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Dev Shop: How to Choose Wisely and Hire the Best One – 2024 Update

What to watch out for when selecting a dev shop and what other options exist for developing a software project

Dev Shop
For most businesses today, the first interaction potential clients have with them is through an online search and a visit to their company website. And because everyone knows that first impressions are lasting ones, it is important that your business website be as well-designed, responsive, and client-centric as possible. This highlights the need for excellent web development services provided by so-called dev (web development) shops.

What is a web development shop?

A web development shop (web development agency or dev shop) is a company whose key services include building new web applications or improving existing ones for external clients. Dev shops often offer additional non-tech services, such as SEO, sales, branding, support, copywriting, marketing, etc.
As a rule, a web development shop is more agile than regular software companies. They can work remotely and do not only focus on one client or one main product at a time, but are rather able deliver software solutions for numerous clients, including startups. A standard development company usually works under significant time pressure and specializes in one key industry. Dev shops, on the other hand, take more time to approach a problem and better understand the business; that is why they can build software from scratch for clients from various industries.

Michael Seibel, CEO and Partner at Y Combinator gives his opinion on using development shops to build your startup.

Dev shops: how do they operate?

A web development shop usually consists of an owner (usually with a technical background) and a team of remote programmers, located all around the world. Since dev shops typically work on more than one project simultaneously, it may happen that on the same day an engineer will perform various tasks for different projects such as coding, creating documentation, website design, or deployment.
A characteristic feature of dev shops is that they usually work according to agile methodologies. Moreover, their vast networks of experienced IT contractors allow them to quickly scale up teams when the number of new clients increases.

How much does it cost to hire a web development shop?

A minimum reasonable investment for a project prototype is $10,000, while the price for a strong MVP usually ranges between $15,000 and $35,000, depending on system complexity. The cost of complete web apps for enterprises may reach $100,000 or more (different dev shops charge different rates).
With so many dev shops on the market, however, how can you make sure you pick the right one to build your software?

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Tips on choosing the right web development shop

From their business skills and proven success to their technical know-how and coding prowess, no aspect should be taken too lightly when choosing the right dev shop for your needs. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

Opinions on the internet

The online reputation of a dev shop can tell you a lot about their company culture and how they work. Review their website and social media pages, as well as the reviews left on these and other websites.
Does their website look good? Is this the type of design you want for your own? Does it have loading problems? Is it navigable? Are they proficient in design development? What about web development? How does it perform on mobile devices? The design of the company’s own website, as well as their social media presence, will give you insight into whether this development agency is suited for projects similar to yours, and whether it is worth undertaking a cooperation with this particular dev shop.

Completed projects, current and previous clients

You can learn more about the specialization of a web development shop by checking their project portfolio and client list. These will show their strong points, their effectiveness, and allow for you to see if their body of work is aligned with what you need. In most cases, IT companies share their completed projects on their website, which often include specifics about which problems they addressed and how. This will help you evaluate the functionality and usability of their builds, and to understand if the web development agency can fulfil your requirements. Moreover, you will gain insights into the company’s experience in a particular area.

Previous work experience of the developers

A dev shop is only as good as its team members. As such, you will also want to ask about the previous work experience and expertise of the developers who will work on your project. In particular, see if their knowledge of web development and design development technologies is in line with your project requirements. The more up-to-date they are about the current web design trends, technologies, and solutions, the better they can deliver a solution that works for your needs and satisfies your clients.
image From business skills and proven success to technical know-how and coding
prowess, no aspect should be taken too lightly when choosing the right dev shop for your needs.

Communication and organizational skills

The right web development shop will end up being a collaborative partner, rather than just a team you are giving orders to. Without needing prompts from your side, a good dev shop will strive to help throughout every stage of the development project.
They listen, understand, and analyze the goals of your business, and then propose solutions for a well-designed, functional website. You will likely encounter issues along the way, so it is also important that they are able to deal with whatever is thrown at them. Moreover, a good web development shop should be able to keep an open line of communication with your team about the progress of the project and any concerns or hurdles they come across during the build.
Only such an approach on the part of a dev shop can ensure a seamless web development process.

Cross-industry expertise

Over the years, we've accumulated expertise in building software and conducting recruitment processes for various domains. Below are six industries in which we have particularly strong knowledge.









Financial services,
hedge funds


Media &

Knowledge of the latest programming trends

Your website is not just a marketing tool, but also a high quality tool that helps convert visitors into potential clients (this is especially true if you are in the e-commerce sector). For this, you need to make sure that the dev shop you are considering is up-to-date on the latest programming, internet marketing, and web design trends. This shows you that app development is not all about code and structure, but also includes aspects of marketing and client journeys.
It is another good sign if the given web development shop has the ability to integrate all third party systems into your new website, especially if you want the new website to be built around existing systems. Be it Salesforce, MailChimp, or some other bespoke technology, the right team will be able to handle seamless work integration across different platforms.

Competitive price

Great web development services are not cheap. Developers spend years honing the skills that allow them to create websites that look good, function well, and convert visitors into clients. Working with a development shop offering budget deals will almost always end up with you paying extra for another team to fix things later on. In most cases, you truly do get what you pay for; if you want a great website, prepare to come up with a reasonable budget for it.

Awareness and knowledge of security aspects

The shift from ‘traditional’ to digital means that risks are also going digital. A reliable web development shop will have great awareness and knowledge of security aspects, especially when it comes to collecting and storing client information. They will have security integrated throughout the website building process because they know that a website clean-up is more expensive than protection.

Passionate about their job

Web developers are passionate people. They know their craft down to the shortest code. This professionalism should show in the way they behave, communicate, and perform. Beyond just their technical skills, you need a team that you can get along with because you will be entering into a partnership with them.
This also means they should be able to see the big picture and possess non-tech skills as well. They can create a website that not only looks great for business clients but also functions seamlessly for clients and your team, too. Passionate developers will always keep the backend aspects of the project in mind, making sure the site is user-friendly for your team as well.
image Web developers are passionate people. They know their craft down to the shortest code. This professionalism should show in the way they behave, communicate, and perform.

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A web development company or your own in-house developers?

There is also the question of whether to work with your own in-house team of developers or work instead with a dev shop. Here are some things to keep in mind when making a decision:

Access to a talent pool that you might not have in-house

Programmers often have specializations. Your engineers might not have the right skills and technical knowledge needed for a given project. In this case, it is better to hire a dev shop that has developers with the specific skills your project requires.

You can choose top-notch developers to work for you

A reliable web development shop usually presents you with a few developers who can work for your project, and you select the ones that you find most suitable. You can make sure that only the best of the best will work with you. It is not only a matter of choosing the ones with the longest list of achievements and tech skills, but the ones who you can collaborate with most effectively.

A web development company can better manage the team

Because they built their team from the ground up, a web development shop has greater expertise and experience in managing a team of programmers. They can even provide you with a professional Project Manager if you do not have one. This will ensure better software development outcomes and satisfied clients.

Less bureaucracy in managing the people

Another great thing about hiring a web development team is you are basically outsourcing the work, which means you do not need to go through individual hiring processes. You do not need to handle all the paperwork related to hiring people, which is a big advantage especially if you are a small business. What’s more, you also do not have to trouble yourself in managing payroll or paid time off for employees, as the development shop does it for you.

It is cheaper to outsource

In most web development work, going local
is not the best way to go. In terms of working with web developers, hiring in-house developers in the US is more expensive than working with a team of quality developers from a dev shop in Europe.

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A web development shop or a freelancer?​

There are a lot of freelance web developers who can offer the same services that a web development shop offers, but without the high price tag. However, this does not necessarily mean they are the better option. More often than not, it is better to choose a development shop even though they cost more due to the following reasons:

Faster project kickoff

A reliable web development agency offers you pre-screened candidates that you can hire for your project. Using such dev shop services is much faster than doing your own recruitment process from scratch. You do not have to go through the extended process of interviewing freelancers one-by-one and negotiating the work details of the project with each of them.

Easier scalability

With a web development shop, there is a wider room to operate if you need to dynamically scale up or down. In case you need a new engineer for the project, a dev shop can fill that position immediately. Working with freelancers, you have to start the whole hiring process all over again if you need additional people. That can be challenging if you run a small business.

Fewer things to manage

Coordination, communication, and managing different aspects of the project (e.g. graphic design or web design) becomes a lot easier when you work with a development shop. The company you are working with will be responsible for managing tasks between the team members. With freelancers, you have to get them in sync and updated constantly to ensure tasks are distributed properly and the timeline is being met. Such problems do not exist if you hire a web development shop.

Managing changes within the team

When the project kicks off, you will want stability throughout. When working with freelancers, there is a higher possibility of running into more speed bumps if they quit or cannot handle the tasks. With a development team from a dev shop, any concerns about personnel changes will be their responsibility.

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Meteoric pace of development with the most recent frameworks

Now let’s talk about the technology!

After knowing how and why to choose a dev shop, you also need to delve into the technologies they use to develop a software project. It is important to choose the right technology for your needs and the services that you provide. Choosing the wrong one will result in more time and financial resources being spent which eventually will result in slowing down your project’s progress. Below we have presented some of the technologies that we use at DevsData. Each web development shop should be acquainted with them.


The basic technologies used to create client sites are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. With HTML, authors describe the structure of pages using markup. The elements of the language label pieces of content such as “paragraph,” “list,” “table,” and so on. CSS is the language for describing the presentation of Web pages, including colors, layout, fonts, and general web design. It allows one to adapt the presentation to different types of devices, such as large screens, small screens, or printers.
These days, however, it is not limited to pure HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Ready-made UI components and JavaScript Frameworks are helpful, as they significantly improve application development time, performance, and interaction with users.
The most popular frontend frameworks include:


Angular is a JavaScript framework written by engineers from Google whose goal was to revolutionize frontend design in web applications. Its most recognizable feature is undoubtedly the discreet interference in the HTML attributes. The framework enables the implementation of the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern, which makes developing and testing applications less problematic. Angular has been rewritten to TypeScript, which provides greater code transparency, easier debugging, the ability to use advanced features, easier use of other tools, and much more.


Created by Facebook, the React framework has earned popularity in a short time. It is used to develop and operate the dynamic User Interface of web pages with high incoming traffic. It makes the use of a virtual DOM, or Document Object Model, and hence, the integration with any application is more straightforward. ReactJS is considered the simplest framework; it is easy to learn, provides code reusability, and is good for SEO.


Though only developed in the year 2016, this JavaScript framework has already secured its place in the market and has proven its worth by offering a variety of features. Its dual integration mode is one of the most attractive features for the creation of high-end SPA, or Single Page Application. It is much more reliable for developing cross-platform. It is small and very easy to understand, has simple integration and flexibility. Also as of recently Vue supports TypeScript.


The technologies used to create the server page are significantly different from those used for frontend solutions. The most popular languages ​​used for these purposes are Java, Python and C#. You can read more about them in this article published on Medium. Similar to the case of web design and frontend solutions, however, backend frameworks play a very important role as well.
The most popular backend frameworks include:


Spring provides a comprehensive high quality programming and configuration model for modern Java-based enterprise applications on any kind of deployment platform. A key element of Spring is infrastructural support at the application level: Spring focuses on the “plumbing” of enterprise applications so that teams can focus on application-level business logic, without unnecessary ties to specific deployment environments.


Django is a free open-source framework that supports the quick development of backend applications with minimal coding. It is one of the older web development frameworks available and is based on the Python programming language, giving it a wide audience reach.
An alternative solution is to use the Flask framework, which is classified as a micro-framework. It is very pleasant and simple to use and is ideally suited for undemanding applications.


This is a cross-platform, high-performance, open-source framework for building modern, cloud-enabled, Internet-connected apps. With ASP.NET Core, you can build web apps and services, Internet of Things (IoT) apps, and mobile backends, deploy to the cloud or on-premise and run on .NET Core.

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The most important choice when designing an application for mobile devices is: Native or Cross-platform?
When you choose native, the mobile app is being written in the system-specific language. The native approach gives us the best performance of the final products and can guarantee great user experience. On the other hand, it results in increased price and time needed for development.
Here are the 2 most popular languages for native mobile app:


Kotlin is a native programming language for the Android platform. The language first appeared in 2011 and was created by JetBrains. Kotlin is also known to be highly efficient due to its succinct and intuitive syntax. Another interesting thing is that Kotlin is 100% Java-interoperable, which allows the use of Kotlin and Java simultaneously, or at the same time.


Swift is a powerful and intuitive programming language for macOS, iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and beyond. It was presented by Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference in 2014. Since Swift is using the Objective-C runtime library, it allows the running of C, C++, Objective-C, and Kotlin within one program. Swift is friendly to new programmers. It is an industrial-quality programming language that is as expressive and enjoyable as a scripting language. Writing Swift code in a playground lets you experiment with code and see the results immediately, without the overhead of building and running an app.
The cross-platform approach has its own advantages, too. The main feature of this approach is that up to 80% of code can be used across different platforms. It reduces production costs and time significantly.
When a Cross-platform approach is chosen, the main technologies to use are:

React Native

React Native is a framework for mobile app development. Its history dates back to the 2013 internal Facebook Hackathon, and its first public version was released in 2015. Some of the apps built with React Native are UberEats, Instagram, or Discord. React Native uses React.js, a JavaScript library for building User Interfaces.


Another technology that can be used for cross-platform development is Flutter. It is a software development kit, created by Google and, just like React Native, it was released in 2015. The list of apps that were built with Flutter includes Google Ads, Alibaba and Reflectly. The language used while working with Flutter is Dart, which is similar to Java.


Apache Cordova is another mobile app development framework. Cordova enables programmers to build apps by using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, the same technologies as in frontend development.
image Choosing the right digital tools to build software is just as important as choosing
the right people to manage and make the most out of them.


The difference between a great and a mediocre website is the level of detail, skill, and resources that have been invested in developing it. This is why when deciding to build a website, it’s best to always err on the side of caution and work with a professional and reputable web development company (aka dev shop) that has the right people with the necessary skills and expertise. Again, in these projects, you almost always get what you pay for. With the right company, you get the most out of your budget.
Your website is not just a marketing tool, but also a tool that helps convert visitors into potential clients. For this, you need to make sure that the dev shop you are eyeing is up-to-date on the latest programming and internet marketing trends. This shows you that web development is not all about code and structures, but also includes aspects of marketing and client journeys.
It is also a good sign if a web development shop has the ability to integrate all third party systems into your new website, especially if you want the new website to be built around existing systems like Salesforce, MailChimp, or some other bespoke technology. The right team will be able to handle seamless integration across different platforms and ensure outstanding software development.

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter/X.

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Tom Potanski Managing Director

Passionate and experienced technology leader. Combining business and technology, helping American clients find exceptional technical talent in Europe and Latin America.

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