How many Developers does it take to build an app?

If you’ve read any of our posts, you may notice a pattern; we value education and transparency. It is our mission to ensure that clients understand the full scope of an app/software build. As such, we’re excited to introduce you to the key players who play a role in developing web applications and software.

In understanding the functions of these key players, you can ensure that you are acquiring the services of a full-stack development team, with the capabilities to ensure you receive the highest quality service.

First and foremost you want to ensure you have a:

Project Manager, the glorious translator who ensures that all communication is cohesive between the development team and the IT operations team. This role is critical to the success of the project. Some companies will bill you for project management as a separate line item while others will include it in the cost of production. Either way, there is a cost associated with this role.

It is important for you to understand this cost when billed separately can contribute to project cost overruns or, even worse, it is often sprung on the customer after a project begins. At Front Side Sync we treat this as a fixed overhead expense and, as such, you will never be billed for project management. Your estimated development cost is always your estimated development cost.

PM identifies the team. Your project manager will have a full scope of technical professionals on hand to execute the strategic plan. 

Key Players in an App Build

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) Designers ensure optimal user interfaces are implemented, making the app user-friendly. Adobe simply defines them as “UX deals with purpose, while UI deals with appearance and functionality.” and if you want to understand more about this you should check out Adobe’s article here.

Front-end & Back-end Developers to ensure the site/app operates. These are the team members who deal with items such as your database architecture (MySQL, Medoo, Apache Casandra, etc), your programming language, frameworks, or CMS (PHP, Python, Ruby, Symfony, Laravel, WordPress, Drupal, Etc.) and front end technologies such as HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

IOS/Android Developers are responsible for extending your web application to mobile and building the native mobile application.  It is important to note that mobile responsive and native mobile are two completely separate items. There is also a growing trend to build a mobile application in a hybrid javascript language such as Ionic. The core idea with a hybrid language is that a Javascript developer can build a mobile application that can then be ported to both mobile and desktop platforms. This is an acceptable development method in some cases, but not all. You should talk with your development team about the advantages and disadvantages of both. 

The native language for an iOS build is Swift while Java is used for Android devices.

DevOps Engineer is quite possibly the most specialized role in this process. This is the person who functions as the bridge between the software and the hardware (IT) side of your application. The DevOps engineer is responsible for making sure the server hardware and software configuration are properly set up so that they play nicely together. 

Q/A Engineers are responsible for ensuring there are no bugs in your web or mobile application. There are many techniques a QA engineer uses to ensure your software build is operating properly such as:

  • Vulnerability/Security Testing
  • Compatibility Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Unit Testing
  • Integration Testing

It is also critical that you understand, QA does not ensure your application will be bug-free. There is no such thing as a bug-free application, but rather Q/A engineers ensure your application works as expected within the defined scope of the build.

These are the essential key players in an application build. Now you know who you need on your full-stack development team to appropriately execute your project. If you feel like maybe you have the wrong team, considering rebooting, here is our take on calling it quits.

As always we’re here to help you be an educated consumer. If you have specific questions, give us a call.