The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Magento Developer
December 13, 2019
Magento has a marketplace with thousands of extensions that streamline operation and offer a wide range of custom functionality.
Still, you may not find what you’re looking for in the marketplace. When there's no extension available for what you need, a Magento developer can help fill the gaps and bring your vision to life.
In this article, we’ll cover how to identify your need for a Magento developer, what to look for, and where to find some of the best Magento developer agencies and freelancers for your next project.
Do You Really Need to Hire a Magento Developer?
Your brand will likely want custom functionality as it scales that you won’t find in existing extensions.
The key benefits of hiring a skilled Magento developer include:
Time saving, allowing you to focus on growing your business instead of coding, design, and planning
Technical support as changes happen with Magento so you’re on top of updates
Cost saving, getting updates done quickly without scrambling while minimizing down time
A good Magento developer can maximize site performance, reduce load speed, and optimize operation of your store
Establish Your Requirements for a Magento Developer
Any brand operating on Magento can benefit from working with a developer, but before you try to hire a Magento developer you should establish your requirements. This is key in understanding what kind of developer you need.
Do You Need Front End or Back End Magento Developer?
Design, development, and management of your site are all very different things. Knowing the distinctions is important, because not all Magento developers are full stack developers.
Let’s compare them:
Front-end Magento Developer: handles the appearance of your site including the colors and design, layout, and site navigation. They’re key in creating a stellar user experience that boost conversions.
Back-end Magento Developer: The back-end developer is a technically oriented mind dealing with server-side login, databases, app and store functionality. Your back-end developer designs and builds the engine that makes your store run.
A full stack Magento developer excels at both front-end and back-end development. They’re not as easy to find but they’re capable of working on all aspects of your Magento store.
Is it a One-Time project Vs. Ongoing Developer Needs?
It’s important to know the scope of your project while anticipating future projects you’ll have. This will help establish the budget for working with a developer and choosing one that works on one-off projects vs a big agency or a developer looking for a full-time job or long-term contract.
Truthfully, you can’t go wrong with a full-time Magento developer. It may cost a bit more, but having a developer at your disposal gives you their undivided attention, complete support, and the fastest deployment anytime you need something done.
Know The Limits of Their Resources: Agency vs Freelance Magento Developer
This is important when deciding the type of developer you need. As you weigh the scope of work and upcoming projects, make sure the developer or team you’re considering is capable of handling the work.
Hiring an agency might seem like a good choice, but if you have small-scale projects with a limited budget a larger agency may not prioritize your work.
At the same time, a single freelance developer may not be able to keep up with your deadlines and requirements.
Have a Project Brief Ready
You don’t need to have your entire project laid out in granular detail before seeking a developer. However, putting together critical information based on your ideas and needs will help you weed out inexperienced developers.
The essential components of a project brief include:
Set your goals and expectations – what you want, why you want it, what you want to achieve
Establish your budget
Set a deadline that is clearly outlined
Define payment milestones and how you want to schedule payments
Define communication expectations
Define the deliverables of your project, even loosely, so you can communication what you want done
Define full project scope and verify post-deployment support requirements and capabilities
There are countless places to look online, just be mindful that communities and sites featuring developers have different screening requirements – and some have no screening process at all. Here are some places to think about when you’re looking for a Magento developer.
Toptal is a freelance developer site with a detailed screening process to help eliminate less-favorable freelancers. Their goal is to maintain a directory of quality freelancers with extensive experience. Toptal is proud to display that only 3% of applicants are approved to work through the platform, ensuring you’ll get the best of the best.
Like Toptal, Upwork is another freelance developer platform with categories for other types of freelancers. Upwork is one of the more popular platforms attracting freelancers, which means it has a large pool of talent.
Unfortunately, the approval process is far less strict. When posting your project to Upwork, you’ll likely have to wade through a fair share of inexperienced bids in order to find the real talent.
Whether it’s Upwork, Toptal, or another freelance site, you can either browse profiles to find a developer that fits your needs or post a project and let the Magento developers come to you.
Magento Solution Partners
If you want a Magento developer with outstanding experience, then Magento has you covered. The Magento Partner Directory has a complete list of approved solution and technology partners who can help you with virtually any kind of implementation or integration.
Just be mindful; that Solution Partners typically have a higher cost associated with the work they do.
A great place to find a Magento developer is to ask around your personal and professional networks. There’s a good chance someone may know a Magento developer or has worked with one in the past. Your connections will be happy to refer someone they know, especially if they were happy with the work they did.
Be mindful to verify they’ve worked with them. This way you don’t wind up with a referral that comes from someone who is just friends with a developer but has no concept of their quality of work.
Your network is probably the best place to check first, especially if you’re connected with people who attend eCommerce or other industry events. These are places where serious developers go to make connections and grow their business.
Alternatively, you could visit an event yourself to try and connect with skilled developers and agencies. Magento has an events page listing all the upcoming developer and community events they’re involved with.
Social media is a great place to search for talented Magento developers. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer groups dedicated to the topic of Magento development and eCommerce.
Likewise, with LinkedIn you can search directly for Magento developers to measure talent and experience and find someone that may be available to work on your next project. If they’re not available, they may be able to refer to someone who can meet your needs.
Industry Developer Blogs
Serious developers make time for marketing, including thought leadership and blogging about Magento development.
Take some time looking for popular industry blogs as well as articles from developers. Make a list of authors who know their stuff and reach out to see if they’re available for contract work.
Another approach is to watch the comments/discussions of articles. Other developers may weigh in on a topic, and you can use their comments to weigh their knowledge and professionalism before reaching out.
How to Choose the Right Magento Developer
Once you have a pool of Magento developers, it’s time to start weighing your options and isolating the ones you really want to work with. You may not have the technical expertise to understand if they know their stuff, so here are some points to consider when choosing a Magento developer.
Ask the Magento developer for references. A good developer will have a few satisfied clients and/or professional references who can testify to their talent, professionalism, and work ethic. The last thing you want is a capable developer that completely lacks an understanding of SEO with Magento.
Next to references, look for reviews. An agency is likely to have authentic testimonials that can be verified with previous clients. For freelancers, the freelance sites they use will showcase reviews from previous clients who will weigh in on their experience working with the developer.
Check the portfolio of the developer and make note of the quality of work as well as the date of the work. Ideally you want someone with a portfolio of recent work as opposed to someone who hasn’t worked with Magento in several years.
Make note of the clients listed in the portfolio and reach out to check them as references.
Imaginative and Innovative
The developer you choose should be creative and imaginative, especially if you need them for frontend work. While this is a little more difficult to judge, it should be a factor. When speaking with the developers initially about your project, pay attention to their understanding and ability to add innovative perspective to your ideas.
Magento is a complex beast with different versions, and each has its own features, functions, and framework. When talking to developers, ask about their challenges with various versions, experience with each, and specific projects for various versions.
Their knowledge of the Magento platform should be a top priority.
Communication and Availability
Pay close attention to how well the Magento developers communicate with you. Timeliness of responses and the quality of those replies speaks a lot toward how well communication will go once your project starts.
Availability is key, because you want a developer who can meet project milestones and deadlines. Communicate requirements up front and ensure they’re available for all deadlines and communication requirements – meetings and updates included.
The hourly rate for a Magento developer can vary widely based on the experience level of the developer. Whether you hire a freelancer or contract with an agency will also impact the developer cost, as agencies tend to markup the per hour rate in order to make profit on top of what they pay developers.
On average, a quality Magento developer can cost anywhere from $70 to $150 per hour.
While you may have a budget to adhere to for your store, avoid hiring a Magento developer based on cost alone. What you gain in savings you’ll sacrifice in another area. Think of the trifecta of Fast, Good, and Cheap.
You can’t have all three.
Creating a Job Post for a Magento Developer
If you’re planning to make a job post to find candidates, it’s important to include the most pertinent details and communicate needs and expectations. This will help weed out a lot of the bids from inexperienced developers.
Most importantly, serious developers avoid projects that lack details of the actual project. They don’t want to waste time bidding on a project with unclear details only to find out hours later in a back and forth message that they’re not a fit for your project or it’s something they don’t want to work on.
When creating a job post, keep these tips in mind:
Include details about your brand and who you are
Define the basic scope of your project as a project summary so developers have a clear understanding of what you want delivered
If you’re filling a full-time role, list all the job duties your developer will be required to handle
Include one or more examples that represent what you have in mind
Make a note that relevant samples or portfolio elements are required
Describe your ideal candidate including technical expertise. This is a good place to define the personality you think would be a good fit for your company culture
It’s Time to Find the Right Magento Developer
With the information and tips above, you should be able to find plenty of Magento developers.
Now the bad news: finding a good Magento Developer takes work and finding an amazing Magento developer is even harder.
It’s a complex platform, so you want to take the time to find the right balance of professionalism, skill, talent, and passion. Even if you have a time sensitive project, don’t rush the selection process. Follow our guide here to ensure you connect with the best Magento developer who can meet your needs.
Not ready to hire a Magento developer just yet? Consider using a tool like the Shogun Page Builder extension for Magento. Our app provides a simple drag-and-drop interface with all the elements you need to create dynamic, engaging, and high-converting pages.
A complete library of page templates makes it easy to get started building. With Shogun, you can even split test your changes to continually improve page performance.
Derek is the founder of Thunder Bay Media and lover of everything related to content writing and copywriting. He has 15+ years of copywriting, content writing, and digital marketing experience and is a featured guest blogger published by more than 30 marketing publications.