Should I Hire A Developer Or Learn To Code for Mobile App Development

Posted by Alka Singh · October 9, 2019 · 8 Min read

Table of contents

One of my friends once urged me to download a certain mobile application and share feedback about my experience of using it.

I downloaded the app and found, it was a commerce application dedicated to handicrafts and gift items. I liked the products offered in different categories but, to my surprise, I couldn’t shop for items online on the application.

I went back to my friend, shared my experience of using the app and asked what is this app all about? It wouldn’t even allow me to order products through the app

To this he said, “The app is dedicated to my father’s handicrafts shop. I develop it just to showcase a range of products in the shop. I have provided contact details and address of the shop. You can search for products, read about them, and check their price online. If you like to order the item, you can contact at shared details to purchase the product. It will be delivered at the provided address.”

Let me clear this here. My friend is a software professional and has rich experience in Android app development. He developed the app to help his father expands the business beyond the local area/market.

To my surprise, I found an entrepreneur in my friend. “I developed the app to build an online presence of the shop. Right now, I kept it as a platform to collect information. If it will help increase some sales, I will think about adding more features to allow online commerce”, he said

So, what I learned from it?

Mobile application has the potential to change commerce not just for large scale companies, but also the smaller ones limited to the local market or audience. 

All it needs a true business sense and expertise to merge an idea with technology to make the business concept functional for target customers. My friend has leveraged his professional skills to develop a mobile app for the business that possesses a massive potential for growth. 

I believe there are many people around the world who are thinking about bringing their business to mobile applications or wish to disrupt the whole commerce system with breakthrough mobile apps. If you belong to one such category, then this blog post is for you.

If you are sure about your business idea that it will work, then all you need is its technical part done right. There are two options available that one can consider to build mobile applications.

  • Learn To Code and Build an App Yourself
  • Hire a Professional Mobile App Developer/Agency

My friend chose to develop a mobile app for his home’s business/shop as he knew how to build mobile apps. However, both the two options have their pros and cons.

Either you choose to learn to code and build the app yourself or decide to hire a professional app developer on a freelance basis or an agency, depending on your budget. There are a few essential things about app development that should be known first:


Types Of Mobile Apps

types of mobile app


The app my friend had developed for the handicraft shop was a native android application. However, back then hybrid apps had not proven results like today. But at present, lots of options are available to start mobile app development for a business.

Here are the common types of apps:

  • Native Apps: These are developed for a specific platform such as Android, iOS, and Windows.
  • Hybrid Apps: These are developed once and can work on more than one platform
  • Responsive Web Apps: These are developed that work on both desktop and mobile devices

So, well, first you need to choose the type of app you want to build.


Your Objectives

You must define the objective behind mobile app development at first before getting your hands dirty in frameworks and libraries. A clear idea of why you’re building a mobile app helps you achieve the desired outcome. 

Like my friend developed the app to give an online presence to his family’s business. He developed the app to expand the business’s reach, but he choose to build a mobile app, not a website.

There is a difference in mobile apps and website. It was clear, he wanted to leverage the opportunities that mobile apps offer through on-the-go opportunities. However, there are many other reasons people want to get applications developed such as starting a new business or simply as an add-on to mobile website. 

Once you are clear with the objective of mobile app development, you should first hand decide

  • Your Target Market
  • Target Audience
  • Their Expectations
  • Competitors
  • Target ROI
  • Budget
  • Potential Results, and
  • Timeline 
  1. Features and Functionalities

Now that you know the goals of your app, it is time to prepare a list of functionalities and features that should be in an app. Once you are done with the list, check the features and functionalities that should be developed for the first version of the app. You can’t possibly include all features at once.

You will need feedback to figure out the shortcomings and work on them. The app will evolve over time and accordingly you can add advanced features like my friend decided to add in-app purchases in the future.

Therefore, you can focus on including all the basic and important functionalities initially.


Wireframe Design

A wireframe is a handy document for developers to look back and maintain the track of app development. The wireframe usually consists of lines and verticals and represents the functional elements of the app.

The wireframe will be a sketch-based layout of your app, including all the functionalities and features and details of how a feature works, what happens when you click a particular button, size, shape & color of various elements, etc.



You need to plan things like database, data storage, the team and the development approach, the architecture you want to use, and most importantly, the backend of your app. Besides that, you need to figure out the right language for the development of your app. 

Planning is a crucial part of mobile app development. You have to decide tech stack(we wrote a detailed blog on it, check it out) on which an application is going to rely for its look, features, functionality, performance, scalability and easy maintenance. 

Take some extra time and decide tech stack for the mobile app you want to develop whether you are planning to develop the app yourself or seeking a professional vendor.

Once you are done with a road-map, you can develop the app yourself or take professional help for the same.


When You Decide Learning To Code and Build App Yourself

Learning to code might sound interesting since it saves you money, but not everyone has the potential to build an app. 

There are pros and cons of learning to code when you want an app to get developed.

Let’s look at them first and try to identify whether the step would be a good option for you or not.

Developing an application yourself sounds interesting, so let’s dig into why you should learn to code yourself Developing an app comprises planning, design, development, testing, hosting, and then finally launch or activation followed by marketing too. The fact is that:
Cost-Effective: You don’t have to pay anyone the development cost. You save a lot of money as most of the aspects have been coded by you. Additional funds can be used on other significant aspects Technical Expertise: Every app development approach is accomplished through mastery of specific technical skills. Like Native apps for iOS and Android platforms require you to learn Swift, Objective-C and Java & Kotlin. To avail real experience in such technologies, you can expect it to take around 18 months.
Acquire A New Skill: You get to learn a new skill through which you can make money as well Frontend, Backend and what not? App development does not just end on java or swift, you have to earn expertise in UI/UX as well as in backend development technologies like PHP, Node, etc. that can take you another six months of committed study or maybe more time depending on your abilities.
More Control: When you know how to code, you can have greater control over major aspects involved in making your app successful. You can control the project flow whether it’s timelines, budget or ensuring that the app has all the defined features. Learning to code has a lot of significance in that aspect. Coders Block? If you get stuck at something you will need assistance or outsourcing for that work, which ultimately would require you to invest. App development is an ocean in itself. No one can develop all the skills in a short span of time.
Time & Money: If you’re low on budget but have ample time to implement your idea, then learning to code makes more sense. Mobile Apps can, at times, get expensive depending on the feature set involved. Technology changes fast: The difficult part of application development is that the technologies, tools, and devices keep evolving. The industry is prone to change every now and then. Learning a skill today may become obsolete in the long run, which then can become problematic
Too many things at hand: A successful app consumes a lot of time, technologies, resources and funding to stay abreast of the market’s pace and competition. Moreover, there are a number of different aspects of a business/app such as marketing, sales, communication, customer management, and much more which needs your full-time commitment, parallel to app development. Even if you learn how to code would it be possible for you to devote full attention to all these aspects?
Look for Funds or Code?: Funding not just helps you kickstart your project development, but also helps you focus on other aspects of the project. You must spend your efforts to acquire funds, instead of developing it yourself.
Time of launch is key: There are 2.46 million apps on Android’s Google Play alone and 1.96 million on iOS platform and the number keeps increasing. Bringing your app late to the market would make it difficult in today’s competitive world.

Learning To Code – Not Your Cup Of Tea? How About Going Alternate Ways?

Connecting with a vendor or hiring a freelance developer are the options available to you. When you prefer to spend time growing your business, it’s better to get technical parts done right, through the professionals. 

But which option is more feasible?


Hire A Freelance Mobile App Developer Or Mobile Application Development Company

Many options brings many confusions. However, if you have good knowledge about the market and a clear vision for the requirements, it is easy to avail the most appropriate solution for the problem. While choosing between a mobile app developer or a complete mobile application development company, you must look out for their benefits and drawbacks. 

For example: hiring a freelance developer cost you less rather than hiring a complete agency. However, before reaching any conclusion, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each option. 

Freelance Developer
Mobile Application Development Company
Required Resources
1.Connecting with a freelance developer gets you one man army to tackle the tasks. Though it cost less to get the job done from a freelance developer.

But who is going to work on UI/UX part of the app? Who will test the app whether it is functioning as expected or not?

An application developed through the combined efforts of professionals such as:

a. Business Analyst : $32/hr - $55/hr
b. Project Manager : $40/hr - $72/hr
c. Backend Developer : $61/hr - $80/hr
d. AWS Expert : $25/hr - $85/hr
e. Solutions Architect :$35/hr - $100/hr
f. QA Engineer: $40/hr - $800/hr
g. iOS and Android Developer:$40/hr - $125/hr

Hiring a freelance developer can get rid of the development stress, but what about the other significant steps/processes? Are you willing to take such responsibilities?
If no, then you have to set-up your team from the ground and find the right talent separately.

Even if you set-up your team, even then, do you have time to overlook what they are doing? How they are collaborating? and much more

Hiring freelance professionals might be a good choice for short term work and can prove to you cost-effective, but still you have to scrutinize the work yourself.

Moreover, hiring separate talent on freelance basis and then managing them and their work from remote locations wouldn’t make sense in anyway. The risk it involves is much bigger especially for SMBs and large scale projects.

A Mobile App Development Company on the other hand lets you set-up a dedicated team of resources for your project. Right from developers, designers, testing people, account manager and other tech support guys as well as a manager comes to handle every in and out of the project.

With an outsourcing vendor, you get your team ready quickly. All you need to do is to track the development progress, providing feedback and focusing on business development part.

Outsourcing companies like OnGraph are offering different engagement models to choose as per budget and project requirements.

You can kick-start the project development with skilled developers along key account manager at costs as low as $15/hr.

Moreover, you get your professionals work on the same time zone as yours. Excellent communication skills along with technical skills ensures the job gets done right.
Delivery Timeline

2.When you work on your project with a freelance developer, you get direct reporting from him. However, you have to evaluate the work yourself whereas codes needs to be tested by the testers.

You have to dedicate full-time with the developer. And if you both got stuck in situations where both of you are not able to find solution for any occured challenge, delivery of the project gets affected significantly.
Connecting a mobile application development company for project requirements truly makes sense when it comes to delivery of the project.

A project gets developed in different milestones therefore, you can check progress in work hand to hand.

Even in case of any issue occurred mid-way, there are different professionals to bring the solutions. Complete transparency ensures things in place that save money and ensures release to market on the committed time.
Integration of Third Party Integrations
3.APIs and third party integrations are behind the modern and efficient applications.

When you hire a freelance developer, you must check whether he is able to help you in third party integrations or not?

Does he could consult you with the right choice?

This is significant particularly when you yourself are not aware of it.
Whether your project needs a third party integration or not? An outsourcing company can consult you in a right way with right solutions.

They are professional developers and familiar with every in’s and out’s of app development like front-end, back-end, third-party integrations, testing and more.

You can ask for consultation if you don’t know about third party integrations. You can ask for suggestions if you know about it.
Maintenance and Support After Project Sign-off

4.When you hire a freelance developer, you pay for the job done and contract is over.

There is no assurance whether you get the opportunity to connect with him again or whether he is available or willing to take more job at the offered price and get the required issue resolved.

Through connecting with the same developer is ideal for maintenance, support and upgrade as he is familiar with his written code and things can be done shortly.
But in freelance work culture, the approach is quite risky.
When you sign a contract with an outsourcing company, you get one-to-two month free support for bug fixing and maintenance depends on the project even after project sign-off.

Moreover, the team will always come to rescue you in any small or big requirements. Since the whole team is familiar with the whole project, it wouldn’t take much effort to maintain the app.

Even adding new features and upgrade can be done easily since the company and the team is familiar with the project’s in’s and out’s.

Conclusion: Should I Hire Someone Or Learn To Code?

We discussed several pros and cons of different options available to develop a mobile application. 

Learning to code and then developing an application is however not seems feasible. Though the idea is good, it will get too hectic to manage things and there is a good chance you may leave the task midway or even the whole idea of doing online business.   

The option would be good for people passionate about programming, trying their hands on live projects in any company and thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in the future. Investing time in learning to code and gaining experience then sounds like a good option.

Among the options of hiring a mobile app development company or a freelance developer, we already know an agency full of dedicated resources is a true tech partner for a business of any scale. You get dedicated resources at a single stop destination.
Which option would you prefer for your app – hiring a developer or doing it yourself? Share your experience in the comments.

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