Web developers are responsible for coding your website, keeping its security airtight, and ensuring not only that it operates, but that it operates at full capacity. Beyond that, developers—especially front-end developers—work closely with your designers and creative team to bring the creative vision of your site to life.
Your website introduces your brand. As you only get one first impression, you need to make it count! Slow page load time? You can count that as a potential customer gone for good. Convoluted navigation or a clunky interface are also surefire ways to usher visitors straight off your website.
For these reasons and more, a business needs to hire developers who understand the basic principles of good design, hardware or software management, and have a keen eye for detail—among the many other mandatory technical skills all developers should wield.
So, whether you need to hire a front-end or back-end developer, you’re looking for a candidate that has a Swiss Army knife of skills. Not only for website maintenance, security, aesthetics, and site useability—but also to supercharge your digital marketing strategy.
What’s the Difference Between Front- and Back-End Developers?
TL;DR version: You can think of front-end developers as the managers of the customer-facing parts of your website’s code. Back-end developers focus on the server side of your website. Here’s a deeper dive into the difference between front- and back-end developers.
6 Qualities to Look for When Hiring Web Developers
Now that you understand the difference between the two types of developers, let’s break down what separates the best developers from the rest of the pack.
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1. Constantly Learning and Improving Their Skills
When hiring a web developer, it’s important to consider more than just their technical expertise. Of course, any developer you hire should have the requisite skills to meet your demands, but the best developers are constantly learning and improving their skills.
They should keep up to date with the many programming languages and possible new plugins or APIs to streamline projects—and their own processes. They should be aware of any other industry developments that will make them more efficient. If there are new frameworks and approaches to development, you want a candidate who stays up to date on it all.
The world is changing at a breakneck pace and “always be learning” is a mindset that will keep developers (your whole team—for that matter) at the forefront of the industry.
2. Excellent at Time Management and Task Prioritization
Developers tend to have ever-growing lists of tasks. To avoid getting bogged down with one specific task or project, developers need to effectively manage the time they devote to each task. That includes prioritizing the most pressing tasks or deadlines. The best way to stay on top of these is with a pre-determined process for time and task management.
They should have weekly, monthly, and annual reminders set. These reminders cover everything from domain hosting to flagging broken links, SEO-related tasks, and making sure your website is firing on all cylinders. Front- and back-end tasks will vary but the need to manage them efficiently does not.
Staying on top of tasks can be the factor that prevents a website meltdown, a breach of your website security, dysfunctioning payment portals, and other outcomes that are sure to lose you a lot of potential customers—and leave a lot of potential money on the table.
3. An Understanding of UX and UI
Having web developers who understand the basic best practices for UX and UI design is a huge bonus for your brand. This will make it much easier for developers to work with your designers and make them aware of how users will interact with your site.
Not only can they converse with your design team, but can also offer their unique insights from their previous experiences. While this applies more directly to front-end developers, having a back-end who also has a creative eye can elevate all aspects of your website.
What’s the difference between UX and UI development? CareerFoundry breaks it down.
4. Effective Communication Skills
Being a team player is important but perhaps not always a developer’s strong point. For the most part, that’s okay—you don’t need your developers to be social butterflies.
However, they need to communicate clearly with your other teams and clients who have questions or concerns. At times, a developer needs to get on a call with a client. That’s why the importance of this soft skill for developers cannot be overstated.
Perhaps your back-end developers could be a bit lacking in their interpersonal skills—but not your front-ends. They need to work alongside designers, sales teams, and project managers—and should be able to communicate their ideas clearly and confidently when their name is called.
Also, when a developer is able and willing to coordinate with your marketing team, your brand can implement new strategies in less time. Your entire brand can shift into a higher gear, with bolder KPIs, and the results will speak for themselves.
5. Accepts and Incorporates Feedback
Developers have a specific skill set that is highly sought-after. You know this and they know this. However, while they might have technical skills that you do not, they still need to be able to accept instruction and constructive feedback.
This can be challenging for both sides. Mainly because developers are typically working on tasks that maybe a few—if any—other team members can grasp or critique beyond mere aesthetics. Remember, your developers impact everything from your SEO to your page load speed to your customer database.
In an ideal world, you already have lead developers who can help manage new developers and ensure they are staying on top of tasks—and getting them done the right way! As they share similar technical knowledge, new developers are more likely to accept critique from other devs rather than someone who can’t speak on the subject in a meaningful way.
[To hire a web development agency or an in-house developer? That is the question.]
6. Technical Expertise
First and foremost, developers need to know the technicals like the back of their hands. Your developers should be familiar with an array of programming languages, understand all the intricacies of domain hosting, building databases, and website migration and maintenance, and be comfortable implementing API or third-party plugins.
Moreover, the best developers should be able to create custom plugins that can add an entirely new dimension to your website or brand. Technical skills are where the hiring process should always begin and end when hiring new developers.
Hire the Right Developers
Keep these crucial qualities in mind when hiring your web developers. Remember, they will play a vital role in ensuring your website is up-to-date, clean, easily navigated, and meets the needs of your target audience.
Hiring a web developer can be a daunting task, but by keeping these factors in mind you can be sure to find the right candidate for your brand’s needs.