Everything you can possibly need or want can now be found online. All it takes is a few clicks, swipes or taps on your computer keyboard, mobile phone or tablet and you’ve got what you need on hand. For your business to succeed in today’s digital age, you need the right tools, portals and applications so any customer anywhere can easily reach you anytime.
Software development, aka application development, software design, software application development, enterprise application development or platform development, refers to computer programming or writing and maintaining source code. It includes all activities involved in conceptualising desired software to final implementation following a structured process. As such, it may include research, new development, prototyping, modification, reuse, re-engineering, maintenance and any other activity that results in the creation of software.
What Is Software for?
Software can be developed for different reasons—to meet the specific needs of specific clients (custom software), to meet a perceived need of certain potential users (commercial and open source software) or for personal use (to automate repetitive tasks).
When Should You Hire Freelance Software Developers?
Freelance software developers have become commodities because they’ve had several years of experience working with different modules. They may also be experts in different programming languages or have done impressive and professional work. They can easily judge the nature of work for each job and figure out problems and solutions more quickly and effectively.
Experienced freelance software developers have the ability to focus on three tough parts of custom software development—error handling, database connectivity and form processing. If you’re looking into hiring a freelance software developer, make sure they have had plenty of experience working with the software and systems that you need them to work on.
Many companies hire freelance software developers due to cost advantages but doing so has risks as well. If your website or web application is likely to take a long time to finish, hiring a freelancer may not be the best solution. If your developer gets sick, your project may not be finished on time. If you depend on them for updates and maintenance and their personal problems are stopping them from working, then your project may suffer too.
Many freelance software developers have full- or part-time jobs and can therefore do their contract work only on certain days of the week. As such, they usually work from home using a single computer and personal Internet connection. If your project is a large-scale one with a strict deadline, hiring a freelancer to do it would probably not be the best option as they might not be able to devote enough time to your project.
Because a freelancer normally works alone, if they encounter difficulties troubleshooting complex issues while programming, your project may suffer too. They are also prone to stray from working on your project because they work from home and may need more time to spend with family. And since they are their own bosses, they don’t follow coding standards unlike those employed by software development companies. No one else will test the code they’ve written so this may have bugs or flaws.
When Should You Get the Services of Software Development Agencies?
A software development agency is a company that has a pool of software developers that specialise in all kinds of technology and platforms. They can produce bespoke websites, applications, plug-ins and tools to maximise your brand impact online; mobile applications and sites to meet the constraints of specific operating systems, screen sizes, or devices; and flexible frameworks that tailor the content, images, and functionality of your site to the device your customers use.
Unlike hiring freelance software developers, getting the services of an agency reduces trust, timeliness, and quality assurance issues. Agencies, after all, are companies that rely on contracts with customers so they are bound to abide by signed agreements. Since they employ experts in all fields, they can solve problems no matter how complex they get. Their developers work in an office so they can focus on their job. They can better assure quality too because they have a team that ensures their products and services are bug-free. And they also offer maintenance and customer care services that should give you peace of mind when problems arise.
Of course, hiring an agency as opposed to a freelancer costs more, but if your project is time-dependent and entails a lot of work, it will be better to make the investment in an agency that will meet the deadline and employ its resources to complete your project.
Compare freelance and agency Software Developers.