Whether it’s to build a web, mobile or desktop application, you need a software developer at nearly every stage of the process. The title “software developer” is a bit of an all-encompassing term given to any designer or engineer that writes code. It can include junior-level developers that work with low-level coding to senior developers that have experience engineering a complete solution for their clients.
If you have an idea and it’s IT-related, chances are you need a software developer. Even hardware engineering requires software developers to program circuits and firmware. The cost to engage one includes several factors—here are the main components that factor into software development costs.
How much does it cost to hire a software developer?
Cost Factor #1: What do you want developed?
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Because software developers have different skills in different industries, the major cost associated with engaging a software developer will hinge on what it is you want built. Some skills are higher in demand and others are rare. For instance, you’ll get several bids for a WordPress developer because it’s a common platform that’s more widely understood by web developers, requiring more common programming skills like PHP, HTML and CSS. On the other hand, if you’re engineering a router platform, you might have fewer bids to choose from since you need a specialized C, assembly, or C++ developer.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台One factor you want to avoid is the high cost of low quality. Always be prepared to factor in scalability, usability and good design. Without these factors, you’ll likely pay a much higher price than the upfront cost to ensure that you can expand and maintain in the future.
To help you budget for different development project types, here are rates charged by developers for different languages and platforms:
- Basic C Development: $75-$150/hour
- Web Development (front-end): $50-$75/hour
- Web Development (back-end): $75-$150/hour
- API Development: $75-$150/hour
- C++ Development: $100-$150/hour
- Desktop Development: $30-$100/hour
- Mobile Development: $30-$150/hour
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台These categories are very generic, but you can probably align any development project with one of them to identify the general cost of your project. The cost factors have a large range, because after you determine the type of programmer you need, the next factor is scope.
Cost Factor #2: Software development project scope
Software development projects can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months to even a year. The length of time definitely impacts the cost, and the time it takes to develop even a minimal viable product (MVP) will be determined by the scope.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Scope is loosely defined as “what you need done,” factoring in things like languages, technology, platform, API integration and difficulty. Your developer (either an individual or an agency) can help you flesh out the scope. For someone unfamiliar with software development, the scope can be hard to document and nail down, but it’s a critical part of a successful project.
A few scope categories that must be defined prior to obtaining reliable cost estimates from potential developers include:
- Hosting environment: Linux is free, open-source development and Windows charges for licenses. This will affect the cost of your hosting plan.
- Database: Do you need a database design? Most dynamic web-based projects need a database to store data.
- APIs: Are any external APIs needed? This increases the complexity of the scope and costs if the API requires a paid subscription.
- Mobile: Do you want your application to include mobile compatibility? This is mainly a web concern, but some desktop applications are also available for Android and iOS.
- Engineering: Will the developers be able to plug in existing code to create a solution or do they need to engineer new ideas. Engineering increases the time associated with a project, so it also increases costs.
- Application size: Applications come in all different sizes. You could have a small, 2-page application that takes very little time or a full enterprise solution that expands the organization. Size is a major cost factor in development.
Cost Factor #3: Geography
Upwork is a global platform, so we cater to development from any location. The location of your developer plays a role in costs, because different locations have distinguishable costs of living. There are pros and cons in choosing developers outside of your own city, state, or country.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台The pros include a reduction in cost and localization should the developers speak the language of your target market. You can cut some estimates in half by choosing a developer in certain countries or outside of major metropolitan areas in your country.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台The cons include increased time estimates if time zones differ, possible miscommunication and legal repercussions. If the developer is located 9 hours ahead of you, it means response times are usually increased to 12-24 hours compared to a local developer that should get back to you the same day. Miscommunications also increase costs, because the developer and application owner should have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
Whether you hire local or in another country, a project manager can help facilitate communication between you multiple developers and keep the project on track.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Scope, geography and the type of programming give you a general idea of costs, but the only way to nail down project costs is to speak with developers and request bids. Make sure you clearly explain your requirements and work with your developer to define the scope.
Not a Developer? 9 Things to Know When Hiring One
Need to hire a developer to work on your software project? That probably means you’re not a developer yourself—which can make the process of finding and hiring the right person confusing to navigate.
There’s quite a bit to consider: Do you need a back-end, front-end, or full-stack developer? What skills should the developer have? How much experience should they have? Do you need a novice, an intermediate, or an expert? What details about your project do they need to know upfront to gauge if they’re a good fit?
Then, there are all the things the developer will want to know from you: What is your project? What functionality do you need? What are the deliverables? Are you locked into any technology or open to their ideas? How will the software need to grow for the future?
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台If you’re new to software or web development, here are a few helpful things for the non-technical person to keep in mind when hiring a technical person.
Think of your software as a building
Before we begin, let’s use a metaphor to talk about the process of software development: building a house. As you read this article, think of your software as the building, and the potential developer as the contractor hired to build that building.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台You wouldn’t hire just any contractor to do the job, or take the first bid that comes your way. You also wouldn’t break ground without a lot of planning—blueprints, engineering specs, and maybe even a 3D model. Many decisions need to be made both upfront and throughout the process to make sure you’re happy with your finished product. And, more often than not, discussions with your developer will help guide these decisions.
Long story short, building software is a collaboration—between your business goals and the developer’s implementations of those goals. Keep the following things in mind before you begin that working relationship to help ensure you get started on the right foot.
1. Yes, finding a developer who is a “good fit” is important.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台At the end of the day, despite the highly technical nature of programming, you’re working with a human, not a robot. Just as people meet with multiple potential contractors for a construction project to ensure they’re the right fit—after all, you’ll be working very closely with this person for an extended time—you should get a good feeling from your developer. They should also have proven experience working on a project similar to yours, have good reviews from previous clients, and demonstrate that they clearly understand your vision.
2. Development benefits from an open line of communication.
This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Just as you likely wouldn’t hand a building contractor the blueprints then check out of the process until the job is done (known as “throwing it over the fence” in the tech world), keep communication open with your developer. You’ll want someone you feel comfortable talking with, who is able to clearly articulate concepts that might be beyond your understanding.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Common concerns like language barriers and different time zones should be established and addressed upfront, as well.
3. There’s more than one way to code the same thing.
This is important for a non-programmer to know—especially if you’re growing your team or have plans to scale down the line. While independent decision-making can often be a positive—and something companies like Netflix encourage in their culture—if you’re contracting a remote developer to pitch in for your team in a pinch, you’ll want to keep this in mind.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Developers can have their own styles and ways of arriving at the same conclusion. Why does this matter to you? Imagine an electrician wires your new home in a way that isn’t intuitive to other electricians. When repairs need to be made, it might take the new electrician a full day of testing and tinkering to figure out the prior electrician’s scheme before being able to make the fix.
If a developer has a very unique way of writing code, it can be difficult for another developer to come in and pick up where they left off. With complex things like APIs, it can be a headache for a new developer to find their way around. You want software that is navigable by more than one developer so you have the flexibility to work on it down the line. Recommend peer code reviews when you can and try to make sure when their work is done, you’re not left with a bit of code no one else can work on.
4. Know what functionality you need from your app—then what technology you need.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台You don’t need to know exactly how every wall is built to know how you want your house to look, but you do need to know enough specifics about the layout, style, and how you plan to use it for the contractor to give you what you envisioned.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Remember: Developers can offer more than just code—they’re valuable collaborators who can contribute their own ideas and experience to your finished product.
5. That said, know enough about the technology so you’re getting what you need—not more, not less.
We all know it’s easy for a building contractor to upsell you on something you might not need. Just like you wouldn’t need industrial-grade steel to build a sunroom, it’s possible to pick technology that has more than what you need under the hood, or that’s good at one thing but clunky at another. While this might not always shake out to more cost, it can mean more overhead—and bulky code can slow your app down.
Software architecture planning is vital. Know what you need, and what the pros and cons are of the tools you choose. It’s important to get a good idea of the frameworks, databases, and programming languages that are best suited for various types of projects.
6. Think ahead so you’re not limited by your own design.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台You’ve probably heard the term “scalability.” What does it mean in terms of software?
Imagine you tell a building contractor you’d like a one-story house, then midway through you decide you want to add a second story. This has major implications on the structure. Are the walls strong enough to bear the load? Is there a place to put a staircase to the second floor?
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台With software, always consider scalability—even when you’re rushing to produce an MVP (minimum viable product). You’ll want to create a foundation for your software that can grow with your business—whether that’s more traffic, new features, real-time data, etc. An app that’s not built to scale can quickly turn into a cobbled-together mess that is impossible to add to without the structure falling apart.
Starting with solid technology—and putting in the time and expertise upfront—is an important investment if you want your software to grow with you down the line.
7. Don’t cut corners to rush to completion.
A stitch in time saves nine, and when it comes to building solid tech that can stand the test of time, the same is true.
You probably want to see a blueprint or model of your house before it’s built. During the building process, you’ll want to do regular walk-throughs to make sure your vision is on track. Finally, you’ll want to go around your finished house and see how things flow together and feel—jiggle a few handles, flip light switches, and test water pressure. The same goes for software.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Plan ahead, code right not fast, then test and test again. Prototyping and testing are crucial steps in software development that clients often neglect in a hurry to get to market. Software testing is when all the hard work gets polished and any issues are handled well before launch.
8. Things are always changing in tech—know what’s out there so you’ll know what upgrades are worth your time.
Changing out a working, three-year-old HVAC setup for a brand new one, while an improvement, would be an expensive overhaul without a great ROI. However, new coats of paint and upgrades like more efficient light fixtures and shower heads are more solid investments.
Let’s translate that into software terms. Software is often a living, breathing thing that needs frequent fixes and updates to stay optimized. You probably won’t want to overhaul your entire database architecture, but updates to your UI design or newer, more efficient front-end modules can improve your app’s performance.
2020欧洲杯体育投注平台Frameworks and languages are always putting out new versions, too. Take iOS’s Swift language, for example. It’s important to stay on top of updates so that your app is optimized to work with the iOS ecosystem. Pay attention to new versions and decide which upgrades, migrations, or overhauls are worth the effort.
9. Hook your tech people up with your design people.
If you’re building a website or your software has any kind of user interface along with it, know right away that any design work will likely be heavily parallelized with any development work.
Going back to the house metaphor, imagine your interior designer picks out certain tiles, shower fixtures, or floor materials. They’ll want to communicate with the builder to ensure those materials work well, are available, and are properly installed. If designs need to be reworked, a feedback loop between the two will make adjustments more seamless. The same goes for development projects.