How to Recognize an Experienced Web Developer Over an Amateur

How to Recognize an Experienced Web Developer Over an Amateur

20 Apr 2020


Michael Signal

It’s time to improve your business’ online presence, but you need to hire an experienced web developer first. This is the person who will create the digital face of your company and enable your growth. To say it’s important to get this hire right is an understatement.

You need someone with a depth of knowledge who can help you create the digital solutions you need. Someone who has a vision, and a plan, and delivers on time and budget. But there are hundreds of thousands of web developers in Sydney and surrounding areas.

How can you spot that experienced web developer over an amateur trying to play the part? We have several tips to help with the selection process.

Experienced web developers showcase a certain set of skills over amateur web developers. It’s important to know what to look for to hire the best fit for your position or project.

Industry Investment

No, this doesn’t have to do with how much money they paid to go to college. What industry investment means is how invested they are with their craft. There are two good ways to get a sense of this:

  • Their Portfolio: Someone who has been in the industry awhile will be some sort of a portfolio to show. But it’s important to know that not all projects may be in the portfolio due to client NDAs, so this shouldn’t be a tell-all in the hiring process. A web developer profile, however, gives you a great idea of their style.
  • Pro-bono Work: Oftentimes experienced web developers will be integrated with open-source projects or have a story to tell about experimenting with programs, languages, and other frameworks. Experienced web developers are continually learning and the good ones have a mindset to keep doing so.

Dig Into Technical Expertise

If you aren’t a technical person, you might reach out to your network to see if you have a knowledgeable developer who can assist you with this part of the interview. The technical screening portion of the interview should be specific to the programming language you are hiring for.  Here are several technical interview questions and answers from experts: JavaScript, PHP, and iOS.

Give Them a Project

If they are doing seemingly well this far in, you should give them a small non-critical project. This will allow you to see how efficient the candidate is in delivering the end project and how clean the code is. An amateur web developer will usually have unoptimized, buggy code compared to their experienced counterparts.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Beyond technical questions, it is important to ask open-ended interview questions to web developers. This will allow you to get a better understanding of soft skills, time management, problem management, and other important qualities.

Examples of open-ended questions: 

  • When different people are editing the same data, how do you manage conflict within the application? 
  • Can you explain one project you worked on and the approach you took?
  • Name a website that bothers you. Why and what would you do to fix it?

Let Them Talk

After you ask your questions and explain your position or project, let the developer take the floor. A good web developer should have questions to ask. If they don’t set them free now. The number one reason for project breakdown is miscommunication and there is no way you were able to convey the full extent of the job without any back and forth. 

One skill of a great web developer is being able to ask the right questions. A developer with experience will be able to see the bigger picture and won’t get hung up on the specifics. An experienced developer also knows that the best solution is not always the solution you placed in front of them- let them talk through that with you.

Experienced Web Developers Go Quick

If you are hiring a web developer, don’t wait to make an offer to the right candidate. Web developers in Sydney are in demand and might not be available for long. 

Contact us to discuss your next web development project.


Michael is the creative brains of the company and he leads the UX and UI team at EB Pearls. He has experience of over 20 years in interaction design and have designed digital products for Fortune 50 companies all over the world.

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