Hiring an overseas app or mobile game developer feels like a risk. It’s far too easy for people to pretend that they’re something they’re not online, and the sheer amount of distance between you and the developer can feel prohibitory when it comes to the idea of creating an effective working relationship. The truth is that the best developer is the best developer, regardless of where (s)he is located. If you want to hire an overseas developer but want to avoid pitfalls, here are some precautions you can take:
1. Ask to look at a portfolio. Many developers will offer this to you off the bat, but if one does not, do not hesitate to ask for it. While the portfolio is not the be-all, end-all when it comes to what a developer can and cannot do, it is an excellent indication of his/her skillset and working ability. Not all developers will be able to show you their entire portfolio of projects (more under point 4, below).
2. Contact their references. Every developer should also provide you with the names and contact information of people who can vouch for their skills and abilities. This is one of the best ways to make sure that your app is placed in the right hands. If you contact other companies and individuals to ask about their experience with a particular developer and they vouch for his or her work ethic and the quality of his results, you know that you are likely hiring someone you can trust. If this is a developer’s first big project or first contract project, they might not have any references to share–you have to decide whether you are okay with this.
3. Ask for a paid sample. Asking for a free sample of work from a professional is bad form and unrealistic. However, being willing to pay for a sample piece of coding, like a widget or the very beginnings of your app, can help you determine whether or not the developer is being truthful about his or her skills and abilities. It’s always better having a thorough understanding upfront, rather than hoping and praying that the developer has the skillset you require, after you’ve already signed the contract and paid them.
4. Pay attention to how the talk about past projects. It’s common for developers to sign a non-disclosure contract (NDA) before they begin working on a project. NDAs limit what information can be discussed with individual both inside and outside of the project. If the developer speaks freely about past projects that are obviously not supposed to be discussed openly, that person is not very likely to keep your ideas secret and safe once your project is finished. You only want to work with people that respect the NDAs and copyright contracts that they have signed.
5. Give information only on a need to know basis. If there is information about your app or game that the developer does not really need to know, why offer it up? Leaving out story elements from a game that are not necessary for the developer to understand fully (especially those that would prevent him from being able to steal the entire story and sell it to another developer or use it himself) or specific functions of the app, can be a great way to protect the core of the idea. If there is information he doesn’t need to know, just don’t tell him that information.
Hiring a programmer overseas doesn’t have to be dangerous and it doesn’t have to be risky. Taking these precautions can help you protect your idea and ensure that you find someone who has the right skills, at the right price for your needs.