Magento is a complex system and extending it in a proper way requires a Magento developer that knows his stuff. The learning curve of Magento development is steep - therefore, good Magento developers are hard to find. This guide gives you some clues on where and what to look for, when trying to find developers.

So, can Yireo help you find the right developer?

Can Yireo help you find the right developer? In short, no.

Yireo focuses mostly on developing standardized solutions. This basically excludes custom projects. Only so now and then, we pick up custom work - to stay in touch with the real world. However, these cases are rare.

Long term relationship

In a lot of cases, if you are looking for a developer, you are probably also looking for a relationship on the long term: New features can be developed in an environment that is already known to the developer. No additional effort is needed to learn what has been done in the past.

Also, a long-term relationship might include better handling of support tickets, bug fixing by the person who implemented the site and lower costs.

On leave or sick

Likewise, if you choose a development company with multiple developers, you might always have a fail-safe plan available when your preferred developer is on leave or sick - it is a very good option to consider, even though this costs more money than an individual developer.

Skills to look for

If you are a non-developer, it will always be difficult to find out what makes a good developer. In most cases, the developer will claim to be awesome - I know I do. However, there is good coding and bad coding. In general, good Magento coding follows the official Magento coding standards. The developer might or might not be officially Magento certified, but definitely should know his stuff: Design patterns, Magento module basics, unit testing. Bad coding involves dirty hacks, weird variable naming, extra code without purpose, etcetera.

More complex tasks require more skills

It is still possible for a lesser Magento developer to succesfully maintain and modify your Magento shop: Some tasks simply classify as generic webdesign (CSS, HTML), while some other tasks involve more knowledge of Magento theming (XML layout, blocks, handles, PHTML templates). As soon as the task is becoming more difficult, solid knowledge of Magento becomes more vital: When changing Magento core behaviour, hacking the core is a big NO, while adding a Magento observer is the best way to modify things in a non-intrusive way.

The role of a developer

It is important to differentiate between the role a developer is going to play in your project: Webdesigner, frontend developer, backend developer, implementor, perhaps another role. Each role comes with its own skillset. If you are looking for a specialist, it is impossible for that person to play all roles - unless that person completely grasps the concept of full stack development.

Become the technical project owner

As a project owner, it is best to learn what kind of technologies are out there: You don't need to be a PHP guru to still know some of the conceptual design patterns. You can include things like coding standards, unit testing and framework-related things in your project proposal, even if you don't understand those things in full. Get a feeling of what a Magento developer should know, without becoming a Magento developer yourself.

Where to look - locally

Let's move on to where you can find a good developer. If your English is not perfect, finding a developer in your own vicinity might be preferred over a developer abroad (assuming English is the international language for developers). That might even still be when the local developer has less skills than a remote developer. Communicating properly is most important.

Know the community

To find local developers, get to know the community. Create a listing of Magento-oriented companies and investigate what they are doing and how they deal with projects. Some of the bigger companies will be listed as official Magento partner on the Magento site, but most companies will not have budget for this, while they still might have excellent developers. A popular way for excellent Magento developers is to share some of their work on GitHub: It is a programmers way to create a resume.

You could also join the community: In most countries, there are Magento User Groups or more nation-wide MeetMagento events that are excellent for meeting up with developers. Say hi, shake hands. Most Magento events are not only focussed on developers, but merchants as well.

Where to look - remotely

When hiring a remote developer - somebody who lives in another demographic and geographic region than you - there are various things to beware of: Beware of language barriers and cultural differences. If you use the same words for different things, your project might be implemented in a completely different way than you meant to. It might be that your English or the developers English is not perfect, which leads to confusion (FUD), which might result in overtime and increased costs.

Culture and communication

Cultural differences are notorious: In general, developers from Asia have a different view on code quality: If it works, it works. This does not mean that Asian developers always produce bad code - not at all. It's just that you either have to act as lead developer to guarantee integrity of your application, or you need to agree on certain standards before the project starts. On the other hand, a lot of developers from Ukraine, Russia and Eastern Europe are highly educated, which sounds nice. However, too much abstract thinking might lead to code that is harder to maintain and might make your entire application overly complex. Again, communication is vital.

Sharing expertise

Some developers might be found via the web. Often, developers also help out others through forums like Magento StackExchange - a solid way to show others their skills. If their answers are not getting too much bashed by others, it might indeed be a sign of good quality. Some answers supplied are simply wrong, so beware. Currently, there also is a listing of developers and their availability on

Our partners

Here is a small personal listing of third party developers we can definitely recommend:

You might also consider one of these online freelancer sites:

Posted on March 9, 2015

About the author

Author Jisse Reitsma

Jisse Reitsma is the founder of Yireo, extension developer, developer trainer and 3x Magento Master. His passion is for technology and open source. And he loves talking as well.

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