Hire Web Developers: Should You Choose Freelancers or Contractors?

Trung Tran

Trung Tran | 16/06/2023

Hire Web Developers: Should You Choose Freelancers or Contractors?

Websites are of paramount importance for various activities such as online marketing, sales, customer service, and more. Your own website is nothing less than your business presence in the digital world. Therefore, it is essential to invest in the right resources and technologies for developing an effective website. Manpower is the most critical factor in driving the web project toward success.

Digital transformation and technological advancement have enabled the whole wide world to be seamlessly connected, opening the opportunities to hire web developers from any part of the world. For example, hiring IT professionals or outsourcing to Vietnam are on the rise. As such, tech companies and business owners have more choices when it comes to sourcing talented web developers. They can choose to build a full-fledged team working onsite at their office or collaborate with remote web developers. Plus, businesses can build a full-fledged team internally, hire a freelance web developer, or outsource to a contractor pool.

Each hiring option comes with pros and cons based on the specific needs and conditions of different employers or projects. Therefore, the journey to the right web developer begins with a thorough assessment of your own needs.

In this article, you are empowered to pull the entire hiring process off by the influx of basic yet essential insights about web developers. And above all, you get to decide whether you want to hire a freelancer or outsource your requirements to software development companies.

What Is Web Development?

For novices or those unfamiliar with the concept of web development, it refers to the work of designing and building web pages. The development process of functional websites includes a number of tasks, ranging from writing code, creating visuals and graphics (User interface and user experience design), producing content, integrating features and functionality, testing and debugging, and launching.

There are two main areas of a web development project: Front-end (client side) and back-end (server side). Front-end development focuses on the visual aspects and user interactions, while back-end development deals with the web servers and databases that store and manage data.

Front-end Development

Also known as client-side development, this involves creating the visual elements and user interface (UI) of a web page or web application. Front-end developers work with programming languages commonly used for web and mobile app development, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, to design the layout, appearance, and interactivity of the site. The ultimate goal is to impress end-users with user-friendly, responsive web design on the client browser across different devices.

Back-end Development

In website architecture, the back end is vital in ensuring the website functions smoothly and efficiently. It handles the behind-the-scenes operations that users do not directly interact with but are essential for the website’s overall performance and functionality.

The back end is the process of building and maintaining the server-side logic, databases, and infrastructure that power a website or web application. The back-end development process is tasked with managing data storage, processing user requests, and facilitating communication between the front end (UI) and the web server.

What Are Skills & Qualifications Required from a Web Developer?

What Are Skills & Qualifications Required from a Web Developer?

Any tech employer that would like to hire web developers of the best quality needs to gain an in-depth understanding of the responsibilities and requirements of such a software engineer. This is a must to decide on your hiring requirements and faultlessly convert them into a job description (JD) that is informative yet compelling enough for your potential candidates.

Simply put, website developers are professionals whose technical expertise ranges from designing and building to maintaining web-based online platforms from start to finish. The web development process is a complex one and requires professionals to have extensive knowledge in coding languages, object-oriented programming (OOP), software development life cycle (SDLC), database systems, data structures, UI/UX design, and other technologies to ensure success.

Experienced web developers need to be well-versed in different coding languages and the technical know-how that is required for building web applications and pages. They should also have a set of project management and soft skills that allow them to work collaboratively and productively in a full-fledged website development team.

Based on the development areas, web professionals are separated into different roles tasked with specific responsibilities; thus, they must possess a distinct set of skills and qualifications for each role.

Here is a glimpse of different web developer types and their corresponding skills and qualifications, which will give you valuable insights for your vetting and hiring process.

Front-end Developer

As their positions suggest, front-end developers are responsible for designing and implementing the user-facing components of web and mobile applications. Their primary focus is on creating visually appealing, functional, and user-friendly interfaces to ensure a positive user experience.

They must have a strong eye for detail and an understanding of how design affects user experience (UX). Furthermore, they should possess the following technical skills:

Back-end Developer

Back-end developers are accountable for the server-side programming of a web project. They concentrate on ensuring the seamless flow of data between the front-end (user-facing) components and the back-end systems. Accordingly, they must have an in-depth understanding of server-side development processes and techniques, such as server-side scripting, web services, web application architecture, object-relational mapping (ORM), API integration, and other backend development skills. In addition to these, they should possess the following technical skills:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (PHP, Python, .NET, Java).
  • Understanding of various database systems, such as MySQL, MongoDB, and Oracle.
  • Understanding of web servers (Apache, Nginx).
  • Experience with server-side frameworks such as Node.JS or Express.
  • Knowledge of software development life cycles (Agile/Scrum).

Full-stack Developer

Full-stack web development refers to the combination of developing websites or web apps in both the front-end and back-end areas.

As the name implies, a full-stack web developer has the best of both worlds. Thereof means they are well-versed in both front-end and back-end development processes as well as have knowledge of client-side and server-side technologies as well as a basic understanding of other computing fields such as network/server administration, databases, software engineering, etc. Aside from the technical skills required for front-end and back-end development, they should also have a deep understanding of web architectures, DevOps processes, version control tools (Git), server/hosting technologies, and more.

With their comprehensive skill set, they can build complete web solutions from scratch to finish, from web designing to coding and everything in between. Additionally, they are able to optimize the user experience of a website from both technical and usability perspectives.

Overall, web development is a highly specialized profession that entails experienced developers with well-rounded skills and qualifications. Since there are distinct roles for front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers, employers should make up their minds about what they are looking for in a candidate and how they define a great web developer. Make sure they identify the right skills and qualifications of their preferred candidates and tailor the accurate job description. This will help you not only attract the right talent but also ensure you get a higher chance of onboarding the best web developers.

Hire Freelance Web Developers or Contractors: Which One Suits You Better?

Look around us; the rapid development of technology and digitalization have eliminated almost every barrier, enabling people worldwide to work and do business across borders. Now, tech and non-tech companies can outsource their needs to web development services to have their websites developed and maintained by experienced professionals. Or, they can augment their web development team by hiring freelance developers or a dedicated team through contractors.

But which one suits your needs better? Freelance and outsourcing come with disadvantages, even though their advantages are undeniable as well. Let’s break down each option and figure out the best solution for you.

Hiring Freelance Web Developers

Freelancers are a good source of manpower that business owners can leverage to boost their in-house force without going through the lengthy hiring process or bearing the burden of salaries and any relevant spending. With this option, you can have more flexibility compared to hiring full-time staff while keeping pace with the progress and productivity you want. You can increase the headcounts during the peak period and cut down when the workload is lower, as they only charge you for the work needed to be done. In this way, businesses, especially startups or low-budgeted projects, can mitigate their investments.

In brief, cost-efficiency and flexibility are two main causes leading employers to hire freelance developers to work along with their counterparts. However, one downside of this hiring method is that you can end up with an inexperienced team or individuals if you do not take time to vet their skills, qualifications, and working attitude accurately, not to mention other hassles due to the long-distance working.

Partner with Contractors for a Team of Highly Skilled Developers

Collaborating with contractors is another alternative for companies looking for web development services. With the same purpose as hiring freelancers, you can hire a full-fledged team of top-tier web developers to work on your project with the aid of a third-party outsourcing service company.

These contractors will take the responsibility of hiring, training, and onboarding the best professionals who meet your requirements. You will not only get access to experts in their specialties but also benefit from the superb quality assurance that contractors promise. That means, thanks to the third-party provider’s monitoring process and methodologies, you can have peace of mind that all web-based products delivered are reliable and compliant with your needs.

What makes this choice different or any better than freelancers? The point lies in how the team will be assembled, organized, and managed by the third-party provider. This way, you can rest assured that your outsourced team will dedicate effort to work collaboratively and produce the best possible outcomes. There will be no disconnection or delay in communications or coordination as they understand the need to remain in sync with each other and keep up with the project’s timeline. Moreover, outsourcing companies will be responsible for productivity and quality control, so they will take action whenever there are issues or needs for improvement.

On the other hand, outsourcing a web development team can be relatively more expensive than hiring freelancers due to the extra layers of management and control you get from the third-party provider. You will have to pay a certain fee for their manual labor as well as gain access to the latest technologies and tools. Nevertheless, it does not mean that outsourcing is only suitable for companies with big projects or long-term plans which are willing to invest capital in a team of full positions. There are still plenty of excellent outsourcing services that offer cost-effective options as long as you know what and who to look for.

Final Thoughts

Freelance web developers or contractors. Every option offers benefits, so each reasonably has restrictions in some aspects. Therefore, at the end of the day, the best options to hire web developers vary case by case and business by business. Your specific requirements and needs will make one choice better than another and vice versa. So, define and consider what you want and need meticulously before proceeding to staffing your project.

If you are confused about your own situation, consulting with an expert will help. Let Orient Software accompany you on this journey. We have plenty of experience in providing different types of software developers, including web professionals, for clients across borders and industries. We also offer a complete set of IT outsourcing services tailored to each and every business. So, more than anyone, we understand your concerns and can give you advice on your concerns as well as come up with proper solutions for your needs. Reach out to our consultants today.