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Are they inexperienced?

Something I recommend in my white paper Selecting a Programmer is to find someone who has built something like your application before. In a way, this can be more complicated than it appears. After all, the reason why you are building custom software is because there isn’t any software like yours anywhere (at least not that you have access to).

But it is important here to understand the real point. Let’s say my project is a YouTube clone for uploading and playing video. There are unique challenges associated with dealing with video and larger files. So if I had trouble finding someone who had built YouTube (or a clone), I might try developers who have worked on webinars or training software. Or, I might try developers who had worked on audio files (not as big as video files, but still they would have to do deal with some similar issues.) See what I mean? It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but I want someone who has had to deal with some of the technical challenges.

If my application serves up lots of reports, I don’t necessarily need someone who has written the same reports as my program will need. But I’d want them to be familiar with the reporting tool we are using. Or I’d want to know that they had experience generating reports for other customers.

They don’t need to have built the exact same application. But it is better that they don’t start from ground zero.

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