The Real Skills You Should Look For in a Web Developer

Choosing the right web developer for your company can be tricky. Some might be tempted to hire someone they know personally, regardless of whether they’re the best match for your needs. Others may be swayed into committing to the first developer they set their sights on, while others still might feel inspired to put a panel of web developers through a series of grueling trivia questions and challenges that make your hiring process resemble an episode of The Bachelorette or MasterChef.

The first thing you’ll need to do is relax. There’s no sense in rushing through a process that could have a significant impact on your business’s success. On the other hand, hiring the first developer you consider won’t necessarily help you either. Here are the real skills you should be on the lookout for when you choose your web developer.

People & Communication Skills

Wait, aren’t web developers supposed to be socially challenged hermits who fear public places and sunlight? Actually, communication skills are one of the most important qualities that a web developer should possess. First of all, you want someone you can enjoy working with. But warm fuzzy feelings aside, one of the most common reasons web projects fail is because of a miscommunication between the web developer and you. Someone who lacks the skills to communicate with you about your goals, ask questions when needed, and clarify your meanings is unlikely to develop a website that suits your expectations and meets the needs of your clientele.

Knowledge of Current Web Development Trends

A website that appears outdated in any way is a surefire turn-off for savvy users. The developer you choose to work with should be in the know about current trends in web development, site design, and marketing tactics. Ask your developer open-ended questions about his or her expertise and experience, like which design patterns they uses and in which situations, or whether they prefer object-oriented design or component-oriented design. Remember that web design is both aesthetic and functional, and your developer should have a good sense of the balance and interaction between the two.

Your Developer’s Portfolio

Finally, ask to see their portfolio if you haven’t already. The first thing most people look for in a portfolio is whether the developer has created sites similar to the one you want. This is generally a good place to start. Consider not only the design of their samples, but also the scope of the projects. You’ll want to make sure your developer can handle something that’s on the scale of your business. Finally, each piece should tell a story. Your developer’s portfolio essential conveys either a visual or textual message about what they can offer you. If you don’t feel drawn to what you see in a “where can I get me some of that” kind of way, it might be time to move on to the next prospect on your list.