Key Considerations for Startup Founders Recruiting App Developers in 2023

By: MassLight Team

The use of mobile devices has skyrocketed in recent years, with more and more people relying on smartphones and tablets for everything from social media to online shopping. As a result, in 2023 startups have recognized the need to provide a mobile-friendly experience to reach their target audience effectively.  There are several reasons why, including increased mobile usage, improved customer experience, enhanced brand recognition, streamlined business processes, and overall competitive advantage.  In many industries, having an app has become essential for startups to compete with established players. By building an app, startups can gain a competitive advantage and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Startups often need to hire app developers to build and maintain mobile applications that can help them achieve their business objectives. When hiring app developers for startups there are core criteria to consider in order to make the best overall decision for the startup’s future.  Here are the key considerations to keep in mind as you recruit your next app developer.

Technical Skills

The most important criteria for app developers are their technical skills. Startups need developers who are experienced in the programming languages and frameworks that are relevant to the app they are building. According to a survey by Stack Overflow, a popular community of developers, 87.2% of developers prioritize learning new programming languages and technologies as a way to advance their careers. This highlights the importance of app developers keeping up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in order to remain competitive in the job market and meet the needs of startups looking to build innovative apps.

Portfolio and Experience

Experience working on similar projects or in similar industries can be highly valuable for app developers, as it demonstrates that they have a good understanding of the business requirements, user needs, and technical challenges that are involved in developing successful apps. Candidates who can demonstrate their expertise with case studies and a robust portfolio are preferred.

The right developers are familiar with industry standards and regulations. Each industry has its own set that must be followed when developing apps. Engineers who have experience in a particular industry will be more familiar with these requirements, and can ensure that their apps comply with the relevant regulations.  Good developers also have an understanding of user needs and preferences in that industry; they need to be able to design and develop concepts that are more likely to be adopted by users.  Logically, these industries will hold their own set of technical challenges when it comes to app development. Developers who have experience in a particular industry will have a better understanding of these challenges and can design and develop apps that are more robust and reliable.


Adaptability is also a key trait that startups look for in app developers. As startups often operate in a fast-paced and ever-changing environment, they need developers who can adapt to changing requirements and are willing to learn new technologies and skills quickly. This ability to pivot and learn quickly can help startups stay ahead of the competition and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

Venture Capital

According to a report by LinkedIn, adaptability and problem-solving are two of the most in-demand soft skills. The report notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for companies to hire employees who can adapt to change and quickly learn new skills in response to changing business needs. This highlights the growing importance of adaptability as a key trait for app developers and other professionals in today's rapidly changing job market.

Communication Skills

Good communication skills are essential for app developers, especially when working in a team. They should be able to communicate technical information in a clear and concise manner to non-technical stakeholders.  This also corresponds to their ability to troubleshoot and solve problems: Experienced developers have likely encountered a variety of problems and challenges while working on similar projects, and have developed strategies and solutions for addressing them. This experience makes them better equipped to troubleshoot and solve problems when they arise during the app development process.

According to a survey by Burning Glass Technologies, a labor market analytics firm, communication skills are among the top 10 skills that employers are looking for in job candidates across all industries. The survey found that over 75% of employers rated communication skills as either "very important" or "essential" for job candidates. This highlights the importance of good communication skills for app developers, as it enables them to collaborate effectively with non-technical stakeholders and convey technical information in a clear and concise manner.

Design Skills

According to a report by Adobe, companies with a strong focus on design and user experience outperformed the S&P 500 index by 219% over a ten-year period. This highlights the importance of UI and UX design for businesses, as well as the potential impact that a well-designed app can have on a startup's success. As a result, startups are increasingly investing in UX design and hiring app developers who have expertise in this area to create apps that not only meet the functional requirements, but also provide a positive and memorable user experience.

App developers should have a good understanding of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design. This is especially important for startups that want to create a polished and user-friendly app that can compete with established players in the market. Startups in particular need to create apps that stand out from the competition and provide a seamless user experience, as this can be a key factor in attracting and retaining users in a crowded app market.

Time Management Skills

Startups typically have tight deadlines and fast-paced work environments, so app developers should be able to manage their time effectively and deliver high-quality work within tight timelines. According to a survey by McKinsey, 68% of senior executives at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) identified time management as a key challenge for their organizations. This highlights the importance of time management skills for startups, which often operate in fast-paced and competitive environments with tight deadlines. App developers who can manage their time effectively and deliver high-quality work within tight timelines are highly valued by startups, as they can help the company stay on track and meet its goals. Therefore, startups look for app developers who are able to work efficiently and effectively under pressure, without compromising on the quality of their work.

Startups are known for their fast-paced work environments, as they need to bring their products to the market quickly to gain a competitive advantage. This means that startups often have tight deadlines and high expectations when it comes to delivering products, including apps. App developers play a critical role in ensuring that these deadlines are met and that the app is delivered on time, with all the features and functionality that the startup requires.

In addition, engineers must also be able to prioritize their tasks and work on the most critical aspects of the app first. This requires strong project management skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with other team members and stakeholders to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.  Moreover, startups often have limited resources and budgets, so app developers need to be able to work efficiently and find creative solutions to technical challenges without compromising on the quality of their work.

Overall, having an app has become an essential part of a startup's digital strategy. With the right features and functionality, an app can help startups engage with their customers, improve business processes, and stand out in a crowded market.

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