As always with any nuanced and thoughtful discussion, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” It depends on how you go about building an app. At the end of the day, you will need to have some familiarity with software and programming to get the best results and have the best experience creating a custom website or app. Let’s break it down by domain and how you can divide up the responsibilities.
Areas of Expertise
All custom web software is going to touch on a few different domains. The first thing you will need to be familiar with is graphic design for apps and websites. That will include understanding user experience and user interface, which we’ve talked about here and here. Next will be understanding backend and frontend development. Frontend development implements the designs; backend development makes the application work, communicates with servers, manages the information that passes through the application. And finally, you will need to be familiar with systems administration, which includes project infrastructure, servers, code deployments and security.
Degree of Responsibility
So obviously the highest degree of responsibility is building the app from scratch yourself. With this strategy you will have to be an expert not only in the business requirements of the app, the marketing strategy for it, but also completely capable of designing, programming, and maintaining it. This is often not the right fit for most project. A middle amount of responsibility is hiring the staff yourself, whether that means independent contractors or actual employees. In this case, you will need to know enough to vet each team member. You will need to know enough to know if the graphic designer is capable. You will need to know enough to know if your programmers are following standards. You will need to know enough to know if your DevOps or SysAdmin are properly securing and deploying your code. The third option is to use a software firm. In this case, you still need to know enough to be able to engage in conversations about the technical decisions for your app or website, but you no longer need to be able to test programmers and assess their skills. You can trust the firm to vet team members for you. We have talked about this more extensively here.
You will always need to know “enough to be dangerous” as the saying goes, but having strategic partners in your journey will always help. If you feel like Bixly could be that right partner for your project, set up a free consultation meeting today!