Without a doubt, picking your developer can be the most overwhelming and difficult part of the project. If you don’t understand a framework from a factory, how will you know the developer is someone you can trust to do a quality job for a reasonable price? Here’s the catch. You can pay someone thousands to build your app and it ends up being riddled with bugs, or you could pay someone half that and your app does even more than you expected. That’s because it’s not about the costs, it’s about the quality. In other words, you can hire a developer who might be charging you less, but it could take him ten times longer to finish your project and in the end actually costs you more because of the code isn’t up to par. Rather than pouring money down the drain, I’m sharing a series of posts that clears up a lot of the confusion about finding a seasoned developer you can trust.
I will explain where to look for qualified and affordable developers and how to determine whether they are truly the crème de la crème they claim to be. I’ll walk you through any challenging technical hurdles, show you how to create a design specification that is both impressive and effective, and explain how to win over your developers so they’re rooting for your success.
Finding Dependable and Talented Developers
With hundreds of companies peddling iOS development skills, it might be hard to believe that finding a decent developer can be almost as difficult as scoring backstage passes to a Rolling Stones concert. The truth is that there simply aren’t enough experienced developers to meet the market demand.
Just as politicians tend to be the target of jokes, iOS developers also find themselves getting a bad rap. That’s because the increasing demand for these rare talents is pushing unqualified or barely qualified developers onto the scene, hoping for a slice of the pie. These unskilled developers are like politicians at election time; they’ll make all sorts of wonderful promises they simply can’t keep.
If you’re like me and have the programming skills of a fish, you not only need to find someone to build your app, but also a couple of iOS-savvy friends whom you can turn to in a pinch with a question or for advice. Otherwise you’re gambling way too much on one person or development shop.
The following section explains how to expand your network of technically talented friends so you not only have some helpful iOS buddies that you can trust, but also so you can locate and select the best developer to build your app.
Consider hiring a second developer to advise you through your app project. This person won’t build your app but will be available to consult with you when you need him. If you happen to find a developer you really like but can’t afford to hire him for the entire project, consulting might be good option.
Reaching Out to the iOS Community
As hotly competitive as the app market is today, you might find it surprising to learn that the iOS developer community is actually, in my experience, an incredibly helpful, friendly, and supportive group. What’s the reason for this? My theory is that when this community first coalesced in 2008, there were zero resources available besides the Apple Developer Portal. Like explorers trying to climb Mt. Everest without a map, developers had to rely on each other for guidance, setting the tone for how the community interacts today.
The good news for you is that when you’re in a bind, there’s plenty of firsthand advice available from experts all over the world. It could be from a seasoned professional who has been doing this for years, one hit app after another, or a guy just trying to keep his app afloat hoping someone will throw him a life vest.
Numerous forums exist where you can discuss any design or code problems you’re facing – USE THEM! But to find a talented developer to help you on your project, you need to reach out to them in the places where they hang out.
Where to Scout Out the Talent
You probably already searched the Internet for iPhone developers and came across dozens of developer sites with impressive portfolios, enticing offers, and proven track records, so you have a pretty good idea what kind of jungle it is out there.
To help you machete through the weeds, this list offers some of the most common places to find developers both online as well as in your own community. Remember, you’re not just looking for someone to code your app. You also want to build your developer network and find friends with some iOS knowhow.
* Check out Upwork, Elance, Freelancer, Guru—These freelance job-posting sites are great for quickly finding some developer talent. Later in this chapter, I explain a bit more about the pros and cons of these sites and how to get the most out of them.
* Visit filtered freelance sites—Sites like theymakeapps.com and grouptalent.com (site no longer there) are similar to the previous freelance sites with the exception that the talent available is pre-filtered, taking out some of the guesswork for you.
* Post on social networks—Post that you’re talent hunting on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and you might make a few new friends. You can also search for Facebook pages, look for Twitter hashtags, or find iOS groups on LinkedIn that you can join.
* Go to meetups—Check out meetup.com to find iOS developer groups in your area. If there isn’t one, start one yourself. You can also check out other professional and technical clubs. Chances are there is at least one developer or entrepreneur club in your town.
* Stop by a code camp—These weekend-long cramming sessions are for developers. You don’t need to sign up for the entire course, but stop by during the lunch break and mingle with the attendees to see whom you discover. One of the most popular is Big Nerd Ranch (bignerdranch.com).
* Phone your local tech or startup center—The people running these businesses are incredibly well connected. Ask them if they know anyone developing mobile apps and ask to be put in touch. Their jobs are all about networking, so they should be more than happy to help you out.
* Visit a Hack-a-Thon—Check out hackatopia.com to see if an event is scheduled in your area. These events are designed for technical and nontechnical attendees to network, code, and most importantly, learn.
* Ask everyone you know—Let anyone and everyone know you would like to meet iOS developers. Talk about it family reunions, church, your kid’s ballgames, and when you run into your neighbor while walking the dog.
* Check the App Store—Look up your favorite apps and contact the developers who created them. Let them know that you are fans of their app, hoping to create your own, and would appreciate being in touch with any developers they may know.
* Post to Craigslist—I’m constantly amazed at what people discover on this site. A good friend landed an app project there, started her own business, and in less than a month handed her old boss her notice.
Now read Part 2 : Making the most of Elance.com and other sites