10 Do’s and don’ts of hiring a JavaScript developer

10 Do’s and don’ts of hiring a JavaScript developer

Our blog 10 Do’s and don’ts of hiring a JavaScript developer

JavaScript experienced a surge of popularity recently. And for good reason. With JavaScript, developers can build websites and web applications using only one set of technologies. 

But that doesn’t mean hiring a JavaScript developer is easy. JavaScript developers are in high demand and finding the JavaScript developer that’s perfect for your company’s needs requires careful searching and evaluation. 

The following 10 do’s and don’ts will help you set the right parameters for your JavaScript developer search to hire the right person. Before we jump in, let’s review the different types of JavaScript developers so you start your search on the right track.

What type of JavaScript developer do you need?

As we noted in the introduction, one of the main reasons for JavaScript’s popularity is the ability to build applications using only one set of technologies. But that’s not to say that every JavaScript developer can build a web app start to finish, or that the ability to do so matches your needs.

Depending on the application you’re building, its current progress status, and the other expertise already available on your team, you’ll want to focus your search on one of the following three types of JavaScript developers. 

1. Front-end JavaScript developer

A front-end JavaScript developer has expertise in the design requirements of an application. This is the developer that creates the user-interface side of the application. 

If you already have a back-end engineer on your team, you want to focus your search on a front-end JavaScript developer. Front-end developers need to understand user experience, design, and be able to turn mock-ups into working interfaces.

2. Back-end JavaScript developer

A back-end Javascript developer builds the app’s database architecture. This is the developer that’s responsible for any functionality that runs on the server.

If you have a front-end developer on your team, or plan to hire one, then you can focus your search on a back-end developer. Back-end developers need to have a deep understanding of Node.js, be able to write APIs, and connect data to the front end.

3. Full-stack JavaScript developer

A full-stack JavaScript developer is a generalist who can develop both the back-end and the front-end of an application. This developer can create both the architecture of your app and design its user interface.

You should consider hiring a full-stack JavaScript developer if you’re starting a project from scratch and don’t plan to hire specialized developers for the front or back end of your app. Full-stack developers should have a breadth of knowledge in both database architecture and design requirements but won’t be a deep expert in either one.

With 67.8% of developers indicating that they use JavaScript in their work, you’re sure to get a lot of responses to your JavaScript developer opening. The key will be evaluating your applicants’ along the right parameters to make a good hire. 

Do’s and don’ts for evaluating JavaScript developers

There are various things you want to consider when reviewing applicants for your JavaScript developer position such as previous experience, their portfolio of work, and their technical skills. There are a lot of things you shouldn’t overlook such as privacy concerns and understanding of business goals. 

The following guidelines will help you set the right consideration for evaluating which JavaScript developer would be the best hire for you.

1. Do look for an experienced JavaScript developer

There is an age-old adage that says that experience is a skill you cannot teach. The same can be said when searching for the right JavaScript developer for your operations.

Opting to hire developers with relevant experience ensures that you can get your work done by an individual who has the core competency in fields such as mobile app development and domains. Experience also means that a developer has had more time to apply their knowledge to real-world issues and will likely have more resources and flexibility in finding solutions for the issues that arise in your app. 

Keep in mind, however, that greater experience comes with a greater salary. Consider the complexity of your app, the level of expertise it requires, and the salary you can offer. The crossover between these three points will indicate the experience you should look for in your JavaScript developer.

2. Do choose a JavaScript developer who can communicate effectively

JavaScript is technically complex, so it is crucial to find a JavaScript developer with excellent communication skills. A JavaScript developer with good communication skills will be able to communicate their ideas, suggestions, and project progress in simple language for everybody to understand.

Strong communication skills also allow developers to set expectations and communicate issues in an effective way. This minimizes the risk of mistakes and reduces the likelihood of confusion within your team.

3. Do find a JavaScript developer with a strong portfolio

One of the most important things you need to consider in hiring a JavaScript developer is their app portfolio. A portfolio will provide you with information about the technology stack each candidate has used in previous projects.

When reviewing portfolios, pay particular attention to the involvement of the developer in the overall app development and see whether that matches the skills and knowledge you need. If you need a full-stack developer, for example, you don’t want someone who has only done front-end work in the past. And if you’re looking for a back- or front-end specialist, know that someone who has only done full-stack development in the past, may not have all the skill you want.

Use each candidate’s portfolio work as your guide to understanding their areas of expertise better, not just for checking the overall quality of the previous app they developed. 

4. Do test your candidates skill early

There is one certainty about putting out a JavaScript developer job description: you will get a lot of applications. That’s great for choice but can be a time-drain for evaluations. 

Before you start reading hundreds of CVs and reviewing just as many portfolios, consider screening your applicants’ JavaScript knowledge though a skills test. A skills test will help you quickly identify which of your applicants are strongest in JavaScript knowledge so you can focus your time and attention on evaluating them deeper. 

For a front-end JavaScript developer, you can also include a CSS or HTML test, since front-end developers are likely to need both of those languages in their work. For a back-end developer, you should include at least a Node.js test and any other frameworks you may be using in your stack. If you’re after a full-stack developer, you’ll need a good mix of both to make sure candidates have the right skills across all areas. 

A lot of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) systems on the market integrate directly with assessment tools so you can screen and filter applicants right from your pipeline. Check out the top 10 ATS software for 2020 here

5. Do look for experience with open-source platforms

Open source projects can add innovation and speed to a developer’s work. These are free software projects written by developers for developers. Because any developer can access the source code and suggest improvements, these projects usually result in high-quality code that offers innovative solutions to issues. 

Picking a JavaScript developer who has experience and interest in open-source platforms will enable you to improve your app’s user experience and encourage innovation through collaboration. 

6. Don't cover only technical questions at the interview phase

Interviews aren’t a great way for checking technical skills. Screening tests are a far better and reliable measure for that. But interviews are great for contextual and situational questions that help you understand how your candidates apply their technical skills in real-world situations to overcome issues and create success. 

Here are some questions you could ask your shortlisted candidates to dig deeper into their experience and personalities: 

  • How do you measure success on a development project? What metrics do you use to track it? Shows if they understand how to evaluate their own work
  • Talk to me about a project you worked on that failed. What was your role and what went wrong? What was your takeaway from it? Shows if they can take responsibility for their work even when things don’t go well and learn from mistakes. 
  • Have you ever had a disagreement with a project manager or another team member about the development of an app? What was the situation and how did you resolve it? Shows if they make decisions based on the overall project and business goals and if they can resolve disagreements in a positive way. 

7. Don't overlook collaboration skills in JavaScript developers

We often think of developers as a special kind of workers that always work on their own in a language the rest of the team can’t understand. But that’s not actually the case. Even if you’re hiring a full-stack developer to work on both the back- and front-end of your web application, your JavaScript developer will still have to collaborate with other team members to move their work forward. 

Whether reporting to the leadership team on success metrics or working with a project manager to plan and coordinate work in accordance with larger team goals, your JavaScript developer will be working with others. And choosing someone who can collaborate with others well will be important to the successful development of your app. 

8. Don't forget to share your business goals

The most significant step in finding the right JavaScript developer is informing them of the overall direction of your organization. JavaScript developers need to understand the demands of your business and your proposals to capitalize on the objectives the app needs to accomplish.

Make sure to discuss your business goals with all candidates and ask them to share ideas on how they can help build an app that enables you to achieve those goals. This way, you can ensure that your business goals are not separate from the app goals. 

9. Don't pick developers who are unaware of privacy concerns

Excellent developers understand the need for increased data privacy and protection in web applications. With governments passing regulations about managing information and a host of cybercriminals looking for opportunities to steal data, your organization must ensure that your apps comply with the latest and highest securing standards. 

A JavaScript developer with a good understanding of privacy concerns and safety measures will not only help you avoid hefty fines that may be imposed as a result of violating regulations but will also help you convert and retain more app users by guaranteeing the protection of the information they share with your app. 

10. Don't fail to check the references of JavaScript Developers

Even with situational questions at the interview stage, it can be hard to get a clear and objective picture of a developer’s collaboration skills or response to feedback. Candidates will almost always frame themselves in a positive light when sharing past experiences, and it’s a good idea to get outside sources to verify. 

Ask for references from previous bosses, clients, and event team members of your hires and check with them about their experience working with your candidate and any advice they can give you. This will help you understand whether your future JavaScript developer will be a good fit for your team, not just the job. 

Hiring the best JavaScript developer for your team

No two developers are made equal and despite the popularity of JavaScript among developers, finding the JavaScript developer that’s the right fit for you will take some searching. 

Start by identifying what type of JavaScript developer you need to focus your search on the right group and save both yourself and developers valuable time. Then build your hiring and evaluation process with the do’s and don’ts we’ve discussed to assess your candidates on all the important parameters without overlooking any. 

Not only will this process help you find the perfect Javascript developer for your team, but it will also help you do so quickly giving you the confidence that you’re making the right choices at each step of the way. 

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