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Hiring A Developer? Know These Key Terms

Whether you’re looking to hire someone on a freelance basis, full-time, or go with a web development agency, one thing holds true: you need someone who will get the job done right, on schedule, every time. 

Easier said than done, unfortunately. 

As you start to research firms and interview candidates, you’ll pick up on some of the same terms being thrown around. And while you might have an idea what they mean, it’s important that you fully understand what you’re looking for. 

Before you sit down to interview one more developer or start combing through resumes, take a look at our list of key terms to prepare yourself. This is the full glossary of terms you should be familiar with in order to find the right candidate. 

Front end: The “front end” refers to every aspect of a website or app that a user sees or interacts with. Fonts, background colors, buttons and photos are just the beginning. Front-end developers specialize in this specific aspect of building a website. 


Back end: Back-end development encompasses the inner workings of a site. If you want to make sure key pages are collecting user data the right way, you need to work with a back-end developer. Back-end development requires its own set of coding languages, especially if you’re collecting and storing large amounts of data. 


Full-stack: The front end plus the back end add up to the full stack. Someone who claims to be a full-stack engineer should be able to build and fix every aspect of your site. It’s hard to find, which is why so many business owners choose to work with a web development agency that has programmers with both front-end and back-end knowledge. 


Web app: A web app isn’t a true app, like the Facebook icon on your iPhone. It doesn’t have to be installed, and doesn’t have to be accessed through an app store. It’s a specific function that can be accessed through your web browser. If you’re looking for someone who can build you an app, and they mention “web apps,” be aware that these are very different products. 


Native app: A native app is any function that you download to your mobile device and can access by tapping an icon. When you think “app,” you’re thinking of a native app. 


App development: If you think you want to build an app or improve an existing one, ask about that skill specifically in your interviews or preliminary calls. App development is often more complex than building a website, since you’re creating a tool that can be used on a variety of devices and operating systems. 


UX design: UX (or user experience) design refers to the look and feel of a site, app or software. Large companies may choose to hire a specialized UX designer as well as a team of software engineers. 


Responsive design: If a site is built with a responsive design, that means it will automatically adjust according to the user’s screen size. In today’s mobile-first world, where people are accessing sites through their phone more often than their laptop, you want to make sure you hire a developer who can build you a solution with a responsive design. 

Above all else, partner with an agency that’s transparent about their skills, experience, and expertise. 

If it feels intimidating to hire a web developer you trust, it shouldn’t be. We’re ready to chat about your development needs, and get you on the right path for your business.