Ability - (Is the developer qualified?)
An app developer must have sufficient knowledge on how to design, implement and debug the project. A client might have either a generalized idea of what is wanted or a very specific design document, but it is the developer's responsibility to bring this to fruition.
Knowledge of the target platform is essential. This includes the hardware and software tools that might be available. Education, degrees and certificates will serve to show capability, but they won't help spotlight some of the top-notch indies out there.
Past Experience - (What other apps has the developer made?)
Looking at a developer's existing work will uncover strengths and weaknesses while allowing an honest assessment of suitability. Even a small portfolio can speak volumes.
Any previously made apps should be scrutinized for issues with usability. Obvious and repeated flaws expose poor design and lack of professionalism. A look at past products can also reveal a unique signature of the developer, which might be desirable.
Passion - (Does the developer enjoy making apps?)
Programming is a field where logic and creativity collide. Finding that special developer with the right combination of both is difficult. However, having the proper mix can be the catalyst that propels an app above the rest. Even if the developer contracts out some or all of the coding, a thorough understanding of the craft is still required. Without this intimacy, no factual promises regarding the feasibility of demands, requests or time-lines can be made.
Communication - (How well does the developer interact with clients?)
Creating an app requires clear communication among different parties. If the developer has difficulty understanding what the client wants, then he will have a hard time expressing those wishes to others working on the project, such as artists, programmers, sound engineers, etc.
How promptly the developer responds to emails can give an indication of how much priority the proposed app will be given. A developer that reaches out for clarification before the project begins is usually a good sign.
An Informed Choice
A compatible developer can be found by asking the right questions before any work is considered. There is no reason to leave the hiring process to chance. A few minutes of inquisitive communication with a prospect about ability, experience and passion is time well spent.
Jonah Engler is a financial expert from New York City.