Development: To Code or Not to Code/Hire a Coder
Thanks for coming back. And guess what, you’ve made it halfway through the course! In today’s lesson, we delve into the topic of app development. Although several groups consider design and development as one, I like to separate them because these are two different stages of the app development process. As I mentioned at the end of yesterday’s lesson, it is not advisable for you to hire a programmer until you have most of your designs finalized; this will not only avoid unnecessary expense but also allow you the time to test out the designs with people to see what works and what doesn’t (always be validating!).
Much like the design stage, this is a stage you can do yourself or hire professional help for. There are a few things to consider if you want to take either route.
Doing It by Yourself
If you would like to develop the app yourself and you have the skills required to do so, then you can start breaking down your app’s requirements (you should have this list from Lesson 2) into a backlog of product features and approaching them in order of priority.
In the event that you do not have the necessary development background but you are willing to learn, the first question you will need to answer is: What technologies do I want to learn? If you have never written any code before, then you’ll probably want to take an online course from General Assembly, Treehouse, or Highbrow on how to build an iPhone or Android app. The advantages of taking an online course instead of an offline one are the cheaper cost, flexible scheduling, and the long-term feedback and guidance from your instructor/mentor. This route will also give you a lifelong skill that you can use to develop your future ideas and maybe pursue freelance gigs—or even a career—in app development. The only downside is that it could take you a while (three to six months minimum) to become conversant with a coding language and maybe even more if your app idea is quite complex.
Hiring a Professional
If time is not on your side or the idea of learning a coding language isn’t your cup of tea, then you can always hire a programmer.
Hiring an app developer or a development team, while costly, can be a good way to ensure your app is built in an efficient way and all the technicalities (software architecture, hosting, etc.) are taken care of. If you can find a good agency and manage them properly, they will hopefully deliver on your requirements, and you can launch a quality app to the app store of your choice. Finding a good agency can take some time, but if you can assess the developer’s fit (whom they’ve worked for), capabilities (what they have done versus what they say they can do), and their process (how they work) before agreeing to work with them, you’re on the right path.
One key piece of advice if you would like to go down this route is this: Always ask the development agency for a list of their past clients—and then proceed to ask these clients whether they would recommend working with that team. By doing this, you can find out how reliable, responsive, and results-driven they are and whether they generally deliver within their clients’ timeline and budget.
As long as you check the team’s work history and have a solid agreement signed before you start working, you are sure to avoid months of disappointments and wasted time and money. Speaking of, tomorrow’s lesson will look at business models you can incorporate to help monetize your app!
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