Four Tips for Hiring a Third-party Software Developer

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Do you need some software design help? When a small business needs software design assistance, it might not be enough to warrant hiring a full-time software designer (since most small businesses couldn’t afford one anyways) but the coding needed requires a professional. Fortunately, many digital marketing companies offer software design as part of their web design support, which allows you to take advantage of the software design milk without having to pay for the whole software designer cow (we can’t tell if that analogy works or not?).

If you choose to go down this avenue, hiring a digital marketing company for your software development needs, make sure you take these tips into consideration:

Four Tips for Successfully Hiring a Third-party Software Developer:

  1. Be slow and methodical while researching software developers.

    We all know the cautionary tale of the tortoise and the hare. If you’re in a rush to get your software development needs met and don’t give yourself time to fully flesh out the developers you’re considering before being a hiring choice, you could end up with flawed software. Unfortunately, if a bug in your software development impacts your client’s experience, it’s a poor reflection (and possibly very expensive) of your business, not the unqualified developer you entrusted your software with.

    Start your search for the right developer months before you actually want to have a working product. Be methodical about your search. Don’t buy into developers who promise you an instant solution. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Give yourself the time to get it right the first time.

  2. Trust your gut.

    While you are talking to software developers about your needs, you might not know what you need. Since you aren’t a software developer yourself, there’s a good chance you won’t have the subject knowledge to know the technical terms and the nerd-jargin that might get thrown your way. At a certain point you have to trust the process that the developer you hire chooses to take. After all, if you were hiring a mechanic, you probably wouldn’t know better than the mechanic the best way to fix the funny noise your car was making, the best chance you have is hiring a mechanic you can trust!

    When you are interviewing potential software developers, follow your gut. They might look good on paper, but if you don’t feel like you communicate well, or they don’t seem to understand your requirements, it will have a big impact on the quality of the final product.

  3. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

    You probably heard Occam’s Razor. It’s a theory that the simplest solution is probably the most accurate. Good ol’ Occam came up with this idealology long before software development was a thing, but it’s like he knew. He knew.

    While looking for a software developer, listen carefully to the proposed solution to your development needs. The most direct and simple solution is almost always going to be the best. Not only is the upfront cost of a complicated development far more expensive, the more customization that is necessary for your software development needs, the more labor-intensive and expensive maintenance and updates will be. Plus, when your software becomes outdated (which is the inevitable life-cycle of software… there’s no such thing as a permanent software solution) migrating the data to the “new” system will be difficult, if not impossible, with a custom solution. Save yourself the nightmare and go with the provider who has the simplest solution.

  4. Take ownership.

    Even though you aren’t developing your software, you want to always be in control of it. Some unsavory software developers will be inclined to create a solution that will essentially make you their prisoner. You won’t be able to use or change the product without them. Sometimes the developer will literally maintain ownership of the product, so you can’t change it or use another developer down the road; watch out for this in the contract. Other times, the developer might not have ownership of the software they develop for you, but they use such a obscure framework or coding, that no one else would be able to do anything with it. Make sure you stay in ownership of your software, and have the freedom to change developers later, if you need to.

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