“Wait… Isn’t the app developer the same as the app designer?”

“What’s the difference between Wireframe and UX?”

Running a mobile app development company, we have heard these phrases one too many times.

Therefore, we will be explaining in details the roles inside of a mobile app development firm. This will include the title, their job scope, and also some overlaps between them.

We will also touch on how different companies might structure these roles differently. 

Let’s start off with the basics. 

The Sales Team…

Sales teams should be the first persons that you will face as an app development client. They will be the ones walking you through the process, selling the app developers of their companies, showing off the portfolios.

They will also be the one gathering the requirements of your mobile app, generating a quotation and submitting the quotation to you for reference and consideration.

Usually, salespeople in mobile app companies are not very technically savvy. Salespeople are more business savvy which helps improve their results in their jobs.

You might also be wondering… 

How can I make sure that these salespeople are proposing the best solution for me?

Well, in many app companies, we have someone called:

App Consultants

These are the people who are very experienced in the mobile app development industry. App consultants contribute to the idea of the mobile app by providing valuable feedback.

DO TAKE NOTE.

You do not necessarily have to listen to the app consultants, as you might have domain information that the app consultant does not have. 

For clients that don’t already have a mobile app concept in mind, app consultants can be very helpful. They are able to craft out a mobile app requirement that is suitable for your business. 

As compared to app developers, app consultants are semi-technical and also business-driven. They know the economics of a mobile app and how to position the app for success. 

They know things such as monetisation strategies, growth strategy, exit strategies and many other ideas that are important for a mobile app to have.

Now, after you have crafted the mobile app spec, you are ready to move on to the next step of your mobile app development journey.

Finance

After you have signed the quotation that is offered to you by the sales team, the finance will then lead to send you an invoice for your advance payment! 

Although this might seem like a “painful” step. However, I believe that a good mobile app development company will be able to make this expense into an investment with good returns.

The finance department will be the ones managing the invoice and confirming the payments. They will also be the ones who chase for payments should there be any delays in the payment.

Project Manager

In every project, in order to keep the projects in the timeline, we will have to assign a mobile app development project manager in the project. This person will be in charge of the overall delivery of the project. 

This is to ensure that the project cost will not exceed the project value and also to keep within the expected timeline of the client. 

Project managers are the ones who will keep the client updated on the latest update of the mobile app. For example, if there is a new update in the app, it is the project manger’s role to keep the client updated.

Should there be any required information from the client, the project manager is also in charge of helping the client get the information ready for deployment or the next steps.

Without the project manager’s help, the project might delay for a very long time without best management practices. This is because developers themselves often do not have the natural push to get projects finished quickly.

UI Designer

A UI designer’s role will be to design the app accordingly to the customer’s requirements. At times, clients will provide their preferred colours or corporate identity for us to follow. This will help us with the design journey. 

Also, customers might also provide us with example apps that can help us app developers know what is their preference in terms of app development. 

Often, UI designers also help with the wireframe of the mobile app so that we know what screens to do the designing on.

After designs are completed, UX designers will also play a part to ensure that the mobile app is built suitable for the target market. In other words, we have to ensure that not just user interface is optimised, but also user experience is also at its best.

UX Designer

A UX designer will be to make sure that the usability of the mobile app is at optimal levels. Meaning, we have to place elements are very reachable places.

Without the use of UX designers, an app might look good but might be inconvenient for the user to use and navigate around the app.

UX designers can also increase the spending on the app by placing certain elements such as promo codes at the right places. 

UX designers are strong in user-centred design instead of just mobile app aesthetics design. They are good at allowing mobile app users to have a pleasant time utilizing the app.

App Developer

The app developer is the one that brings the mobile app from idea to reality. The app developer’s job will be to look at the designs that are provided by the UI/UX designer and converting those screens into code.

An app developer should also work on communicating with the backend developer in order to understand where he/she should pull or push data to or from.

App developers are skilled in the preferred app development framework. They are able to call APIs, manipulate and play around with data, design screens, make animations work and many other cool things in the mobile app. 

However, the app developer itself without the backend developer will not be able to save data and get data from the databases.

Therefore, we will need:

Backend Developer

A backend developer is the one who designs the database structure for the app. For best practices, the backend developer should know database normalisation techniques. This will ensure that the database is in the quickest and most effective form. 

Moreover, the backend developer should also be able to build APIs for the app developer to communicate with. APIs are Application Progrmaming Interface which allows mobile apps, websites and any other systems to communicate with a single database. 

Some examples of backend developers’ stack are LAMP Stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), MEAN Stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, Node.js) or MERN Stack (MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, Node.js) or Django+PostgreSQL. These are all powerful frameworks with different benefits of its own.

We make use of APIs to transmit data.

Web Developer

More often than not, every mobile app is to have an admin panel. Admin panels are commonly built on websites so that they are accessible anywhere, any device.

Therefore, a web developer is also needed in app development projects. They are in charge of integrating the API built by the backend developers and showing in the frontend the correct content. 

Most of the times, they will have to visualise the data so that the admin of the app can easily get access to statistics that are required. 

A web developer’s requirement is to understand HTML, CSS, JS. In addition, a preferred web development framework, such as CodeIgnitor or Express.js.

Quality Assurance (Tester)

Quality Assurance personnel, also called the mobile app testers, are to test the development of the app.

Out of the many QA frameworks out there, the tester can choose one that he or she is comfortable with. For example, the most common testing methodology now is situational testing.

We will have a list of all the functions in the mobile app that are available. 

Something called a QA checklist will be completed by the QA person. All features will be tested and then comments along with Accepted/Rejected will be indicated.

If something is not approved, it has to go back to the respective app developer for bug fixing. 

Until everything has passed the QA checklist, then we can move on to the next step.

Conclusion

Here are the main roles in a mobile app development company. In some agencies, they are using full-stack developers. Meaning it is a “bao-ga-liao” developer that can do everything from design, development, to testing. Full Stack is a very common way to do things although it is not the best.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding mobile app development!