A Guide to Hiring a Drupal Developer


August 15, 2018

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A Drupal developer is a type of programmer that specializes in using the Drupal framework. This content management platform is open source, and is distributed under the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) General Public License. Drupal is based on the PHP programming language, and because it is an open source software, basically it can be used freely by people or businesses. Of course, Drupal developers are considered the experts in using this framework. In this post, we’ll tackle how a Drupal developer operates and how he can be put to good use today.

Covering the Basics

What are the basic responsibilities of a Drupal developer, and how can your business take advantage of this programmer’s set of skills?

Let’s go through the responsibilities first. It is widely considered that there are three main areas of expertise in Drupal — namely building websites, theming (front-end development), and developing the back-end aspects.

First off is the website building. You can think of a Drupal site builder as a sort of a regular construction worker. Quite literally, he is in charge of setting up the very core parts or modules of a Drupal website. Thus, he will take care of integrating functionalities associated with browsing or navigation, presets for images and other graphics, the structure for displaying web content, taxonomy and categorization, and even the basic rules that govern how the website will operate. It goes without saying that all of these will ultimately depend on what kind of website is being built. Nevertheless, a Drupal developer who builds websites is expected to be an expert in the use of all kinds of modules.

Now let’s deal with the front-end development side of a Drupal developer’s job. The Drupal front-end developer (or if you will, themer) is tasked with marrying functionality (as already set up by the Drupal site builder) with responsive design. In other words, he works to achieve an optimal user experience and interactivity based on the website design, and he does it by using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS code.

Last but not the least is the Drupal developer handling the back-end. He oversees the server side of things and mainly makes full use of his PHP programming skills in not only creating customized modules, but also in establishing security protocols, automating tests, optimizing web performance, and facilitating web deployments.

So how can a Drupal developer help businesses? For one, the open source nature of the content management platform itself means that a Drupal website can be customized to suit the exact needs of a business. For example, if you are looking to build an e-commerce website (or transform your existing website into one), you can hire a Drupal developer (or a Drupal team) to work on your online store, while at the same time set up online sales functionalities such as pricing, orders, checkout, and payment modes, along with modules that facilitate conversion rates optimization (CRO) and search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, among many others.

Drupal is also flexible and scalable, which is why it is also being used by other organizations that are not necessarily the usual business types. For instance, the official website of the city of New York is built using Drupal, so is Entertainment Weekly’s website. Other familiar websites that use Drupal include social media giants Twitter and Pinterest, NBC, Verizon Wireless, eBay, and even NASA.

Skills Required to be a Good Drupal Developer

As we have mentioned earlier, there are three types of Drupal developers, each with their own different skill sets. Because they usually construct websites, Drupal site builders are expected to be proficient in PHP and JavaScript programming languages, and other related web frameworks. They should also be good with project management, and having basic business analysis skills is a big plus.

When it comes to front-end Drupal developers, their main focus is presentation, interactivity, and responsive design, which means that the skills they need to be effective mainly revolve around PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript programming, as well as in web architecture, and cross-platform compatibility (ensuring functionality and integrity in either Microsoft, Android, or iOS environments) and cross-device testing (making sure the website performs just as well mobile devices as it does in desktop computers).

As for back-end developers, they similarly need to possess proficiency PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding, but for purposes of strengthening the web architecture, fine-tuning the design (by improving upon already existing modules), and expanding upon the website’s code and capabilities (by developing new components or integrating new functionalities).

Things to Consider in Finding the Right Drupal Developer For You

It helps to have a clear vision of what you need. Or more accurately, what your business needs. Are you trying to sell products online through your own business? Or are you setting up a repository of readily available resources for people who might be interested in your field or industry? Is your website going to show mostly text only, or feature video clips, audio, or even games? Knowing your goals should guide you in finding the perfect Drupal developer that can help you achieve the vision in your head.

Having an idea of the scope of the work can’t hurt. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, but once in a while, it pays to actually sit for a moment and determine the scale and requirements of the project, not only in terms of the Drupal developer (or team of developers) you need, but also in terms of how long it may take, the resources you may need, or other areas of expertise you might have to take advantage of.

Experience counts. No project ever goes smoothly as planned, so you are bound to encounter some challenges along the way. This is why having an experienced Drupal developer is important. True, you can probably get a less experienced programmer for a more affordable rate, but if you want better results, you are more likely to get them from a Drupal guy who has a track record of completing similar projects in the past.

Communication. Sure, the developer you’re thinking of hiring is like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Drupal in terms of skill, but it would be wise to remember that all that technical ability would be half useless if you two can’t properly communicate with each other. English communication skills is required, yes, but more important is the ability to express ideas and plans during meetings, calls, emails, or even chat convos.

Challenges of Hiring a Drupal Developer

The most obvious challenge is cost, considering that any Drupal developer (or any software developer for that matter) working full-time in America typically command pretty big salaries (click here to get an idea).

While it is true that you can explore freelance options (which are more budget-friendly), this can get tricky especially if all you really want is to have your website up and running as soon as possible, and you might not know for sure when that will be if you rely on freelancers.

Allow us then to offer another option — offshore software development. This way, you get to hire a Drupal developer (one that fits your business needs, of course) at a lower cost (because in the Philippines, skilled Drupal specialists are more affordable). Also by partnering with a staffing company like us that specializes in assembling offshore software teams, you get to enjoy taking full advantage of a Drupal programmer’s skills as much as you want, because he will be working for your company full-time, but based in a country where practically every overhead cost is lower than those in Western countries.

Tell us what you need now, and we’ll help you hire the Drupal developer you’re looking for.



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