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Complete hiring guide for ASP.NET developers
Whether we’re talking about a business owner or a CTO, you’ll agree that hiring a developer (or rather the best developer with an ASP.NET in their tech stack possible) will bring numerous benefits to your business. But, this will only materialize if the hiring is done correctly.
And what does hiring the right way mean? It’s pretty simple; you do not rush the hiring process. You know that investing time and resources is costly, and you strive to find the best experts in their field.
Finding the next best ASP.NET dev is more than just talking to the right recruiters and having interviews. Let’s go through the sections individually, and see what’s vital to keep in mind before and during the hiring or interviewing process.
ASP.NET is an open-source web framework that acts as an extension to the broader .NET working environment. It has specific tools, libraries, and extensions for creating optimized, reliable, and performant web applications.
Some of these tools include:
- Base ASP.NET for working with web requests in F# or C#
- A type of web page templating syntax called Razor is meant for creating dynamic web pages with C#
- Web pattern libraries, including the MVC (Model View Controller) pattern
- Sophisticated (but easy to implement) authentication system that uses a collection of tools to improve performance while strongly considering safety and security; standard authentication tools include login handling template pages (external and multi-factor authentication), a collection of libraries, a database, and more
- Additional developing tools, such as editor add-ons for syntax highlighting, code suggestions, and other types of functionality
ASP.NET only runs on Windows platforms. It was developed and is currently managed by Microsoft.
Since ASP.NET is only compatible with Windows platforms, its applicability remains somewhat limited as technology will continue to evolve in the future.
Naturally, a need arose to create a more adaptable framework while preserving the main functionality of ASP.NET.
This is where ASP.NET Core enters the scene.
ASP.NET Core was created to provide the functionality of using a Windows-only framework (ASP.NET) on top of some of the other more popular OSs, including Linux and macOS. In this regard, one could say that ASP.NET Core is the next generation of cross-platform frameworks for the web.
This is where it gets confusing but bear with me.
Up to (but excluding) ASP.NET Core 3, all the previous iterations of ASP.NET Core were compatible with .NET Core and the .NET Framework.
However, this is no longer the case. ASP.NET Core (and higher versions) now solely depend on .NET Core and can’t be used with the .NET Framework anymore.
Naturally, ASP.NET Core running on .NET Core will offer different functionalities than ASP.NET Core running on the .NET Framework. Here’s the difference:
ASP.NET Core running on .NET Core: It’s the newest technology, all dependencies are self-contained, it capable of using most NuGet packages (.nupkg file that contains DLLs code and other information) but not Windows-specific packages, and works with Windows, Linux, and macOS.
ASP.NET Core running on the .NET Framework: It’s the older version of ASP.NET Core (generally speaking); some dependencies are self-contained, have access to some NuGet packages, and this version is capable of using Windows-specific NuGet packages.
Why and when to hire an ASP.NET developer?
If you decide to use ASP.NET for your business and hire a developer for it, you can expect the following:
Powerful web development performance
ASP.NET is an excellent choice for custom app building and website creation. It offers many valuable features that make it stand out, like JIT compilation, early binding, and caching. ASP.NET supports native optimization compared to other frameworks, contributing to overall improved performance across the board.
Secure apps and software
The security features of ASP.NET are yet another thing that makes it a superb framework choice. Whenever ASP.NET code is deployed on the server, you can be sure that the apps will be safe, secure, and 100% functional.
If you believe customized development is a reasonable option to include, ASP.NET is one of the better choices. With numerous built-in customization features, ASP.NET takes this process to a different level. Whatever the requirement is for the website, the ASP.NET dev will most likely make it a reality.
In this day and age, cloud-based businesses are essential for innovation and pushing things forward tech-wise. The bigger the company or the industry, the more likely they will need to use one of the many cloud-based services. With ASP.NET, the devs can make IoT apps, utilize Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), and create web apps.
Dynamic and eye-catching web pages
As much as dynamic web pages are the top thing everyone strives to build, their execution (from concept to reality) is a bit more complex and requires a lot of effort. Still, this is possible if you have an experienced ASP.NET dev on the ready. They can create an eye-catching dynamic website when they combine ASP.NET with VB, C#, HTML, and other supported languages.
Developers will have the chance to implement a progressive UI without writing thousands of lines of code. Besides, it’s helpful to know that ASP.NET supports caching and pre-compiled code. This will result in improved loading time and better accessibility.
Less time to get the work done
ASP.NET supports code reusing, so, in theory, the development team will need less time to complete the engagement. Instead of writing new code, developers can reuse the same code. Less time spent on an engagement results in fewer costs, making this framework very cost-effective. In this case, saving time means saving money as well.
Useful stats about ASP.NET
In the Stack Overflow survey of 2022, about commonly and frequently used web frameworks, 14.09% of respondents said they use ASP.NET, and 18.59% use ASP.NET Core. The average annual salary for ASP.NET devs is $114.152, with the highest being $169K and the lowest $84K.
The average annual salary for ASP.NET devs is $114.152, with the highest being $169K and the lowest $84K.
What does an ASP.NET dev do regularly?
There are numerous ways to come up with a list regarding the contributions of an ASP.NET developer. Let’s try and summarize several prominent ones.
- Writing clean and scalable code in the supported languages of .NET
- Creating clean interfaces and robust architecture
- Creating app layers
- Building top-level apps while they also work on improving current apps
- Building an intuitive UI together with the frontend devs
- Closely looking for bugs and writing an efficient code
- Conducting testing sessions for software prototypes
- Creating client displays
What should recruiters keep in mind before interviewing an ASP.NET developer?
These are the crucial aspects that recruiters should keep in mind:
It’s not necessary to master all iterations of the .NET environment – It can be said that the many iterations of .NET (.NET Core, .NET Standard, .NET 6) are similar in some ways but different in another. Suppose the candidate knows one but is unfamiliar with another language (they know Visual Basic but aren’t proficient in F#). In that case, they can easily merge the previous knowledge and apply it to the new language. What’s important here is knowledge of how things work, principles, and ideas.
Focus on more than just C# – In this context, mastering just C# (and nothing else!) will not bode well for the candidate's prospects. The more qualified ASP.NET candidates will also have experience with the Entity framework and MVC.
Think more broadly than considering the candidate’s experience alone – This doesn’t mean focusing solely on diplomas, certificates, or specific clients. Think broadly, and inquire about more than the candidate initially lets on (personal engagements, hobbies, other interests). You’d be surprised how the most promising candidates are often self-taught too.
Technical knowledge and practical assessment complement all of the above – Everything combined, including if they’ve aced the technical tests, gives a relatively clear picture of the candidate’s proficiency and knowledge, thereby covering all crucial aspects of the job.
Technical skills of an ASP.NET developer
The technical skills of an ASP.NET developer include:
- Coding skills – A good ASP.NET dev should write code for optimal app performance. This lets the devs debug more efficiently and improve the code as necessary.
- Expertise with ASP.NET MVC – This knowledge allows the dev to control the app functions. For this, MVC has become more popular as time passes. It seems it offers a better value for the desired outcome than specific frameworks because it is open-source and provides access to client-side technologies.
- Knowledge of programming languages – F#, C#, VB.NET, among others.
We inquired about the technical must-know (and must-have) skills with a senior software developer of the Proxify network, Yunus Bayrak, to which he said:
“It is strongly recommended and preferred that the ASP.NET dev has strong experience with Dapper, Entity, SQL, and NoSQL, MVC, Rest, Dependency injection, Redis, Mappers, MongoDB, design patterns (CQRS, Strategy, Singleton, Factory), Razor, HTML, and CSS too.”Yunus Bayrak
Non-technical skills of an ASP.NET developer
Apart from coding and technical skills, non-technical skills make a developer an even better candidate than they already are with their technical knowledge.
Let’s group a few notable traits into a larger group of communication skills. Here the recruiters and hiring managers can pay attention to the English language proficiency, listening, and responding. Alongside this line of thought, openness and communicative attitude are also great traits to look for: positive, curious, knowledgeable, and keen on a conversation.
Then, there are the company culture factors too. Does the dev seem like they would fit well in the company culture? Is the dev a good culture fit overall?
Of course, the dev should use good quality equipment (headset and camera) and be in a neatly organized room/premise, with good lighting and no noise. Even though these aspects are considered a default, to begin with, they are pretty underestimated when it comes to evaluating professionalism.
Essentials and assessment of an ASP.NET developer
Keep the following aspects in mind during the interviewing and hiring:
- Excellent knowledge and experience with the overall .NET environment – ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server, VB.NET, a good understanding of selected .NET libraries, and a keen eye for design
- Knowledge of the .NET languages – C#, F#, Visual Basic.NET
- Superb understanding of APIs and architectures (RPS, REST)
- Experience with technologies for client-side web development
- Experience with database management and cross-platform integration
Yunus added a summarization of the essentials for the ASP.NET devs:
“The dev needs to have experience with UI and coding patterns, development of ASP.NET apps for database, SQL, Web API, MVVM, MVC, React, and Angular. Then, I’d ask about general infrastructure and a web page's life cycle. And, let’s not forget to ask about previous similar engagements too.”
Interview questions to assess the technical proficiency of an ASP.NET developer
1. Can you elaborate on Postback?
Expected answer: When we have a request that we send from a client-side and toward a server on the user end (same page), this is called the Postback of ASP.NET.
Even more simplified, Postback is an HTTP POST of the same page of the form itself. It is a process of posting the page on the server again for the whole page to be refreshed.
2. Elaborate on Webforms and MVC in ASP.NET.
Expected answer: ASP.NET Webforms represents a segment of the framework ASP.NET and Visual Studio. For creating the ASP.NET web apps, this represents one out of a total of four models for programming. The approach is with a page controller; each page gets a controller.
The ASP.NET MVC is a pattern for decoupling data (model), UI (view), and app logic (as controller). Better explained, when we use MVC, a Controller that performs actions or data retrieval has the requests routed to it. The Controller chooses the displayed View and provides the Model. The final page is the View, according to the Model data. The approach here is a front controller which applies to every single page.
3. What can you say about ASP.NET built-in objects?
Expected answer: These objects are excellent for accessing needed information about the web server and the user/client that needs to access the web page. Then, information about the app that contains that web page, the HTTP request fields, and the response streams.
For example, with the built-in objects, the dev can quickly access information about the client, the web server, the web app that contains the web page, and information for the HTTP request streams and the response streams.
Let’s try to describe them:
- Response – This is used for methods’ description and describing properties, as well as object collections with crucial info about the server's response. Here we got the manipulating headers and content displaying, for example.
- Application – Similar to the Response above, here we have a description of properties, methods, and object collections, but with information about the entire web app. This includes objects and variables found in the app for the lifetime entirely.
- Server – Used for describing the properties and methods of an object, and this object, in turn, gives methods for different tasks of the server. We can use the Server to receive errors' conditions, encode text strings, execute code, and more.
- Session – Offers descriptions of an object's properties, collections, and methods, but this object has info about the user's session, objects, and variables for the whole session's lifetime.
- Request – Used for describing an object's collections, methods, and properties containing HTTP request information (cookies, forms, and similar).
4. Briefly describe the HTML server controls in context with ASP.NET
Expected answer: Just as standard HTML controls, these are used for processing on the server side.
The HTML server controls of ASP.NET are elements of HTML with characteristics that make them server-side accessible. We use these controls for the HTML pages and to expose the events and properties.
To enable their access, we should use the attribute runat=’server’
With them, coding is more straightforward through the runat=’server’, and we can enable interaction with the scripting on the client side.
5. Can you list the ASP.NET states and their types?
Expected answer: An ASP.NET state represents a session state that allows developers to store values for a user and later on retrieve them. This session state happens when that user goes through the ASP.NET pages in the web app.
The ASP.NET states are:
- Application state – Every web page collection and every file collection—are stated in just one web server directory.
- Session state – This state sorts the app data.
- Cookie state – When the information is stored on the client's machine.
- View state – Used for stating the web page and controls’ states.
6. What can you say about the ‘Caching types’?
Expected answer: The caching represents frequent data storage in the memory. Once we need the data in the future, we can easily retrieve it, and we don’t choose the complex option of app generating instead.
The caching types of ASP.NET are:
- Page Output – Used for specific determining of the attribute and cache durations. Here we can get data on a page level, and we can do this with the directive OutputCache, and add this on the .aspx page top.
- Page Fragment – This one represents a control commonly used in a web form, and with this, we can cache some page portions. An example of this is user control. With Page Fragment, we need to execute page fragment encapsulation of the desired page. Then, we need to turn the fragment into user control, and we do this by page fragment encapsulation.
- Data – Used for data source controls caching of data. With this type of caching, we can quickly get app info according to its requirements. The benefit of using data caching is less about the need to go into the slower storage layers and more about better scalability and performance of apps.
7. What are the ASP.NET web controls?
Expected answer: We use the web server controls if we need to create ASP.NET web pages. There are four main types of web server controls in this case:
- Web server controls – Form controls, text boxes, buttons, menus, calendars, and tree-view control. Compared to the HTML controls, the web server ones have many more built-in features and are more abstract.
- HTML server controls –You can see how an object model works because these controls expose it. The object model exposed is mapped close to the HTML elements or the same elements that render that object model.
- Validation controls – These controls are based on using operational logic. With them, we can check a specific field, or test something against a character pattern or value, to see where in a range that value is placed.
- User controls – We can create these controls as we create ASP.NET pages. They can be embedded in other identical pages (ASP.NET), which is the perfect way to make reusable elements and toolbars.
8. What can you say about the ASP.NET Authentication?
Expected answer: When we have to find out the identity of a user, we conduct authentication. This process defines whether a resource is present and accessed by the user. These are the four types of authentication with ASP.NET:
- Windows – Other names for Windows Authentication are Kerberos, NTLM, or NEgotiate. If we need to configure this for ASP.NET apps, we must host it with HTTP.sys, IIS, or Kestrel. We use this authentication for the corporate network servers with the help of Active Directory. From the Active Directory, we use domain identities to identify the users or Windows accounts. This authentication type is suitable when we have client apps, web servers, and users in the same Windows domain.
- Form – With this authentication, we can validate the password and user for the specific web app, and this app, in turn, doesn’t need authentication by Windows. The information about the user is stored in the source of external data.
- Passport – Passport authentication represents a Microsoft authentication service that is centralized. When we choose Passport as authentication, it means the user authentication part of the app is the responsibility of the passport service by Microsoft.
- Custom – For this authentication, we need access to the membership provider class (for checking username and password). Then, we also need to access the role provider class (for role-based user authorization verification).
9. Compare the Custom Controls and User Controls.
Expected answer: First, let’s differentiate between the two. Custom controls are not included in the library of .NET, so a vendor or software (third-party) creates them. The User controls represent containers that can gather the web server controls and the markup. Now, let’s compare the main aspects/differences:
- Custom controls allow for changes in the UI, and they are coupled loosely. We use them for single-app designs.
- User controls do not allow UI changes due to the fixed UI, coupled tightly. We use them for the design of more than one app.
10. What can you say about the usage of ASP.NET Reflection?
Expected answer: Reflection represents a process of enabling the app for information collecting, but all centered on itself, and this same information can also be altered or manipulated. With it, we can pinpoint the types within an assembly and invoke methods within the same assembly. The information, broken down, refers to object events, properties, methods, and the type itself.
What distinguishes a great ASP.NET developer from a good one?
A great dev will stand out by sufficiently completing the technical tests in the given timeframe. During the interviewing stage, they will perform better than other candidates.
One clear sign that you have a dev who stands out is the extensive knowledge of certain .NET concepts, for example:
- .NET Core
- Databases (Azure SQL, MySQL, SQL Server)
- MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate)
- Programming languages; F#, VB.Net, and C#.
- Experience with Azure
- Experience with ASP.NET libraries, Entity, and ASP.NET MVC
Additionally, the dev will have more years of experience with this technology and often notable clients in the portfolio (but not always strictly). Having one of these concepts under their belt (or ideally both), the interviewee can already be considered a step ahead of other candidates.
A great developer will also stand out by having a curious, proactive attitude and a demeanor of professionalism. A diligent, fast coder is one thing, but someone that does the job exceptionally well and suggests improvements would be the ideal candidate. You don’t just need someone that has no opinion and obediently follows through regardless of the task or the outcome. In possible challenges in the future, a proactive developer would also know how to salvage a tricky situation and improve it.
Business drivers and the value of ASP.NET
The benefits of using ASP.NET are, in fact, the same things that speed up the whole process of development through several significant improvements:
- Integrating with technologies – ASP.NET can integrate with other technologies quickly, such as jQuery, Angular.js, and JSON.
- MVC (Model-View-Controller) – The process of managing data is easier for the dev because data won’t be mixed with the UI or business logic.
- HTML control – Having control over the HTML is necessary, especially with the fast dynamics of UIs today. If you need good HTML rendering control, ASP.NET provides it.
- SoC (Separation of Concerns) – A software engineering concept that minimizes functionality overlaps and creates neat, separate sections from a computer program.
- Focus on TDD (Test Driven Development) – ASP.NET (MVC) also assists in code testing and clean code writing.
- Numerous tools for fast development – Fewer costs for maintenance, better productivity, support for more devices, all made possible by using a single programming language. ASP.NET uses existing tools, assets, and skills and contributes to reducing costs.
- Contributes to high scalability apps – It’s easy to scale the apps made with ASP.NET. Their architecture is based on components, so you can replace them for better performance when needed. With extra components, devs can quickly scale the entirety of completed applications.
- Customizable – Customizing an app with ASP.NET is very simple. New features can be added as needed, and the source code doesn’t need to change drastically.
Possible challenges during the hiring of an ASP.NET developer
There are always expected setbacks, challenges, and other obstacles during the hiring process, but you can prepare ahead by considering them in advance:
First, it’s possible that the hired candidate won’t be the ideal pick for the role. Often, managers choose less-than-excellently qualified candidates due to lower costs, a much simpler interviewing process, and other accompanying factors.
Then another challenge that could occur is the competitors and developer rates in general. If you’re not ready to meet the candidate's salary requirements (not too far removed from your budget), the competitors could step in and hire the best talent for themselves.
Remember, there might also be a limited pool of the best candidates you’re looking for. If you (ideally) strive to hire the best of the best, there’s a high likelihood that the group of devs in the top tier is scarce. With this, the recruitment process might take longer, and more resources might be needed to complete the hiring process.
You can find and hire the best ASP.NET dev by strategically planning the whole process and meticulously executing the plan. With a set goal, carefully planned budget, and diligently assembled recruitment team, the hiring process becomes faster and more efficient.
Scalable apps, faster development, and saving time and money are all within the range of attainable goals when you can hire a highly skilled ASP.NET development dev.
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