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How to find the right app developer in 2023

Having a functional application is a sure way to prove to your customers that you value them. For that reason, hiring capable developers is a number one priority.

3 June, 2022
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We have long observed that the more the world of technology and development evolves, the larger the pool of choices becomes. That applies to software, toolkits, management styles, and many other elements, but, more importantly, new talents. The latter is precisely the problem we’ll try to remedy in this article, with a strong emphasis on mobile application design and development.

The overwhelming list of factors one has to consider before hiring app developers should get progressively less intense if we break down the most critical parts, such as your needs and requirements for the project, ways how to find the right app developer, and places you can search for developers, and last but not least - the cost of creating an app based on the specialist’s region of residence.

How to choose an app developer based on your needs

First, your needs and requirements. Without determining them initially, the whole process may seem chaotic with too many variables. Begin by establishing your project's size, type, and complexity.

Scope of the project

What precisely do you want to achieve with your application, and how will it work? For example, will your project perhaps be an e-commerce app where you sell your products or services? Or the primary goal of your app is user interaction? Are you expanding your business or starting from scratch?

These are just a fraction of the ways in which you can go with your app. And each of them has its target market, features, and its own specifics in terms of development. After this step, the overall complexity and technical details will become a bit clearer, and with this - the type of developer needed.

App development budget

The next most important factor is your budget for this project, especially if you can’t afford to go over it. The budget directly influences the technology stack, the features, the number of developers, the amount of testing, and the post-development maintenance.

It’s crucial to discuss prices beforehand. Don’t forget the possible hidden costs as well, such as changes mid-project, bug-fixing, not previously mentioned paid services and functionality, integrations, updates, servers, and data storage. Keep reading to also find out the regional differences in hiring costs.

Required skills and experience

You shouldn’t underestimate the impact that relevant expertise and experience have on ensuring the quality of the future application. Begin with deciding if your app will be for Android or iOS, or maybe you want a cross-platform one.

For Android, search for developers well versed in Java; for iOS app development - Swift or Objective-C. Those with experience with React Native will be able to do cross-platform app development.

If your application has to fit a particular niche, search for developers with enough experience in that area. For example, creating a telemedicine app will require the developer to be up-to-date with HIPAA compliance.

Pay close attention to the portfolio to see if the person or the team has worked on an application similar to yours. You can even download the apps to test their quality. Check the reviews - even if similar apps are present in the portfolio, previous clients might’ve been unhappy with the results.

Compatibility and other factors

Sometimes a few factors (some even beyond your control) can get in the way. Those so-called compatibility issues can manifest in:

  • Different time zones. Remote work is as popular as ever, especially after the recent pandemic, so specialists can operate in very different timezones. Sometimes the difference can be even greater than 24 hours. A good communication plan is required.
  • Communication fails. Discuss a tested set of tools you’ll be using to ensure each of you is on the same page. Set up the preferred method of communication - audio or video chats, emails, messengers, etc.
  • Language barriers. Hiring locally is not always possible when searching for specific skills or a niche. Look for specialists with a higher level of English to make sure your requirements are understood.
  • Cultural differences. Be aware that different cultures come with different sets of rules and mentality. The differences can come in the form of time management, leadership styles, organizational behavior, etc.
  • Timeline misperceptions. If a timeline is fixed, it won’t be an issue to check and see if it suits you. Since many developers can also charge for the business hours spent on essential tasks, ask for a written estimate.

By the way, one more compatibility issue can be of legal and contractual nature. Before signing on with an app developer, make sure that all legal and contractual issues are addressed and compatible with your needs. This includes considerations like intellectual property ownership, liability and indemnification, payment terms, and termination clauses. A well-drafted contract can help avoid disputes and ensure that both parties are on the same page throughout the development process.

Mistakes to avoid

The quite common mistakes that can happen when choosing the right app developer are:

  • Hiring a jack-of-all-trades. As tempting as it may be to cover all your needs with one or two specialists claiming to be “know-it-alls,” the real mastery comes from getting properly familiar with the chosen few types of mobile application and their development.
  • Expecting developers to also do the app’s design. This correlates with the previous mistake - expecting too much. Find mobile app designers that know how to turn your vision into a UX-oriented application.
  • Hiring non-team players for a project that’s not a “one-man job.” In this instance, knowing how to work in a team environment may be more vital than being an app development superstar.
  • Not being clear about project requirements. Make sure to provide a clear list of requirements for the project, including features, functionality, and any specific technologies or platforms needed. Failure to do so can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and additional costs.
  • Not checking references or portfolios. Before hiring an app developer, be sure to check their references and portfolio of previous work. This will give you a good sense of their experience and skill level, as well as any potential red flags or warning signs.
	To avoid while hiring app developers
To avoid while hiring app developers

Where to find app developers

Next on the menu is finding the right places to search for talents. Whether you're looking for an in-house employee, an outsourced developer or two, or a specialized company, there are certain online places you have to visit. We’ll mostly cover the outsourcing ground since it’s much more efficient than hiring in-house, especially for companies not in the tech field.

Freelance app developers

Freelance developers are a straightforward and affordable way to hire talents for your mobile project. They have particular specializations, so you can quickly and easily narrow them down based on what you determined in your planning stage.

Hiring one or a few freelancers is an excellent idea if you need a simple application. The purely contractual nature of your cooperation rids you and the developer of unnecessary commitments, which can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.


Check these popular websites for freelancers: Upstack, Fiverr,, Upwork, Toptal, and Hired. You can also use job boards for both in-house and remote talents - Crunchboard,, Mashable, TechCrunch, Jobbatical, and Authentic Jobs.

Another option is IT marketplaces that resemble job boards: The Muse, Product Hunt, and for startups. The benefits of these platforms include a great variety of talents, the process of vetting the candidates, clear rates, and hourly wages.

Hire an app development company

For more complex projects, you’ll need a specialized team only an app development company can provide. In this case, a group of developers is already assembled, and the team gets along. By hiring a development company, you get a full package of iOS and Android developers, testers, UX/UI designers, project managers, etc., that are not easily combined if you choose to hire freelancers.

As we’ve already mentioned, outsourcing and remote work come with location and time differences. Choose if you want to hire onshore, nearshore, or offshore developers. Onshore companies are in the same country as you. Nearshore ones are relatively close, with maybe a few hours of difference. Offshore developers are the farthest away and will require communication adjustments.

We recommend looking into B2B directories to search for app development companies. They list and group relevant companies with all the needed information about their work, as well as ratings and feedback. The most popular are, B2B Marketing, 99Firms, ITFirms, and GoodFirms.

Outsourced mobile app developers

Let’s see where else can you look for outsourced talents.

Social media

Why not utilize websites and tools made explicitly for social connections? You can find multiple application development communities on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Reddit. Use hashtags and filters for a quicker search.


For designers, the best places to check are Dribbble and Behance. There are also certain development communities you can look into for outsourcing, such as GitHub, StackOverflow, freeCodeCamp, Hashnode, Women Who Code, and DEV Community.


Referrals are a great way to use your own personal and professional connections and sometimes find candidates that aren’t yet actively looking. You can even set up referral programs and offer incentives for those who suggest capable and, most importantly, proven specialists.

Want to develop an app that users will rush to download?

Merge is here to help.

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How much does it cost to hire an app developer

We have briefly touched on what makes up the cost of mobile application development. Regarding average prices and rates of app developers, the element that influences them the most is experience. For instance, according to Upwork, an average hourly rate for junior or mid-level iOS developers go from $45 to $75. For Android developers of the same level of proficiency, it varies from $35 to $60.

Developer average hourly rate compared
Developer average hourly rate compared

Regional costs of hiring app developers

One factor not usually contemplated beforehand is the regional cost difference in hiring professionals from different countries and even continents. The primary reason for that is the fact that the cost of living varies from country to country, so, for example, the minimum rate of two developers with similar experience and tech skills will differ if one of them is from a higher developed country and the other lives in a developing place.

The annual or monthly salaries of the former will be significantly higher; therefore, hiring that specialist will be a bit more expensive. Other causes include differences in taxes and the usual supply and demand. Worth noting that a higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. That’s why what you should first be looking for is the price-to-quality ratio.

Price of hiring app developers in North and South America, the UK, and Australia

North American app developers usually charge for both iOS and Android development a minimum of $150 per hour. For South American developers, rates vary from $22 to $55 per hour. Their Australian counterparts charge on average $35-150/hour. For UK specialists, prices start at $71/hour.

Price of hiring app developers in Middle Eastern and Asian countries

With a large pool of IT professionals in the Middle East and Asia, the prices and rates per hour can vary from $20 to $40. The two biggest tech communities are located in India and China.

Price of hiring app developers in Central and Western Europe

The rates of Central European developers ( Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc.) range from $40 to $65 per hour. In Western Europe (Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, etc.), the prices can go from $70 to $90.

Price of hiring app developers in Eastern Europe

Considered one of the best regions if you’re aiming for a nice price-to-quality ratio, Eastern Europe (particularly Ukraine) has an extra-large market of developers with reasonable rates and high quality of work. Rates start at $30 per hour, with an average being $45 - $55.

Why hire Ukrainian talents?

Ukraine has become quite a prevalent choice for nearshore and offshore app development in the recent few years. The IT industry has streamlined significantly, delivering specialists in almost any area, even the most niche ones. But why are companies so keen on hiring Ukrainian talents, and why should you?

Why hire Ukrainian developers?
Why hire Ukrainian developers?

First and foremost, skills and expertise. Software development is a commendable career choice in Ukraine, resulting not only in numerous successful IT graduates but also in novices taking multiple courses to improve their qualifications. A strong and helpful community that encourages junior specialists is another reason developers quickly hone their skills and improve their portfolios.

Together with innovative and modern approaches and attention to detail, quality of work is yet another reason Ukrainian developers are highly valued in the IT market. Combine that with reasonable but not extremely cheap prices, and it becomes pretty obvious why the Ukrainian software outsourcing has become one of the highest-ranked by Outsourcing Journal and Central and Eastern European Association (CEEOA).

Two more reasons to hire Ukrainian talents are:

  • Cultural compatibility. Ukrainian developers have a similar work ethic to their Western counterparts and are known for their professionalism, punctuality, and dedication to their work. Additionally, English is widely spoken in Ukraine, so there are no language barriers to communication.
  • Time zone advantage. Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, making it an excellent location for companies in the US or Western Europe looking to outsource their app development. With a time difference of 7-10 hours from the US and 1-2 hours from Western Europe, Ukrainian developers can work on projects around the clock, resulting in faster turnaround times and increased productivity.


Having a functional, aesthetically pleasing, and user-oriented application is a sure way to prove to your customers that you value them. For that very reason, hiring capable developers is a number one priority. Our team at Merge has put all of its gathered expertise in this matter into this guide. So, we hope it answers all your pressing questions!

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CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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