Complete hiring guide for mobile app developers

If you need to hire an app developer, we got you covered. Our complete hiring guide contains every crucial aspect of the hiring process and the recruitment process preceding it.

Marija Neshkoska

Marija Neshkoska

Complete hiring guide for mobile app developers

Finding an app developer that does the job well is complex, time-consuming, and it requires a lot of research to get to the ideal candidate for the job. With our hiring guide, you’ll get a clear understanding of the valuable statistics about app development, how to quickly find the right candidates for the job, and what the expected costs and the expectations of the role are.

Investing time and resources before filling the role will bring more benefits than simply hiring the first developer that applies. For one, you’ll know that you gave your best to hire the right person and chose the best qualifications out of all applicants. Second, your business won’t be hindered by obstacles like re-hiring or spending too much and still not receiving top-notch quality work from the devs.

We will also cover segments about the recruitment process, how it starts, what preparations are needed for the recruiters, and similar. After all, recruiters and talent acquisition are priceless assets, especially when you need the best quality devs to hire.

About Mobile app development

Mobile app development is a process where a developer creates software for wireless and small devices, like smartphones, tablets, hand-held devices, EDA (enterprise digital assistants), and PDA (personal digital assistants).

Whenever mobile apps are created, the dev always has the mobile-specific features in mind that could be applied uniquely for that mobile device. Otherwise, mobile app development is intertwined with traditional software development.

Why and when to hire a mobile app developer

Is hiring a mobile developer the right approach for your organization? Here are some things to consider before hiring a mobile application developer:

  • Less operational costs as the revenue increases
  • Need for new, valuable, innovative apps for your business
  • The engagement benefits in the long run with self-managing devs
  • Group and focused efforts of devs accelerate the result
  • Utilizing the most out of the technology through personalization features
  • The solutions to app delays and challenges arrive instantly
  • An innovative approach to your brand/business

Stats about mobile app development

The salary of a mobile app developer will vary according to the type of employment (full-time, part-time, contract, per project, and similar), their level of experience and proven track record, and whether the apps are Android or iOS.

The average salary of a mobile app dev ranges between $84,365 and $101,761 annually. The lowest salary is $36,000, and the highest is $157,000 annually.

In turn, the average salary of an Android app dev is $125,773 per year, and for iOS app devs, it is $129,611 per year.

Also, the most famous and commonly used technologies and frameworks for app development are: Kotlin, Swift, React Native, Java, Flutter, and Python.

Types of mobile apps

There are 3 types of mobile applications:

  • Native apps—Built with the help of IDEs (Integrated Development Environment) and with languages used for Android and iOS as mobile operating systems. They offer a lot of customizations and features, but they can be costly to make.
  • Progressive web apps—These apps behave like mobile apps and look that way too. For these, Facebook React is a standard technology.
  • Hybrid apps—Much like native apps, these are web apps made with technologies like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. These apps are not pricey to make; they are cost-effective, and one downside is not too many rich features overall.

Interviewing a mobile app developer

When you leave it up to recruiters or talent acquisition specialists, there is no room for faulty, tedious hiring of an app developer. These professionals are prepared better than anyone regarding finding and hiring suitable candidates.

They will diligently look for a proven track record and years of experience. Still, they will also pay equal attention to their proficiency in English, soft skills, technical test skills, and communicativeness.

Technical skills of a mobile app developer

A great mobile app dev will have the following technical skills and ample experience in:

  • Backend computing—With this knowledge, the dev can check everything before releasing it for public use. In backend computing, we have database management, hardware interaction, using frameworks, and similar.
  • Knowledge of frontend development—Creation and coding of features, elements that the user sees.
  • Usage of programming languages—A mobile app dev must know C++, C#, and JavaScript, as well as their corresponding frameworks and libraries such as Dlib, Boost, APR, and others.
  • UI design—A dev that also handles the design part will be able to create visually stunning app interfaces for the users too.
  • Cybersecurity—Mobile app devs need to know cybersecurity to provide secure access to information and a secure way of using the app.
  • Cross-platform development—Many new platforms are appearing regularly, and knowing how to develop apps across platforms proves beneficial to keep up with the progressive and fast-paced proliferation of new platforms.
  • Excellent knowledge and experience with UX/UI best practices
  • Agile development—With the Agile method, developers can increase and improve the efficiency and speed of the entire process of app development.
  • IoT skills—This encompasses security, device connectivity, and connecting the apps to the web.

Non-technical skills of a mobile app developer

Keep in mind that non-technical skills are always equally as important as technical ones. The personality traits are as valuable as the technical skills and competencies. You can try to conduct this process alone , but it could be very tiresome, costly, and time-consuming in the long run.

A talent acquisition specialist can take on the vast heap of complexities and help when you need to hire a mobile app dev. At Proxify, we can proudly say that our talent acquisition specialists execute the process impeccably at all times. They will check the level of English knowledge to see if the candidate will have any obstacles communicating with clients. Then they will focus on attentive listening, whether the candidate avoids questions or is inattentive, and perhaps whether they ask a lot or are not interested in the interview conversation in general.

Additionally, the environment (room, lighting) and equipment of the candidate are also important to pay attention to. The candidate must be adequately prepared (professional or adequate outfit, good lighting, quality microphone and camera, and similar).

Essentials and assessment of a mobile app developer

We discussed with Arthur Pasqualon, a React Native dev, and he said that these are the essentials and technical qualities a mobile app dev should have:

“The mobile app dev should master the knowledge of the environments and know a lot about Hybrid and Native development. Regarding the Hybrid (React Native and Flutter), they should have a good knowledge of JavaScript and TypeScript, and regarding Flutter, they should know Dart to a satisfactory level. For Native development, they should know Swift and C for iOS, then Kotlin and Java for Android.”

author Arthur Pasqualon

Interview questions to assess mobile app developers

Here are some examples of interview questions that you can use (along with others) when you assess the mobile app dev candidate:

  1. Tell us about some apps that you’re developing/have developed.

Expected answer: In this part, there is no single “template” for the answer, but remember that the candidate should speak as precisely as possible about the app development they are most proud of.

For example, they should start with their own created apps because this is the best way to confirm they make functional apps. They can show you their phone apps and even link you to their Play Store or App Store. But, not just talking about it: try connecting the context of those apps with your business’ needs and your brand.

  1. Compare and elaborate on manual and automated tests.

Expected answer: Manual tests are a common practice when we need to conduct many test rounds for an app. Let’s say we have an app and have to test a new function for it. In this case, manual testing is the best choice.

In comparison, an automated test is a practice for conducting many regression tests (testing to ensure that any kind of change did not alter or break the overall functionality) for the mobile app. These tests are time-saving and the best option for urgent situations.

  1. What are hybrid apps? Elaborate.

Expected answer: The hybrid apps represent apps created with a blend of native code (Java or Objective-C) and web technologies (JavaScript, HTML, and CSS). When devs make hybrid apps, they make apps that are publishable on the web and on both types of app stores too (iOS and Android).

  1. What is ANR? Elaborate more about it.

Expected answer: ANR means ‘app not responding' and is sometimes seen happening with Android apps. It is in the shape of a dialogue box, which will instantly appear after the app has unsuccessfully tried to load for 10 seconds. It means the app is not responsive and crashes. Of course, this is not a favorable situation, but it can be prevented by reducing the number of activities that the primary UI thread performs.

The causes for ANR can be:

  • I/O primary thread operations
  • Slow code-running (for the main thread)
  • Deadlock (a thread locks a resource, but that resource should arrive in the main thread)
  • Improper management of lock states
  • Slow speed of the broadcast receivers.
  1. Elaborate on common problems or arising situations during mobile app testing.

Expected answer: The most frequently seen issue is slow loading and overall slow performance that affects the immediate practicality and running of an app. In this case, we always have to pay attention to the time needed for the app to start; then, we also focus on the loading time for different screens.

Anything more than 2 seconds is a lot of time for a task in the app. We need to work with the developer team and strive toward improving the loading speed.

  1. Elaborate on usability testing.

Expected answer: In the final testing stages of an app, we conduct usability testing. This is a process where we gather a small group of end-users and tell them to test the app to give us their feedback.

With this, we can quickly pinpoint possible overlooked problems and ensure whether the app will have simple access on multiple devices. This process makes the app more usable, practical, flexible, and easily accessible as well.

  1. Can you briefly explain what the ‘sandboxing’ of apps is?

Expected answer: The security mechanism for app isolation and shielding, all happening at the kernel level, is called sandboxing. This protects the app from malware, threats, or intrusions.

The devs protect the apps by a ‘security policy wrapping of the app’, or even splitting the app into separate, individual virtual machines. With this, we achieve limited code-running environments, and the users will not be able to access a specific unuseful or harmful environment. Google and Apple use this method for safety and security in in-app environments.

  1. Explain more about the data stored in iOS and Android—solutions and databases.

Expected answer: The term for native data storage in Android devices is SharedPreferences. It is used for storing data in small amounts, such as settings or user preferences, and this data is always kept in the format of an XML file.

For iOS devices, it is pretty similar, and it’s called UserDefaults. Previously, these UserDefaults were named NSUserDefaults, and the format is always .plist

We can use SQLite with both. Additionally, with Android, we have the Room persistence library for accessing SQLite databases and less boilerplate code. With iOS, we have Core Data for object graph management.

  1. What are emulators and simulators?

Expected answer: The emulator represents a program that’s not dependent on a line handset but tests mobile apps efficiently.

The simulator represents a tool used for mobile app testing but simulates an electronic network. This tool is commonly used for helping users with their home network (the latching) that doesn’t depend on roaming services.

Both emulators and simulators are cost-effective, so we don’t need to purchase those devices for app testing.

  1. Elaborate on debugging when the app is already released and ready for usage.

Expected answer: When we need to get the information for the app crash and correct it, we can use Firebase Crashlytics, a third-party crash analytics software intended for both Android and iOS. It gives us information about the device's manufacturer, the user's language, the operating system's version, and more. Some tools similar to FC include Appsee, Instabug, Raygun, and Sentry (good in the case of JavaScript-written apps, like React Native). There are many tools that are used for debugging and corrections of released apps; these are just some examples.

What distinguishes a great mobile app developer from a good one?

A great mobile app dev will place the user and prioritize the user experience. They will also be eager to learn and improve their skills, knowledge, and expertise in any relevant way possible. A proactive attitude goes a long way regarding the professional aspect of a capable mobile app developer.

Additionally, they will want to create a unique app (unlike others) or have already done it.

The ideal candidate can manage their work time, manage tasks well and prioritize them too. They should be able to engage in critical thinking and evaluate if their work is of good quality (thus far) or needs improvement and additional dedication.

Pasqualon here added:

“They will have a proven and strong portfolio and always focus on the user experience and user issues if any. The ideal candidate will like to upgrade their skills, i.e., they never stop learning new technologies and implementing upgrades. A close eye on details is another strong trait to look for. Additionally, they’ll know very well how users interact with various interfaces, and they will be well-informed of all there is to know about the software, hardware, legal aspects, and limitations of Android and iOS environments. Last but not least, they can showcase an app they made that proved extremely useful for companies and individual users.”

What characteristics make a mobile app successful in the end?

It’s good to know what makes an ideal app, to know what to pay attention to when you review the application the candidate has made. How the app ‘behaves,’ what excellent and practical features it offers, and how well it is optimized will give you a strong impression of the quality of work of that developer.

Some traits of an optimized, effective and potentially successful mobile app are:

  • Simplicity for the user—Good UI and functionality make the app excellent, but also the local navigation has to be top-notch.
  • High performance—Loading time and fast performance are crucial. Loading in a second makes the app quality near excellent.
  • Offline work—Even some things available online from the app, make the functionality instantly better. There is nothing more irritating than all app features not working due to internet connection obstacles.
  • Applicable to iOS and Android—The ideal app can be used for both operating systems.
  • Personalization and customization—The user can decide how to personalize or customize the app where applicable.
  • Regular, fast updates—When an app is updated regularly, there are less obstacles that would make the app work slower.
  • Quick and easy search—Browsing has to be simple, fast and easy for the best user experience.
  • (Social) media integration—The best way to retain users is with social media integration. This process is the one that enables users to use various interesting features that are linked and synched with media and different platforms/profiles of the user. Here we have anything from connecting social media profiles with the app at hand, sharing content, adding it to lists, and more similar.
  • Analytics—The admin should be able to receive information for the behavior of the user quickly, as long as it’s consistent with all local and regional privacy laws

Business drivers for mobile app development

Mobile application development is driven by several important business factors, some of which include:

  • Strengthened and better customer engagement—Happy users do not deinstall an app. Consistent quality is seen when the number of app users are not reduced, but increased and retained over time.
  • Better and significant value for customers—Customers can quickly meet their needs for online services and activities at their convenience.
  • Establishing the brand—The more value you create, the more customers will want to connect with your brand.
  • Better, more specific and faster support—Easy feedback collecting, increased support, and improved transparency about business information.
  • Increased competitive edge—The more creative and practical the app, the better the potential success over the competitors.
  • More in-depth customer insights—Information like how many users you have per day/week/month, uninstalls, retention rates, downloads, user demographics, type of device, and similar.
  • Personalized marketing—With better access to user information, you can promote the application better and improve the marketing as well.
  • Innovative services/product—When you introduce something new, regarding apps, it not only makes the user’s life easier, but you boost and establish your brand firmly too.

Possible challenges during the hiring of a mobile app developer

There are significant challenges with the process of hiring a mobile app developer prior to the entire process.

First, there is the cost to hire a developer. In this case—beware, your competitors could try to go for the same dev that you want to hire. Be prepared to “splurge” more if you want to hire a developer in high-demand from a scarce talent pool.

Next, the time zone could be an obstacle to the work dynamic. If your clients or you are in one time zone, but the dev is in another, you’ll need to think of ways to overlap the hours. Another solution would be to at least trust the dev entirely that they’ll deliver top-quality work during their work hours.

Another possible challenge is if you want to create an app development team but lack enough quality candidates for it. In that case, you can try and assemble the best possible choices or prolong the process until all preferred candidates are available.

And, of course, a possible challenge could be not finding great candidates. Overall, because of lack of support, having no recruiters to do it for you, or not having a valid assessment of candidates, it can become very hard to assemble a mobile app development team.

Conclusion

Hiring a developer for mobile apps doesn’t need to be overly complicated. You can always refer to hiring guides (like this one!) to prepare a team to find and hire the best candidate.

Do not risk hiring the wrong person or risk app corrections down the road. Prepare better, save resources and time, and boast later with functional apps and the right devs. Happy hiring!

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