#4 A support team is essential

There are a lot of talented freelance developers out there that do great work, but software design is more than just coding.  There are tried and true practices that require a high level of communication and specialized roles such as Product Managers, Quality Assurance Techs, and User Experience Engineers just to name a few. The more support a developer has, the more he can concentrate on developing a great site without stretching himself thin.

#5 Communication and transparency are pivotal

Communication is important on any project, but it becomes critical for a difficult project where many issues and bugs arise. You want to make sure whomever you choose as your developer has a staff member dedicated to your project who can answer your questions and update you on your project. There should always be someone available to answer your questions on your project.

#6 A stringent quality assurance process is vital

This can not be stressed enough. Software testing is the cornerstone of every project.  Ultimately, the success of your project hinges on efficient deployment and testing of your product.  The software cycle depends heavily on efficient QA and testing for improvements to your product. This ensures your project stays on course when issues arise. And when issues do arise, a good developer is going to do everything it can to resolve the issue and make you happy.

#7 When the going gets tough……”this number is no longer in service”

Continuity is essential to the life of your product. Some freelance software developers are notorious for disappearing on you. As mentioned above, good developers want to keep you happy. Their reputation is everything. They will do good work and warrant it for the future. Some things to look for that identify a committed developer:

  1. Do they have an office?
  2. Do they have references.
  3. Are they insured?
  4. Do they warrant their work?

It is undisputed that a search feature is necessary for all online stores. The only question to ask yourself is which category of online store you fall in: stores utilizing their search feature for their customers’ benefit (and ultimately to boost sales) or online stores that are allowing it to sit under-utilized.

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