Web Development

Hiring Web Developers Sucks

Luke Marthinusen | May 24 2017

If you are busy hiring a developer – this article is for you.

I’ll give you the lowdown in less than 600 words, allowing you to know what to look for, how to shave hours or days off your hiring efforts, and worst-case scenario, prevent you from actually hiring the wrong developer.

The major hurdle for most people hiring web developers is they are not developers themselves. Agencies and marketing departments require a level of development skill that can be gained within 1 – 5 years. Of course, there are the outliers, but for the sake of brevity and clarity, I will generalise here. If you hire someone with less than one year experience, you have an intern.

The following base services are required from a web developer:

  • website updates and error fixes,
  • website builds,
  • and emailers.

So, what does a base-level web developer require on his resume to get these done? And, if you need more than this out of a developer - what are the skills that are required? Let’s jump in.


The basic building blocks of a website. Knowing HTML & CSS/3 allows a developer to code emailers, make most aesthetic edits to websites, and build from scratch non-CMS based website and landing pages.


The most popular Content Management System (CMS) for building websites without a fuss. A web developer without experience in WordPress is a developer who has and will not take the time to school herself [A critical skill for any developer]. I even look for WordPress knowledge in our designers.

You need two levels here: Someone who can build a website from an existing purchased theme, and edit the aesthetic of the theme; and secondly, one who can develop a WordPress theme from a flat design, or basically from scratch.  The latter requires some PHP skills, see further down.

Photoshop or Sketch

Photoshop has for years been the go-to tool for designers to design websites. The tools have changed recently and the most forward thinking UX/UI web designers have now moved over to vector based design applications like Sketch. Web Developers need to know Photoshop at the very least and how to extrapolate designs from a Photoshop file and turn them into a website or emailer.


A framework for building websites that are mobile device responsive (websites must always work on mobile phones and tablets). A base knowledge of Bootstrap is required to edit existing Bootstrap websites and WordPress themes. A strong grasp of Bootstrap is required to develop responsive websites from scratch. A developer should have a strong grasp of this framework with 1 – 2 years web development experience. If they don’t have this skill at two years, they are not a career developer.

So at this point - between knowing basic Bootstrap and a comprehensive grasp of Bootstrap - we depart into skillsets that set the average or young web developer apart from a good or even great developer.


A JavaScript library that allows web developers to add animations, advanced menus, forms and all the sexy things we like about modern websites pushing the boundaries of design and function.


CMS based websites are held together with a database housed in MySQL. Building advanced functions in CMS based websites require a good knowledge of databasing in MySQL.


A server side language that forms the backbone of many CMS based websites, including WordPress.

PHP is the first port of call to any web developer wanting to start creating web apps, or edit CMS based websites like WordPress, and to move beyond being just a brochure website. Further applications could be gathering data, making basic computations, and editing modules or WordPress plugins.

From here on, web developers can explore a myriad of tools to enhance their creations. The list of tools is massive and won't be covered in this article, however, the following can be particularly useful: Ruby, Angular, NodeJS, Java, Python, C++, C, Shell, C#, Objective C, Perl.

To brush up on your 'web development speak' a little more before you start interviewing, read our article on important web development terms.

Lastly, like any new recruit, check references and thoroughly inspect their portfolio of work.

Good luck with your hiring, digital marketing job search and career development if you are a web developer!

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