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How to find a mobile development company by specialization?

Is there a search platform for finding development resources with specialization or experience in certain areas? I have a project that requires mobile development with heavy use of maps and weather data. While I am able to find development firms or programmers based on language and platform, it's harder to find them based on the subject matter associated with their portfolio.

10 Replies

David Schwartz
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David Schwartz Entrepreneur • Advisor
Multi-Platform (Desktop+Mobile) Rapid Prototyping + Dev, Tool Dev
Generally speaking, the more narrowly-qualified the talent, the higher price you're going to pay. That's because subject matter experts (SMEs) tend to NOT be programmers, and programmers tend to either be generalists (learning what they need when they need it) or very narrow specialists (eg., rocket scientists) who don't stray far from their specialties.

I'm more of a generalist. I've done a lot of projects where I was hired simply because of my programming skills, and I had to do a lot of research to build what the clients wanted. It would have taken them many months (maybe a year or more) to find people with the specific niche expertise they needed. Once I was hired to work for a researcher who had a bunch of tools used for genetics and genomics research, which I knew absolutely NOTHING about. After he hired me, I asked him, "Why did you hire me?" His reply was: "I've found it's far easier to teach a good programmer about genetics than it is to teach a biologist how to program!"

If it helps, I built a system for a client years ago that allowed private pilots to schedule when they wanted a pre-flight report to be faxed to them (typically at their hotel). At the appointed time, we'd kick off a process that would go through a database of National Weather Service data siphoned from a weather satellite feed and generate up to a dozen or more weather images, as well as a decoded weather report and any SIGMETS and other alerts that were relevant to their specific flight path. I was the main architect of this system, and wrote all of the code that took in the satellite imagery and text feeds; applied image processing to enhance the imagery; parsed the text feeds to make sense of their geographical and time-relative domains; kept the latest data in a database; and managed the pipeline that generated everything upon request.

This took quite a bit of research on my part, and we ended up with a very successful product. (Unfortunately, the investor pulled the plug before they got enough subscribers to be viable, which happened mainly due to his meddling.)

Prior to that I also built what was perhaps one of the first GPS-driven real-time moving map displays (what we call a "GPS" today), at least 5 years before anybody had ever heard of Garmin or Magellan. It ran on a 486sx-25 (no math co-processor), and making it update every second was no mean feat back then. I had to research how GIS data was stored, how to optimize it, and ultimately translated it into a totally different math model that used Voronoi tessellations rather than traditional LAT/LON storage to do the data storage, retrieval, and various math functions. It allowed us to shrink the data by nearly an order of magnitude, and speed up the processing more than an order of magnitude because there were minimal floating-point calculations -- nearly everything was manipulated as integers, with higher resolution than the GPS systems could provide.

I'd be happy to discuss your needs with you, as this might be something fairly familiar to me.
Hugo Messer
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Hugo Messer Entrepreneur
Co Founder & CEO at ekipa.co; Owner at Bridge
Try www.ekipa.co. we have recently launched. If you can't find the right team, post a project and we will propose teams
Jiong Shen
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Jiong Shen Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at Clover Network Inc.
I launched VINST LLC last year specialized in Android Mobile Development. But I find it hard for people to discover specialists because not many companies advertise only in one area of specialty and there's way too many general consulting firms compared to specialized ones. Best bet is to look up some similar mobile apps in the area and find out if they are developed by a firm or in house. I would also beware of oversea contracting firms because they are harder to manage and u get what you pay for.
Sudeep Bhatnagar
1
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Sudeep Bhatnagar Entrepreneur
Developing iOS and Android Apps for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs, Mobile development consultant
@David Schwartz's answer is spot on. I run an app development company www.agicent.com as well and we like it or not, we advertise our services more in terms of technology knowledge like objective C for iOS, or Java for Android etc and lesser for subject matter expertise. Moreover, subject matter expertise is hardly needed by today's startup customers in case of only front end side of the apps, when all business logic is written on the server side.

At the same time, there are some areas where a domain knowledge is required, if not expertise per se; for example in case of healthcare related projects, or aviation, or related to stock markets etc; and when you talk about arenas such as maps or weather data etc, where so many libraries or API providers are already there with great amount of refined data; you may do good with an intelligent coder with a common sense only.

We've worked a lot on maps even before iOS or google maps were existing, for example location tracking systems using arcGIS and hardware gps devices etc and that gives us an edge over developers who have worked only on modern google maps API, but that might not be my selling point of services today.

So coming to your question, I think the only way to figure out the subject matter knowledge of a developer is by seeing their portfolio and asking relevant questions. You can prepare a questionnaire related to maps and weather for shortlisted developers and take your decision accordingly and so on.

You may feel free to discuss your project with us as well, I shall honestly tell you if we have capabilities to pull that or not; and might also suggest right development team in that case.

Thanks,
Sudeep Bhatnagar
0
0
Sudeep Bhatnagar Entrepreneur
Developing iOS and Android Apps for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs, Mobile development consultant
@Hugo - do you work with offshore development teams like us as well, or only the ones in west?
Daniel Farmer
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Daniel Farmer Entrepreneur
Vice-President Sales & Operations at Baldgorilla

That could be a good start up idea! A site to find and connect Dev. by different filters...


We are at Baldgorilla a digital agency that develops mobile and web platforms. From what I have seen out there I do not recollect seeing such a tool. most of our clients will find us when they are looking for something in a specific field or if the need specific coding. Its only then that we show them what we have done and usually close the deal.

I think you need to find people using connections and finding people in the field that have worked with them, usually you will need a SME to guide the programmers no matter what as you have your idea in your head of the output.

I would stay away from oversees dev., not that they don't have qualities but I found a lot of people coming back disappointed and behind on there project. In life you get what you pay for so I always suggest paying top dollars for Top work and avoid headaches.

good luck!

Sudeep Bhatnagar
1
1
Sudeep Bhatnagar Entrepreneur
Developing iOS and Android Apps for Start-ups & Entrepreneurs, Mobile development consultant
Daniel - pardon me but you generalizing on oversees developers and the perception that customers doing outsourcing are unhappy mostly is equivalent to indirectly saying developers outside west are usuallyinferioror unprofessional, you must be having no fact to back this opinion and it is a new kind of business racism that I have seen a lot in my career of a decade working in outsourcing industry across geogrophies, I've worked with startups to top tier firms and like any other business engagement you have good and bad times, more good though otherwise IT outsourcing wouldn't flourish as it does consistently.

You get what you pay for is nothing but just a blanket statement to demean offshore services-and it is not always true, when I can do the same or better quality work than most of developers who charge 6 times than me, not because I'm inferior or they are overcharging but because cost of living in my part of world allows me to charge reasonable, and I happily share that advantage with my customer sitting in the US, it is a win-win for both us but not for the naysayers, for whatever reasons they may have.

So, Sir - if you want to compare quality or professionalism or customer's satisfaction then you better do it on company to company basis, instead of generalizing a huge set of population working days and nights to serve their customers.

Even we feel frustrated with insanely low price wars in app development business at times, a project for which I quote 10 K can be offered by a freelance developer in 1 K, but does that mean I put a blanket statement like you just did and say the project shall be screwed by other guys, I have better things to show from my portfolio, customer's endorsements, and references and that is we believe is more logical way to pitch my services and win customer instead of belittling what others have to offer.

I myself have seen customers from canada, US who didn't pay after their respective projects, despite everything was in place as per the agreement and we delivered right- so should I say all oversees customers are crooks? Similarly, I had customers whose projects were not pulled in right way by local developers in the US and they came to us, and are very happy so far; and following are real examples -http://www.agicent.com/app-development-testimonials, talk to any of these customers; a simple google will take you to their respective linkedin profiles and you may ask any questions related to their experience working with us.

I seek pardon from my fellow group members as this comment is totally off the topic, but I couldn't resist coming in because it was a plain condescending narrative from Mr. David, with nothing constructive.

Modern values of the world, which west is pioneer of, disown discrimination of any kind and relies on practical information; so let us not do that in this business. Technology is working towards bridging gaps in continents and to make world a global village; so we should gracefully embrace this instead of writing off others.

US is a melting pot not only for the one physically living there, but also for millions of professionals like us who serve from third world countries, taking calls in our midnights, working through weekends, trying to speak their accent ;) - all to assist in making better products, in budget that even non-premium companies can afford, make our customers delighted and at the same time earn living for ourselves as well. End of the day, it is our customer because of whom we survive and there is no point that we serve them lesser than what anyone else can do across the world.

Peace...
Daniel Farmer
0
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Daniel Farmer Entrepreneur
Vice-President Sales & Operations at Baldgorilla

Hello Sudeep,

I just want to say that I am sorry if you took my comments personally, I only mentioned My Personal experience on the topic and you are also allowed to share your own. I did go back to re-read in case I didn't express myself properly and I think it did?

I didn't specifically mentioned any companies as this would not be professional, I did mention that the clients I have dealt with (personal experiences)came back disappointed and did not get what they wanted out of the project. We have had multiple instances where the clients fell behind due to the delays and time differences. that's all I have said.


Also my comment on "you get what you paid for" applied to oversees but also to local outsourcing, too many times people go for the lower grade, unexperienced people and end up with a larger bill due to the time they need to do the work of a expert in the field. again just stating facts of what we see out there. If you offer high end services like many others then you shouldn't feel offended.


I think we all have our challenges in this market and globalisation is a normal evolution for IT. I do know about the north American companies abusing of oversees and the challenges of working in a global market. I can also say that this is not an exclusive problem with oversees as we have clients locally that don't pay after work as been done!


Now I will wish you the best to you and your company, I hope you have great success. I might just want to add that it would be a good idea not to judge others on this platform and try not put words such as "Racism, condescending" when none of these where written.

Thanks,

Tim Bichara
1
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Tim Bichara Entrepreneur
Helping businesses get the most from mobile technology - Consultant at Nimble Mobile, CCO at Conscious 2
Sorry, I couldn't help wading into this one as I've had a lot of experience in my career building products both offshore and onshore.

Personally i think that offshoring can work, but only under the following circumstances:

1) You pick the right team that are a good fit for your particular company
2) You have excellent communication with them, channels are clearly defined and understood by everyone.
3) There is a cultural fit or at least clear understanding of cultural differences
4) You have technical and project management expertise your side to compliment the offshoring company.

The last one is perhaps the most important. Most of the car crashes that I have seen with offshoring occurred when it was done by people who weren't that experienced in production. Don't expect an offshore company to act like a full service agency in North America - they won't.

You really, really need to know what you are doing before you go down this route. If you don't, pay more and pick a local partner.

In addition I would say that there are big cultural differences with some offshoring companies and, while they can deliver great work, a lot of misunderstandings occur because of this. For example - people in Western Europe and North America expect to be told when something is not possible. In some cultures it is rude to say no to a client.

Having said all that I would thoroughly agree that there are many offshore companies working very hard and delivering great work.

Happy to give you some more advice if you would like to contact me directly...

Tim

Will Cadell
0
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Will Cadell Entrepreneur
CEO & Geospatial Developer
Hi guys,

At sparkgeo.com we only work with geospatial data and maps. We typically work in the consumer web space dealing with problems of scale and complexity. We love our niche :)

We are a team of geospatial web engineers and work with companies like: nextdoor.com, map my fitness etc as well as a bunch of non-profit work.

We care about maps so much we built our own web map analytics tool so we know how to build better maps, increase engagement and help our clients learn more about their map using consumers, its called Maptiks



If you want to put maps on the web, feel free to reach out. Happy to be of service.
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