About 9% of all online stores are built on Magento, making it one of the most popular platforms worldwide. However, Magento is tricky – to run a successful store on this complicated CMS, it requires a tech-savvy developer with extensive Magento-related experience. Thus, business-owners are keen to find the right people to support their websites.
Creating Magento projects for more than 9 years, Whidegroup has gathered many proficient developers under one roof. In this article, we’ll share some insights about how to hire a Magento developer who is both credible and reliable.
Why Do You Need to Hire a Magento Developer?
The Magento platform is particularly famous for offering a powerful and scalable structure along with possessing a rich feature set, and hosting a substantial community. However, Magento makes these advantages only available to specialists. Let’s take a look now at the benefits you can gain from hiring Magento Certified Developers for your business:
- Professional assistance – at any stage of running an e-commerce website, you may need qualified assistance. From various customizations, integrations, optimizations, or any of the many other essential Magento development services, having a professional handy can make a world of difference.
- Support and maintenance – hire a Magento developer to keep the website stable and fail-safe for a successful business operation in the long run.
- Possible future modifications – e-commerce websites have great freedom in terms of enriching their functionality through Magento extension development and implementation, as well as through various integrations and customizations – all of which can attract potential users. After you hire a Magento programmer, you can be confident that you will be able to modify the website in any way and enjoy all the benefits of the platform.
- Enhancement – the fact that your website is currently perfect doesn’t mean it will always be so. Over time it will become outdated, lack security, or become non-optimized for the latest versions of browsers. Magento Certified Developers can save you from all this headache by keeping your store up-to-date.
- Performance optimization – poor page load speed is a true source of frustration for business owners. Customers value their time and will choose to abandon the slow website instead of waiting for what feels like years until the page loads. To optimize Magento performance, reduce bounce rates, and ultimately heighten sales and profits, the key step is to hire a Magento developer.
Hire a Magento Developer: Choosing Between a Freelancer and an Agency
Currently, there’s much debate around freelancers and agencies. Some say that there’s no need to turn to digital agencies, while others argue that freelancers are dark horses, and there’s no place for a dark horse in the business world. Definitely, you can hire a Magento programmer or a few freelance Magento Certified Developers, but in our experience it is not the greatest idea. Here’s why we think this:
- Vanishing. Sounds mysterious, but it’s true – even Magento Certified Developers who work as freelancers can just disappear halfway through the project, and there’s very little you can do about it.
- Lack of team spirit. You know, even a little thing like a cup of coffee during a break is a chance to support live interaction inside the developer community, helping to create and foster an environment of mutual assistance, complete with sharing ideas and trends. So when you hire a Magento developer deprived of such an environment, you limit your website development by current developer knowledge. There is no place for them to learn about new creative solutions and innovative approaches.
- Management issue. Once you hire a Magento developer, that is only half the battle. Managing a developer is rarely a piece of cake. It requires time, technical proficiency, and a strong stomach. A good project manager (as provided by the digital agency) makes the development process run much smoother and seamlessly.
Hire a Magento Developer Efficiently: Project Outline Creation
No matter if you hire a Magento developer with large working experience, but who doesn’t have a Magento Certification, or you hire a Certified Magento Developer, the more accurately you define your requirements and constraints, the better results you’ll obtain. Thanks to years of hiring Magento developers for Whidegroup, we can confidently say that the best way is to structure them in a project outline document.
Below you can see the structure of the project outline which we use to successfully hire a Magento programmer:
Provide clear and easy-to-measure goals that you want to achieve, while also describing the final result you expect to obtain after you hire a Magento developer. It can be a list of the features that need to be implemented, specific support services, or a list of necessary integrations.
Be realistic and set an adequate budget. To do this, you can look through different job-posts created by business owners, find the projects most similar to yours, and check their budgets. Don’t fall for low price strategies and don’t forget that hiring a professional won’t necessarily be cheap – you get what you pay for. Usually you will pay more if you hire a Magento Certified Developer compared to other developers.
Clearly outline the project deadline. The issue to consider is that many developers work at their own pace, and it’s necessary to specify the rules of the game from the very beginning.
Define the most comfortable and appropriate payment schedule that works for you and reflect it in the brief. Before you hire a Magento programmer, determine parameters such as payment frequency and payment day.
Specify the desired software for communication. For example, we prefer to use Skype and Slack, but you’re welcome to use any messaging platform.
Standard response time policy
Establish a response time which should clarify the period during which a developer must respond in the workplace and while being out of the office. Do you want the developer to respond to urgent emails within one hour? Or if you’re not in a rush, can it wait until the next working day? In any case, specify these expectations in the brief.
Imagine you hire a Magento developer who completes the project and finishes cooperation with you right away. Think thoroughly whether you need support after the project is done. If yes, note that the best support is normally performed by the specialists who were primarily engaged in the development process. This is why it’s a good idea to include support terms in the brief.
Strive to keep the document simple, avoid complex figures of speech, and be honest and straightforward. It’s a good idea to read it several times after completion and make any necessary corrections.
Sources to Hire a Magento Developer
With a detailed and well-written brief in hand, you’re ready to hire a Magento developer. We consider the following sources as the most trustworthy to look for a proper candidate:
The first source is your personal professional network. Word of mouth is still strong, so it’s a good idea to tell your partners, colleagues, and even just acquaintances in the e-commerce sphere that you plan to hire a Magento developer and ask whether they can recommend any Magento developers or teams.
The next way to find a developer is to visit the Magento Partner Community – this community unites the best Magento digital agencies around the world. In case you’re looking to hire a Certified Magento Developer – you can trust the Magento Certification Directory, which verifies that each person there has successfully passed a comprehensive Magento test.
However, you should know that obtaining a Magento partnership is not all that difficult to achieve – in fact, applicants just go through a simple and straightforward process to get it, and then they have to pay an annual partner fee. The same thing goes with the certification. If you have a strong vision you only need to hire a Magento Certified Developer to guarantee success of your e-commerce business, we hasten to assure you that this is not necessarily the case. However, it definitely merits attention.
You may also find specialized websites for general freelance jobs, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, DesignRush etc. Such websites have an impressive database, and allow you to hire a Magento developer easier. Just post a job there and get 20-100 people interested in your project!
While planning to hire a Magento programmer, it’s impossible to pass over social networks. You can refer to the most popular ones, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Create an attractive post saying you want to hire a Magento developer, and use hashtags like #Magento or #MagentoJobs, which would be especially perfect for Twitter. For Facebook and LinkedIn, it would be effective to search an applicant by explicitly specifying the position. You can use such search requests as Magento Developer, Magento Specialist, Magento Engineer and so on.
And the last, but not the least source, is specialized events. It is a proper place to meet a good specialist and hire a Magento developer. Currently, there are a variety of them, and you’re welcome to choose from Magento-focused events (Meet Magento, Magento Live, Magento Imagine), e-commerce events (eTail, eCommerce Expo, Paris Retail Week), and general e-commerce software development events (WebSummit, CeBIT, IPExpo).
At Whidegroup, we use local job-boards and word of mouth to hire a Magento developer to our team. Due to our multi-year presence in the e-commerce development industry, we’ve built a strong and robust network of Magento Certified Developers, which works in our favor. Regarding job-boards – we also find them effective in terms of local search.
Soft and Hard Skills Verification
Right after an appropriate candidate is obtained and you’re ready to hire a Magento developer, it’s time to move to the skills verification. Skills are mainly divided into two groups – hard skills and soft ones. Hard skills are the teachable abilities that can be measured or estimated in any way – certificates in various areas, proficiency in foreign languages, knowledge of programming languages, etc. Soft skills define how comfortable your interactions will be. The most common soft skills are flexibility, communication skills, teamwork and time-management.
The most popular way to verify the developer’s skills is to ask them to pass a test assignment or an interview. We strongly recommend that you follow good practices for a test assignment and respect the candidate’s time by ensuring that it takes less than three hours to complete a test. If the test assignment requires more time for completion – it should be paid.
Before you compose a test assignment for your candidate to hire a Magento developer who perfectly meets your requirements, review the list of the most sought-after hard skills for Magento programmers:
Knowledge of programming languages
Strong expertise in a Magento platform
It’s fairly obvious that a Magento developer should possess solid competence in Magento, its versions and editions. Knowledge of Magento architecture, its features and limitations for each Magento edition is a must to provide relevant solutions and develop custom logic that will meet project needs fully.
E-commerce integrations knowledge
Integrations are an essential part of any online store: shipping services, payment gateways, CMSs, ERPs, CRMs, etc. When you hire a Magento programmer with long development experience, expect strong knowledge working with APIs and setting connections between Magento and 3rd party solutions, as well as working with the most popular Magento extensions on the market.
Having SEO knowledge and skills is crucial for Magento developers to create search engine-friendly websites. By implementing SEO best practices, Magento sites can achieve higher rankings in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and attract valuable organic traffic. Magento Certified Developers usually have a more profound understanding in this area.
Furthermore, having a developer who possesses expertise in SEO provides an added advantage. With such proficiency, the developer can independently optimize the website’s SEO performance, eliminating the need for heavy reliance on a separate marketing or SEO team. This autonomy can lead to more efficient and effective SEO strategies, ultimately contributing to the success of the Magento site.
You should take into account the fact that every specialist is not just a compilation of talents, skills, and expertise. It’s an individual you’ll cooperate with. What personal qualities are needed for a specialist? It’s up to you. As for us, we expect the following soft skills from an applicant: discipline, time management, creativity, good communication and understanding skills, multitasking, and problem-solving. We think these skills are necessary and sufficient for the candidate to be effective and to foster mutual cooperation.
Hire a Magento Developer: Whidegroup’s Methodology
After years in the industry Whidegroup has worked out our own methodology to verify both hard and soft skills of a candidate we potentially consider to hire as a Magento programmer. Before we meet the candidate personally, we pay great attention to their previous experience, inspecting their LinkedIn profile, contacting their previous clients if possible, and exploring their portfolio. We follow the trend among developers to design their portfolio as a website. It is convenient because it allows them to demonstrate their experience interactively. The points that should be included in their portfolio are:
- List of the technologies the applicant works with and their level of proficiency with each of them.
- List of the projects completed, ideally sorted by the technologies applied.
- Short description of each project – link to the live website, role and responsibilities on the project, highlight of the most interesting tasks/features, and route of their realization.
Another good option to verify the practical experience before you hire a Magento developer is reviewing their Github profile, which allows for checking the code directly, watching the specialist’s evolution over time, and estimating adherence to coding standards, according to Magento’s good practices.
After reviewing the portfolio, we initiate an interview with the specialist, during which we estimate soft skills and talk about their previous experience. Our purpose is detecting areas in which the candidate hasn’t worked yet. After defining these areas, we ask an applicant to do a task that refers to these areas with a limited time set (normally 8-9 hours). In such a way, we can estimate the candidate’s ability to work independently and solve problems right before we hire a Magento developer.
During the interview, we also discuss theoretical knowledge of the Magento platform. The questions that are raised in the discussion often involve various areas of Magento expertise. Below, you can find some of our favorite questions.
- 1. Demonstrate how to design complex solutions using the plugin’s life cycle.
- 2. How do multiple plugins interact, and how can their execution order be controlled?
- 3. How do you debug a plugin if it doesn’t work?
- 4. Identify strengths and weaknesses of plugins.
- 5. What are the limitations of using plugins for customization? In which cases should plugins be avoided?
- 1. Describe cache types and the tools used to manage caches.
- 2. How do you add dynamic content to pages served from the full page cache?
- 3. Describe how to operate with cache clearing.
- 4. How would you clean the cache? In which case would you refresh cache/flash cache storage?
- 5. Describe how to clear the cache programmatically. What mechanisms are available for clearing all or part of the cache?
- 1. When would you create a new theme?
- 2. How do you define theme hierarchy for your project?
- 3. How do you identify which exact theme file is used in different situations?
- 4. How can you override native files?
Layout and XML:
- 1. How do you use layout XML directives in your customizations?
- 2. Describe how to create a new layout XML file.
- 3. Describe how to pass variables from layout to block.
Products and products types:
- 1. How would you obtain a product of a specific type?
- 2. What tools (in general) does a product type model provide?
- 3. What additional functionality is available for each of the different product types?
- 1. Describe how to modify the price calculation process in the shopping cart.
- 2. Describe how to implement shopping cart rules.
- 3. Describe the difference in the behavior of various product types in the shopping cart.
Upon reviewing the results of the interview and test assignment, we make a decision about a job offer for a particular applicant. Once we hire a Magento programmer, we offer a trial period from two weeks and up to 90 days.
It’s a challenging task to find a real professional that provides excellent Magento development services. You should remember that the right person to collaborate with will become your trustworthy partner for years. So take your time to put in the list of requirements for the developer, conduct a few interviews to define soft and hard skills of the candidate, and understand whether you are comfortable to deal with this exact person before you come up with the decision to hire a Magento developer.
Remember that Magento Certified Developers are not a guarantee of the project success. Technical background, relevant experience in your business niche, and ability to find non-trivial solutions that work perfectly for your e-commerce business are much more important.
We hope now you have a clear understanding of how to hire a Magento developer. In case you have any questions – you’re welcome to drop us a line. Good luck!