A mobile app developer is responsible for researching, designing and developing applications for mobile devices. As they are responsible for the whole application lifecycle, mobile app developers need to have a range of skills to work effectively at each development stage. Mobile app developers often work as part of a larger team, depending upon the size of their employer.
This article will cover the responsibilities and tasks of a mobile app developer, review the skills required to perform these well and explore the pre-employment tests that could be incorporated into your hiring process to great effect.
Setting tailored tests to evaluate your candidate pool gives you the insight with which to make objective and effective hiring decisions.
What should a Mobile App Developer be able to do?
A mobile app developer works within an organization’s engineering team to develop and maintain mobile applications. They work on applications from the concept stage, through the design, development and testing stages, to the release. They are also involved in support and updates.
A mobile app developer may require Android or iOS development skills. The programming language(s) they use will depend upon their employer’s preference but, regardless of the language, they’ll need an expert grasp of its intricacies.
The app development process often involves working collaboratively as part of a wider team. It also involves working across different disciplines to ensure the app is fit for purpose and meets the needs of the customer, is designed and created to a high standard and marketed effectively.
A mobile app developer’s tasks include:
- Identifying the need for different app features and designing an effective product.
- Writing clean quality code for applications.
- Pre-release testing to identify any issues or malfunctions.
- Optimizing and troubleshooting after initial application launch and subsequent feature releases.
- Improving user experience through intuitive applications.
- Working with product development to identify and release new features.
Skills to look for in a Mobile App Developer
To be effective in their role, a mobile app developer will need to possess certain key skills. Below we run through the top skills we recommend testing for:
Oral communication: app developers often work within larger teams, so good communication skills are valuable to ensure your new hire will work effectively within your existing team. It is important that developers can convey their ideas, opinions and vision for the application clearly and concisely, so that the design and development process is a collaborative effort and increased innovation is encouraged.
Attention to detail: attention to detail is useful for an app developer, as coding is detail oriented. Developers are responsible for ensuring the code is concise, free from bugs and that the app specifications are met across the design and development stages.
Software skills: mobile app developers need to be proficient in the software platforms used within their teams. They must have a high level of computer proficiency and a good knowledge of back-end computing including frameworks, security, hardware interaction and database management.
Design skills: mobile app developers benefit from good user interface (UI) design skills, as they are required to produce a product that is aesthetic, intuitive, functional and compatible with multiple programs.
Programming skills: it is essential that mobile app developers have a comprehensive grasp of the programming language(s) they will be working with. To be successful in developing effective, attractive and easy-to-use products, they need to be able to rapidly write simple, clean and effective code.
Useful abilities for a Mobile App Developer
To accompany their skills, mobile app developers need to have particular ability strengths. Below are the top beneficial abilities to keep an eye out for when recruiting for a mobile app development role:
Problem-solving: mobile app developers require product management skills, as they are part of an application's lifecycle from design and development through to launch and the subsequent release of any additional features. A key part of this process is problem-solving - being able to identify the need and then design and develop an application that meets the challenge. Problem-solving is essential to the app product creation process.
Problem sensitivity and social perceptiveness: an app developer benefits from the ability to understand and empathize with the end-user of their applications. This helps them to recognize potential or developing issues, to anticipate future needs, and to identify the new features needed to keep their apps functional and relevant.
Flexibility and adaptation: mobile app developers need to be able to adapt in the face of the challenges experienced in designing and developing a new application or feature release. Some concepts may not operate as intended and need to be rewritten or the expectations of functionality revised. An app developer should have the flexibility to pivot when required and adapt to meet deadlines in the production timeline.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a Mobile App Developer?
To ensure your hiring process results in the best candidate being hired for the role, use pre-employment testing to assess your applicants for the presence of key soft skills.
The following tests would provide useful insight when recruiting a mobile app developer:
Teamwork: many mobile app developers work as part of a team, therefore assessing prospective employees’ ability to work with colleagues is prudent. A teamwork test presents hypothetical team working scenarios and asks candidates to answer multiple choice questions related to the best next step or team dynamic illustrated.
Adaptability: as with any project, there are likely to be issues to overcome during the app development process. An adaptability test features theoretical scenarios and asks candidates to select the course of action that most closely resembles their own response. The test is a gauge of how well a candidate can cope with changes and pressures - such as an adjusted timeline, an amendment to the product brief or changing operating parameters - and successfully adapt to find a new way forward.
Communication: mobile app developers need to be strong communicators as well as technically talented. Whether it’s their vision for the product, internal progress updates or task requests, they need to be able to communicate well with others across disciplines and teams. A communications skills test is a good way of assessing whether a candidate has the communication abilities needed to fit seamlessly into your existing development team and work effectively from day one.
Interpersonal skills: an interpersonal skills test assesses communication, social interaction and capacity for teamwork. The test features hypothetical scenarios and asks candidates to select the most or least effective way to deal with the detailed issue from several answer options. Social skills such as emotional awareness, empathy and conflict resolution are essential within a collaborative application development environment.
Time management: a mobile app developer needs good time awareness and management so they can successfully meet deadlines throughout the development process. A time management test gives insight into whether they possess the organizational skills needed to be successful in an app development role.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a Mobile App Developer?
As well as testing for soft skills, pre-employment testing should cover technical skill and aptitude. These results will help to form a full picture of each candidate’s skills and potential.
When hiring a mobile app developer, consider embedding the following tests in your hiring process:
Error checking: mobile app developers need to be able to write clean code, free from errors, to ensure the app runs smoothly. An error checking test assesses attention to detail, as it requires candidates to compare data and identify any discrepancies (in this case, the test may be tailored to feature lines of code).
Logical reasoning: mobile app developers design apps with interface design and user experience in mind, to ensure the end-user’s needs are met. This process involves problem-solving across both the product design and development stages. A logical reasoning test gives insight into problem-solving ability by testing the application of logical and lateral thinking. Candidates are presented with patterns (featuring both shapes and symbols) which they must analyze to deduce the governing rules. They are then asked to select the correct next figure in the sequence from a list of options.
Verbal reasoning: mobile app developers need to have strong teamworking skills, which are underpinned by good communication skills - both oral and written. A verbal reasoning test evaluates your candidates’ ability to comprehend, analyze and interpret written text. The test features a selection of passages and asks candidates to indicate whether related statements are ‘true’, ‘false’, or if they ‘cannot say’ based on the information provided.
Our recommended test battery for a Mobile App Developer
Pre-employment tests not only increase the efficiency of a hiring process, they provide invaluable insight to ensure the most effective recruitment decisions are made. At a minimum, use the following aptitude and skills tests to ensure you select the best candidate for your position:
Logical reasoning test: mobile app developers need to be good problem-solvers to overcome development challenges and to create an application that meets user needs. Use a logical reasoning test to assess your candidates’ logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Programming test: excellent knowledge of the required programming language is essential, so test your prospective employees’ grasp of the functions and operations needed through a programming language test.
Error checking test: mobile app developers need to be able to write precise code. Use an error checking test to ensure your chosen candidate has a high attention to detail and the ability to spot (and therefore rapidly rectify) any mistakes.