Coding a software product is half the job done. Your unique product might fail if it does not render an engaging and intuitive user interface (UI) to users. This is where a front-end developer comes into the picture. It is their job to craft an engaging UI of your software product. Front-end development is a serious responsibility that demands experience, technical skills, and expertise in relevant tools. You can either employ a front-end developer in-house or hire the one from an IT company or agency.
What works for larger enterprises might not work for smaller or mid-sized organizations. Obviously, bigger MNCs have no budget constraints, and they have little different cultures, locations, and job responsibilities/expectations. So, what works for Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft might not work for a smaller organization or a startup.
In this blog, we share a step-by-step process on how to hire front-end developers. And if your organization is looking for a team of front-end developers, the method used to hire is likely to be different and potentially more challenging than hiring a single developer.
Step 1: Outline Your Expectations and Business Requirements
The first thing you should do is draft an outline of your key expectations and business requirements. From organization-to-organization, expectations from a front-end developer may vary. So, prepare a document regarding the key roles and responsibilities, expectations, seniority level, what primary technical skills will be required, and how the developer's performance in the position will be evaluated. While creating the outline, keep in mind the below questions:
- Will he be working on new product development or the existing one?
- Will he be a part of the team or work as an individual contributor?
- Do you need to develop cutting-edge UI or need someone with advanced skills?
- Will you need someone to have specific skill sets?
- Will he be working with particular libraries and toolkits?
- Do you need someone to work with existing large code base and make ongoing enhancements to existing applications?
- Is there a time zone difference in the working hours?
Addressing the above questions should help you identify the type of personality, skill level, and workstyle of the ideal front-end developer. You must also explain your business requirements and expectations from the project while hiring the candidate. Moreover, a clear and concise requirement also helps you reduce the hiring cycle time and perhaps get the best candidate out there in the market.
Step 2. Experience of Front-End Developers
You need to figure out what should be a minimum experience your front-end developer must have. According to their skill sets and expertise, a developer is generally categorized as: a fresher, middle level, and senior-level. The important thing is what level of seniority to hire to get the job done at a competitive price.
But counting a front-end developer’s skills and talent in years of experience is a tricky one. Some junior level UI developers can do the same job, just like a senior geek does. But if your project demands diverse experience and expertise, zeroing on a senior level developer is better because they have hands-on experience to confidently manage the ongoing complexity of implementing each scheme. We know your end goal is to get the best quality UI for your product.
Step 3. Evaluate the Technical Expertise
A front-end developer must hold different skills to create a layout of an app or product, build the client-side of the product such as user interactions, animations, responses to a server, write optimized and responsive code for performance and scalability, collaborate with teams, and solve problems by keeping end-user in the core of everything. So, it’s essential to examine front-end developer’s technical and general skillsets before finalizing the candidates.
Here is an essential front-end developer skills list:
Essential Technical and Front-end Languages Skills
- CSS frameworks such as Foundation or Bootstrap
- Angular, React, Vue or others
- Backbone.js or jQuery
- Browser developer tools
- Testing/debugging in an IDE
- Version control systems such as GitHub
- Mobile responsive design
Understanding of User Experience
In-depth knowledge and understanding of good user experience will set great web developers apart. He/she should have a good knowledge of the following skills:
- Basic user testing planning and conducting
- User research, task flow analysis, personas, and scenarios
- Conceptual modeling, sketches pages and screens, information architecture, navigation design, and object/action decisions
- Iterative design including storyboards, sketches, wireframes, and prototypes
- Interaction design to make the best decisions about micro-level interaction design
Back-end Development Skills
As the name suggests, a back-end web developer deals with the ‘behind the scenes’ elements of web development. They need to:
- Write a super clean code
- Connect the website’s server and databases to the front end
- Have an understanding of how integrations work in the back end
- Know the API-based connectivity and integration
Databases and Servers
An understanding and knowledge of databases and servers is a bonus because you always need to connect the front UI of your website or product to your database. These days popular database technologies include MongoDB, Oracle, and Redis. Top cloud databases include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
A front-end developer should have a firm grasp on different platforms, content management systems and e-commerce platforms.
- Drupal and others
Step 4. Focus on How the Candidate Solves Problems
Besides evaluating the technical skills and ability, it is also essential to know how the candidate approaches a particular problem. UI is all about thinking differently and solving the problem creatively. You should provide a situation that requires creative thinking so that you can evaluate the coding and problem-solving skills of a front-end developer. You should also check the approach that the developer applies for solving the problem.
Step 5. Hiring Options for a Front-End Developer
You can hire a front-end developer in many ways for web development, mobile app development, or product development. There are many options out there in the market, such as outsourcing companies, freelance portals, and job boards. However, each option has its own pros and cons.
Freelancers or Independent Worker
Hiring a freelancer or independent worker is always an attractive and affordable option. You can easily hire a freelancer from various portals by clearly defining your requirements. As competition in the freelancing field is enormous, you can quickly get the developer at the most competitive market price. You are not bound by a stringent contract with a freelancer; in fact, you can hire whenever you need. This is a very attractive option for a small-sized project.
But when you have a complex requirement or a large-scale project to roll-out, you may face slower development progress due to different time zones and freelancers' massive dependability for execution. This generally kills lots of time in collaboration and guidance. Another drawback is that a freelancer might leave any time, thus leaving you in the lurch.
Unlike freelancers, in-house developers are more bound to work with a greater interest in the company’s vision and are less likely to leave in between the project. In-house developers are more motivated as they can quickly adapt to company culture and also enjoy other corporate benefits. They will work for a longer duration and become well-cooperated team players. You can also expect more productivity and better outcomes.
But sometimes, it is not easy to get the best-suited front-end developer within the defined budget. Often, the hiring process becomes quite prolonged, and it takes a decent amount of time to hunt, interview, and onboard in-house developers. You must also do the math in terms of yearly salary paid to the developer as well as expenses as taxes, software, hardware, office space, etc. If you think an in-house employee can be a costly bet, you should consider other options.
IT outsourcing services provide a balanced option amongst freelancers and in-house developers. For more and more decision-makers, it is becoming quite an attractive option. You can easily hire front-end developers from an offshore software development company from any country you prefer. You will get the best talent and skills for your project and have the luxury of getting the job done in the most professional way. You don’t have to spend on office rent, sick days/vacations, taxes, etc.
The most exciting thing about outsourcing is that you can upscale or downscale the team the way your business demands. Moreover, you can also add other expertise to your project if the need arises. Suppose, along with front-end developers, you need a back-end developer; you can easily get that as well in a shorter period from the same outsourcing company. Thus, you don’t have a nightmare of missing the project deadlines. Even you can speed-up the delivery process with extra hands and eyes. However, outsourced developers are often located in other countries, so if you can manage the time zone well, it can be quite an exciting option.
Step 6: Ask for References
Finally, it would always be helpful if you ask for references for the work done by front-end developers. Checking past performance will give you a fair idea about the developers’ capability, expertise, and in-hand experience. Reading the reference brings benefits to both the front-end developer and the hiring company.
If you want to discuss any front-end development project or need skilled resources for any specific requirement, just drop us a line.