What Is An App Developer? The Complete Guide For 2022

Software design and development is all the rage and almost everyone in the workforce vies to become an app developer in conjunction with their primary jobs. This interest has been gradual but is backed by consistent industry progress that has led software developers to become one of the most sought-after professionals in the world.

The demand for software engineers is also seemingly never-ending. With the trajectory shown by web and mobile development companies globally and our ever-growing reliance on technology, it is no wonder why companies are routinely hiring application developers.

But finding the right talent pool with all the desired qualities is rarer than you might think. Despite saturating the market with technology development, most companies struggle when trying to hire a capable application developer.

In this article, we run you down the basics of an app developer and how to hire the best resource for your company’s mobile app development needs. By the end of this article, you will have all the knowledge and data you need to begin your hiring process on the right foot. Let’s begin.

What Is An App Developer And What Work Do They Do?

What is an app developer

An app developer is a software engineer who designs, develops, and tests programming apps for computers and PCs, phones, smart devices, and tablets. Their primary responsibility is coding the functionality and key aspects of the software since the design and testing element is often offloaded to dedicated resources.

App developers typically work in teams and come up with solutions that are specific to the customer. They are experts in programming languages to build applications for app stores and their skills also extend to testing and debugging their code before the product is launched.

The modern digital world relies very heavily on applications to work. From smartphones to laptops, and TVs, to other smart devices, almost every device we encounter today requires an app to extend its functionality.

Mobile applications, in particular, have been the biggest catapults for the industry to mature into a vital segment. “If you can think of it, there’s an app for it” is only true thanks to app developers that have tried to bring every conceivable idea to fruition through software.

These apps rely on operating systems (OSs) to function, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, and it is common to find cross-platform applications that function on two or more OSs. However, app developers typically code for these platforms using different languages and frameworks.

For instance, apps on the iPhone are written in Swift and Xcode, whereas Android app development relies on Google’s SDK (Software Development Kit), but can be written in Javascript, Objective-C, and even Python.

Once the development process is complete, developers are then tasked with writing code templates for any upgrades or functionality overhauls. Apps also require routine maintenance, so app development is never a one-time job and requires routine upkeep. These updates are then sent as patches and released to the public for a better user experience.

Even though app developers can code and build for a variety of operating systems, two types are the most renowned globally:

1. iOS Developers

iOS developer

An iOS developer is a specific type of computer programmer that specializes in designing and building applications for iOS-enabled devices. iOS is the proprietary operating system used by Apple on its mobile phone lineup, although its coding functionality is very similar to macOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS development.

macOS is the operating system for Apple’s laptop and PC range, WatchOS helps power the Apple smartwatch, whereas the iPadOS (and no prizes for guessing this one) powers the internals of the iPad lineup.

Since the four share similar development languages and frameworks, it could be argued that most iOS developers can code for Macbooks, Apple Watches, and iPads too.

We at Aloa understand what it takes to hire a skilled iOS developer. All top iOS developers who work with us must pass our strict vetting process and be proficient in the following languages:

1.1 Swift

Apple launched the Swift programming language in 2014 and invited developers to learn to code with it considering it was scalable across all its devices and was also easy to work with. It is highly uncommon to find an iOS developer that is not proficient in this language. Swift is interoperable with Objective-C and open-source, making it the ideal programming language for iOS.

1.2 Flutter

Flutter was originally developed by Google and is a highly versatile programming language that can help develop high-quality apps for a large variety of operating systems, including iOS, Android, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac. For cross-platform apps, developers choose this language since it is cost-efficient and has incredible customization capabilities.

1.3 Objective-C

Objective-C was the predecessor to Swift and was originally built as an extension of C. While the language is still in use by iOS developers today, it has run out of favor and has been replaced by Swift.

Pros and cons of Objective-C

1.4 C#

This open-source language makes iOS development easy for intermediate to expert coders with a lot of development veterans familiar with this language. It has a rich library and supports cross-platform development.

1.5 HTML5

Primarily used in web development, HTML5 finds utility with iOS developers too in helping develop web pages for mobile devices. It is an especially good choice if you’re looking to develop apps that can work offline and are simple to code.

2. Android Developers

Android Developer responsibilities

Android developers are the second most popular type of app developer today. Google’s mobile and tablet operating systems are the most used globally and as such, high demand for quality Android app developers is always required by startups and established software development firms.

Android app developers work with different Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to make their software more interactive and interoperable. For building apps for Google Play Store, they are expected to be familiar with a lot of databases such as:

  • SQLite
  • MySQL
  • MariaDB
  • MongoDB

Companies also expect them to be fully familiar with the Android SDK as this is a given to developing an app for the Android platform. Here are some of the languages Android developers must be proficient in:

2.1 Java

The primary programming language for Android is Java, which Android Studio officially supports. Most apps today are built on this language and Android developers are required to be incredibly hands-on with this language and its required frameworks.

2.2 Kotlin

Kotlin is a recent development from Google and was announced to be an easier alternative to Java. It is also listed as an official Android language and developers with a great understanding of Kotlin and Java are highly sought-after in the market.

2.3 C#

Similar to iOS development, Android can also support C#. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, as the language is highly versatile and its open-source nature allows developers to code for many different operating systems.

2.4 JavaScript

Android apps that function similarly to web apps can be easily developed using JavaScript. Since the language is primarily reserved for web development, it can be a bit daunting for new developers to learn this language too. It does pay off though, as most apps today function as mobile versions of their web browser selves.

2.5 C++

Finally, C++ comes in handy when using Android Studio and is used by developers when building complex games for the mobile platform.

What Attributes Should You Look For In An App Developer?

Attributes of an app developer

Today’s internet users are heavily dependent on their mobile devices to browse everything from doctor’s appointments to shopping is now preferred online. Having an app developer on your team can help you bring in clients that are looking for mobile-first solutions to their problems. But hiring one is easier said than done.

Most companies struggle to hire the right resource for their specific requirements and find the entire process daunting since they don’t have clear guidelines or skills to know what to look for. With the seven best practices discussed below, you’re on your way to hiring the best app developer for your software company:

I. Do They Have A Strong Portfolio?

An excellent app developer isn’t just a programmer tasked with thousands of lines of code every day. They are experts in UI/UX too and can assist your design team in finding solutions to complex problems. The biggest (and perhaps only) indicator of their experience as a multi-faceted resource is their portfolio.

Have they worked on complex applications before? What was their specific job role in the development? What industry did they develop for? These are all relevant questions to ask during the hiring process.

II. Do They Have The Necessary Skills?

We’ve already mentioned how app developers generally fall into the iOS or Android category. But how comfortable is your soon-to-be resource at cross-platform development? Are they familiar with Android and iOS frameworks and languages?

Assessing the necessary skills you require is the biggest key point in hiring a capable app developer. But remember, an all-rounder may seem great on paper but may not be particularly great in either environment. Find experts in their fields.

III. Are They Team Players?

Development is never a one-man job. The task requires joining heads with other developers, project managers, designers, and testers. If they can’t seem to work alongside all the respective departments tasked with shaping up the product, they may not be the best resource for your company.

Developers do have a reputation of being lone wolves in their industry but for better workflow, they best know how to work in a team.

IV. Money Factor

Cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality, and an expensive developer isn’t always guaranteed success either. Weigh their skills and experience and try to negotiate a market-competitive salary. You may be surprised by the vast talent pool you can find in offshore markets at a fraction of the cost. This leads us to our next point…

V. Will They Be An In-House Resource Or Remote?

In-house Vs Remote app developer

The post-pandemic life has breathed life into the idea of remote working and distance employment. You could have the perfect candidate on paper to build apps for you but if your company enforces an in-house setup and they’re only available in a remote deployment, your efforts may be in vain.

Is your company willing to compromise on distance employment and make an exception? Are you equipped to handle an employee in a potentially different time zone? All of these questions need to be ironed out before you settle on an app developer.

VI. Are They Willing To Commit Long-Term?

Employment history is a decent indicator of a prospect’s preferred tenure length at a company. While no company appreciates a high employee turnover rate, in the world of app development, it can be incredibly costly for the business.

Developers working on a project have their methods of completion, and if your shortlisted candidate leaves midway, it can be very tricky to get another onboard to complete the app for you. Ensure your prospective hire doesn’t have a “job-hopping” reputation and always ask for references to confirm for yourself.

VII. Can They Debug Their Code?

Hiring an app developer

Even some of the best developers struggle with debugging their code since they’ve spent weeks looking at it and going over its functionality. Once the project starts to mature, it can be especially difficult for developers to highlight exact issues in their code. See if they’re good quality assurance representatives along with developers.

How Can You Find The Top App Developer For Your Business?

A. Thorough Vetting Process

Companies that employ a rigid and meticulous vetting process when hiring any candidate fare the best. But if you are looking to hire an app developer for the first time, it can be rather challenging.

Aloa can help you in this situation by providing outsourcing services for Android and iOS app development. We have a rigorous check-and-balance system in place to find the best talent for any app development needs you may have. And this tactic extends to other developers and personnel that you may require at your company.

Aloa homepage

Aloa also ensures that all developers are up-to-date with the latest programming trends and that their skills are just as sharp as ever by carrying out skill checks every fortnight. The company encourages learning development best practices as these skills benefit you in ensuring you have the most adept team at your disposal for your projects.

It helps developers save time in needless testing and debugging and can help bring your overall project costs down.

If you plan to hire the best resource, it is crucial to:

  • Run background checks
  • Verify employment history
  • Check education credentials
  • Verify the extent of their skills

Hiring an app developer without these measures can prove to be quite costly in the long term for several reasons. The developer could leave midway through the project or may have exaggerated their skills on their resume.

Asking for a portfolio and ensuring they solve a few problem-solving and coding tests before their interview at the company is vital to ensuring you get the best talent in your company. And this is only compounded when hiring remote developers where skill sets, interviews, and tests can all be manipulated.

B. Budgeting Intelligently

Setting aside a kitty for recruitment is a great place to start and most companies practice this with every hire. However, they often fail to consider the entire package they might be getting and may severely undervalue the candidate. In such a situation, it is always best to have multiple budgets based on the skills and experience you’re getting from the resource.

Are they only going to develop for iOS or will cross-platform backend development be part of the development plan? Are they efficient testers and designers too? And what’s their overall experience as app developers?

If a candidate fulfills all the criteria you’ve set out for them, then perhaps reconsidering the budget may be a good start to keeping them happy and at the company for the long term.

C. Ask For Client References

References help you identify what kind of work the developer has done in the past and what brands they have been previously associated with. Developers that have a rich history and experience will be very forthcoming with links to projects and portfolios detailing their work.

This technique can help you gauge if they are a good fit for your company and the project at hand. All capable mobile app developers have some collection of previous projects so be aware of any red flags that pop up when your perfect candidate claims they don’t keep track of their work.

App Developer Salaries Across The World

App development is a lucrative job to have, which explains why every other person you meet today is learning how to code. Companies pay big money to keep the best talent around, and their experience and work ethic is unrivaled compared to all other industries.

It is to no one’s surprise then why app development is one of the most rewarding job positions to hold. We’ve collected our data via Business Insider and have curated a list of the highest paying countries for app developers in the world:

  • USA — $106,120
  • Switzerland — $101,449
  • Denmark — $81,778
  • Australia — $80,093
  • Norway — $77,429
  • Ireland — $76,747
  • UK — $75,654
  • Israel — $74,400
  • New Zealand — $70,727
  • Canada — $70,307

While these rates are thoroughly researched and based on current market salaries, they aren’t necessarily set in stone. You are always encouraged to negotiate the best salary for your budget, and employee skill level and experience can play a big role in how high or low they’ll charge for their services.

Conclusion

App development is here to stay and more and more companies will try to figure out how to hire the best app developer for their company each year. The simple fact here is that app development, while lucrative and highly sought-after as a profession, can be difficult to master. This is why the best talent rarely switches companies.

Still, this isn’t a good excuse for anyone on the lookout for a quality resource to throw in the towel and go with the best available option. Aloa is the business for you, where we hire you the best remote and in-house app development team for any project. Our meticulous vetting process doesn’t just stop here, as we excel at software development in its entirety.

Look for Aloa for your company’s outsourcing needs. Quality, time, and scalability are never compromised when experts at Aloa deliver with their methodology. We are always reachable and approachable with just an email away. Contact us at resources@aloa.co for further queries.

The views expressed in this post are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Aloa or AloaLabs, LLC.
Need a software development team?
Let us helpLet us help

Ready to learn more? 
Hire software developers today.

Running a business is hard,
Software development shouldn't be ✌️