Hiring an Android dev (part 1 – vision)

Recently I helped my client hire new devs for mobile engineering team. Hiring talented developer in today’s market is a path filled with potential pitfalls, but also immense rewards if navigated wisely. After last recruitment process I decided to put few thoughts to paper (or screen, to be precise).

Vision

Hiring Android developer is hard. Talent market is diverse. Having a clear vision is not just helpful—it’s essential.

Clear vision serves as your compass, guiding you through the sea of potential candidates to find the perfect match for your team and project.

But how do you form this vision? And more importantly, how do you ensure it leads you to the right developer?

Your needs

Firstly, it’s crucial to understand the unique needs of your project. Mobile development is not just „build the UI”. Mobile devs need to understand UI/UX design, frontend architecture, APIs, and beyond.

Do you need someone who can craft beautiful, intuitive interfaces, making each user interaction a delight? Maybe you need someone to build the product as fast and possible? Or is your priority someone who can ensure robust, reliable architecture, enabling ease of development? Perhaps you’re looking for a rare gem: a dev who can do all of that.

Skills & experience

Once you’ve pinpointed the key areas of focus for your project, it’s time to consider the skills and experience necessary to bring your vision to life.

For instance, if you’re looking for a UI/UX wizard, person who is just proficient in Kotlin alone won’t cut it. You’ll need someone with a keen eye for design, a deep understanding of user behavior, and familiarity with the latest Android design principles and guidelines.

On the other hand, if architectural skills is what you seek, look for a developer with a solid grasp of databases, APIs, and design patterns, who can write clean, efficient Kotlin code.

Experience is another critical factor. A seasoned developer might bring a wealth of knowledge and a portfolio of successful projects, but don’t overlook the fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that a newer talent might offer.

Consider what stage your project is at and what balance of experience and innovation will best serve its needs. A mix of seasoned veterans and bright juniors can often be the winning formula for dynamic projects.

Cultural fit

Moreover, the ability to work well within your existing team cannot be overstated. Technical skills are important, but so is the ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and adapt to your team’s culture and workflow.

A brilliant developer who can’t work well with others is unlikely to contribute to the success of your project in the long run.

It’s also wise to consider the future growth of your project. Will the developer you hire today be able to scale with your project? Do they have the capacity to learn and adapt as new challenges arise and technologies evolve?

Ensuring your new hire is not just a fit for today but can also grow with your project is key to a long-term successful partnership.

Remember that hiring is a two-way street. Just as you are looking for the perfect Android developer, candidates are looking for a project and team that aligns with their skills, interests, and career goals.

Be clear about what your project offers and what you expect from your new hire, but also be open to learning about what they seek in their career.


Craft your vision

When it’s time to bring an new developer on board, pinpointing exactly what role they’ll play within your project or team is crucial. Here’s a focused guide to help you refine your vision and decide on the nature of the hire you need.

Single Project vs. Long-Term Team Member

  • project scope and duration: Evaluate the scope and expected duration of your project. Is this a short-term assignment with a clear end, or does the project have the potential to evolve and grow?
  • future development plans: Consider your long-term development roadmap. Even if the immediate need is project-based, could there be a role for this developer in upcoming projects?

Leadership and Autonomy

  • current team dynamics: Assess the current structure of your team. Is there a need for someone who can take charge of Android development, bring fresh ideas, and lead projects independently?
  • feature ownership: Determine if the role requires leading the development of specific features from conception to launch. This involves not just technical skills but also project management and decision-making abilities.

Mentorship and Growth Potential

  • team skill levels: Look at the collective skill level of your current team. Is there a gap in Android development skills that a new hire could fill? Would they be coming in as a mentor to upskill your team?
  • openness to training: Decide if you’re willing to invest in someone with foundational skills and immense potential who you can train to fit your exact needs. This can be a rewarding long-term investment but requires time and resources.

Key Considerations for Forming Your Vision

  • define the non-negotiable skills: For each scenario above, outline the skills and experience that are absolutely essential. This helps in creating a focused job description and vetting candidates effectively.
  • cultural fit and adaptability: Regardless of the role’s duration or leadership level, the candidate must gel with your team’s culture and be adaptable to your working style.
  • growth and contribution: Think about what growth looks like for this role. How do you see this person evolving within the team, and what contributions are you expecting them to make? This foresight can guide your interviews and discussions.
  • feedback and evaluation mechanisms: Plan for regular check-ins and feedback sessions, especially if the role involves growth, training, or leadership. This ensures alignment with project goals and personal development targets.

Kickstarting your hiring process with a clear vision requires a deep dive into your project’s specific needs, an assessment of the skills and experience necessary to meet those needs, and an understanding of how a new hire will fit into your team and grow with your project.

Carefully consider these factors, so you can navigate the sea of candidates with confidence, finding the Android developer who not only meets your criteria but exceeds your expectations.

Jarosław Michalik

Mobile dev consultant & Google Developer Expert in Kotlin

With over 8 years of experience in mobile development I help my clients untangle complexities of legacy Android projects.

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