TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to Choose Node JS Development Agency?

Chris Lojniewski
By Chris Lojniewski

Introduction

Delegating Node development to the agency can be quite a challenge.

Other popular way is to hire a freelancer, give him a list of tasks needed to be done, and just make sure he follows it on time. Yet, to make the execution successful, you have to have high Node.js skills yourself, as you need to know exactly what to delegate, and how to manage it.

But what to do if Node.js development seems an excellent technological idea, but you don’t know much about it yet? What if you know many great benefits of using it, but you don’t know how to plan and execute all the work?

Of course, you may need someone trusted, but trust can be as easily acquired, as well as easily lost in a short term period. Having someone trusted is a long term way, yet it’s absolutely the best way to approach any business cooperation. 

But how to find someone trusted if everyone seems to look professional? What should you ask Nodejs vendors, agencies, or developers to have a better overview of their general approach to work and Node.js skills?

To choose NodeJS agency and To avoid a lack of understanding in the future, and the need to rely on trust only, here are a few questions and activities we recommend you to prepare and follow to lower the risk of hiring someone you will be disappointed about.

Prepare for an interview with Node development agency

How to prepare for an interview with Node development agency?

An interview is a both-sides conversation.

Before you learn questions uncovering the overall condition of a particular agency and their level of knowledge and competences, you should prepare for such an interview yourself. 

It will make possible cooperation much easier already from the first meeting.

To do that, we recommend you to use the following steps:

Step 1: Specify needs and budget

There are few points to cover there. First of all, even if your in-house development team will cover the front-end layer, it would be great if the agency of your choice has at least basic knowledge of technologies you are using on a daily basis. It will ensure better communication between front-end and back-end teams, and the whole process will be much smoother.

Second of all, think about the money you can spend on this project. Be aware that the budget may change if the project is complex, and depends on users’ feedback or ideas emerged during the ideation phase. Yet, a really good agency should be able to give you a fixed price estimation anyway. However, be ready to use other options like time-and-material, because it will open up many flexible possibilities.

Lastly, don’t get upset if your budget will not be enough to do everything you wanted in the first place. Instead, be prepared for two options – you may either have to create a prototype instead of MVP or remove some features from the to-do list for now.

Step 2: Check the Node agency’s website

Nowadays, a company’s website is like its bigger business card. 

While browsing through the agency’s website, pay attention to:

  1. Their specialisation – if it’s Node JS agency, perfect. But even if it isn’t, it shouldn’t be a deciding factor because it doesn’t mean they don’t know how to work with it.
  2. Technologies they use – as already mentioned, check if they use front-end technologies you use. It ensures better communication. If not, perhaps it’s something to ask the agency during a call.
  3. Number of developers onboard – even if your project is small, you don’t want to be dependent on one or two developers.
  4. Localisation – it matters because being in different time zones may create some barriers in communication. Make sure that it won’t be a problem on your end.

Step 3: Check agency’s portfolio

Not counting step one, it’s the most important task to do before even talking to the agency. Find out what projects involving Node JS they did in the past and what other technologies they used. See if there is a match between what they did (i.e. read case studies) and what you want to do. What you are looking for are projects in the same niche or applications similar to yours. Write down the names of matching projects; it will be helpful later.

Step 4: Read reviews and testimonials

Let’s say that you are choosing a new computer. Who would you believe more – a producer of computers or one of the buyers? If you are choosing a development agency, it’s similar.

Read testimonials from agency’s clients on websites or portals like Clutch. If you want to go even further, you can mail some of the clients and ask for an honest opinion.

In the case of portals like Clutch, reviews from there may be even more trustworthy than those on the agency’s website as the agency itself is not collecting them.



General questions

These questions should help you define the general abilities and accessibility of a Node JS development agency during qualification calls.

What’s your bench?

The answer will tell you how long you have to wait before the agency can start working on your project.

A good agency should always have available developers.

At Pagepro, when developers aren’t currently working on projects for clients, they are mostly focused on open-source activities and internal projects. But whenever a new project comes in, they are always ready to start working on it.

What’s the longest project you have worked on?

While choosing Node agency to work with, look for one that can build a lasting business relationship. It’s proof that they manage projects and problems associated with them well. The bottom line of this point is that agencies with long and quality relationships established a set of best practices they follow in every project.

There is hardly a thing that will surprise them during the project, but more importantly, they won’t promise something they won’t be able to fulfil just to sign a contract. They just know that there aren’t any shortcuts leading to long-term success.

Can I ask you for a code review?

Code review is a typical thing good Node agency is asked for. For you, it’s a great way to check if they have senior developers on board. Just send them a few files and ask for a code review. If they have never done that before, there is a possibility that they don’t have senior developers in the team, or they are too busy, and juniors will work on your project. 

It’s also a way to omit a 1-hour long technical interview.

Do you do any open-source and community activities?

Contributing to the community is a thing characteristic for passionate and ambitious developers. They are willing to go further than just focusing on projects for clients.

Things worth checking out:

  • Number of developers with an open-source contribution
  • Are open-source projects a part of a company’s culture?
  • Do they organise or take part in events, teach others or speak during conferences?
  • What about their blog? Do they share their technical knowledge with others in any way?

They don’t have to do all of the above – any kind of contribution speaks in their favour.

Did you use Continuous Integration?

Continuous Integration (CI) is a form of quality assurance used by experienced teams.

CI runs an automatic test every time a developer wants to push his changes to the repository.

Automated testing is one of the best quality checkups, and every mature Node team should be familiar with it.

Can you send me developer profiles or blind CVs?

Ask Node agency for profiles or CVS of their mid and senior developers. These will allow you to find out about technical qualifications, professional experience, portfolio and other helpful information of every developer.

Can I call some of your previous clients?

As I mentioned before, do not hesitate to ask for direct contacts to the agency’s previous clients.

You can ask them the following questions:

  • Why did you choose to work with this agency?
  • What is the quality of the code, quality assurance, and code documentation?
  • What is the quality of project management and execution?
  • What’s their level of English?
  • What were the weaker points?
  • How do they deal with tight deadlines and operating under pressure?

In most cases, when the client was happy with the quality of provided services, they wouldn’t mind answering a call and providing a reference.

What did you use before Node?

This question is helpful, but there is another one, even more helpful – why did they make a switch?

Was the reason serious and reasonable enough, or maybe it was like “everyone is working in Node now”?

Maybe for them, it’s just a temporary switch, and when some new technology comes up, they will switch once again without hesitation? The best-case scenario is they know the real value Node JS brings to the development process and won’t change it for some irrelevant reason.

In other words, look for agencies that see a true value in working with Node JS.



Technical questions

If you have no Node JS development experience, it may be hard for you to ask technical questions. However, you can find some questions on the internet, but the number of them may be overwhelming. 

Luckily for you, we prepared a questionnaire (plus answers to questions) based on a great article we found on the internet. If you need more questions, we recommend you to read it.

What are the pros and cons of Node.js?

Node.js prosNode.js cons
Fast processing and an event-based modelNot suitable for tasks requiring heavy computational resources
Based on JavaScript that’s popular among developersUsing callback is complex since you end up with several nested callbacks
Node Package Manager has over 50,000 packages that provide the functionality to an applicationDealing with relational databases is not a good option for Node.js
It’s great at streaming huge amounts of data and I/O intensive operationsSince Node.js is single-threaded, CPU intensive tasks aren’t something Node JS is great at

What is an Event Loop in Node.js?

Event loops are responsible for handling asynchronous callbacks in Node.js. It is the foundation of the non-blocking input/output in Node JS, making it one of the most important environmental features.

What is the Express.js package?

Express is a flexible Node.js web application framework. It provides a bunch of features useful in developing mobile and web applications.

What is callback hell?

Callback hell is caused by the incorrect implementation of the asynchronous logic. It’s also called a pyramid of doom.

Explain the concept of middleware in Express.js

Middleware is a function that receives the request and response objects. Most tasks that the middleware functions perform consists of:

  • Executing any code
  • Updating or modifying the request and the response objects
  • Finishing the request-response cycle
  • Invoking the next middleware in the stack

What are the different types of HTTP requests?

HTTP defines a set of request methods used to perform desired actions. The request methods include:

  • GET – used to retrieve the data
  • POST – used to making changes in state or reactions on the server
  • HEAD – similar to the GET method, but asks for the response without the response body
  • DELETE – used to delete the predetermined resource

Why is Node.js single-threaded?

Node.js is single-threaded for async processing. It allows for achieving more performance and scalability in comparison to the typical thread-based implementation.



Extra guidance

Apart from preliminary research and general and technical questions, we recommend you also to follow additional tips while choosing the right Node JS development agency for your next project.

  • Verify information agency provides – for example, you can check their LinkedIn profile to see who is working for them and for how long. Bear in mind that some people add work positions to their profile even if they did just a small project for them a long time ago.
  • Check average rates – sure, the pricing shouldn’t be the deciding factor while choosing an agency, but it would be great to know what you can expect. It will also help you with not overpaying for a project.
  • Talk with at least a few agencies – this point is connected with a previous one because talking with different agencies will help you get a good grasp of average rates. But more importantly, you will get to know the standards and best practices good agencies offer.
  • Double-check technical skills – you can either ask for a trial project or some code samples. The other option is to talk with at least one developer directly.

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