As a digital development company, ScreamingBox has a dual focus in our business. One is that of our Clients, but the other and equally important one is that of our developers. The digital development industry is like many other industries in that it is ebbing and flowing, like water in a stream. Sometimes there is less demand, and times when there is more demand; and although the development industry is one of growth, like in life – things are always changing.
That is why we keep a network of hundreds of developers that we know and have worked with over the last 10 years. It is why we are always talking to developers and getting to know them. You never know when we get a client or project that needs a certain type of developer, so we are always meeting new developers.
DIRECT OR NOT?
Occasionally we are asked why a developer should work through us, versus getting a direct client or working through a platform like Upwork or Fiverr. There are several reasons developers may choose to work through a development company or agency instead of freelancer platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr:
Support: Agencies typically provide support in terms of project management, User eXperience (UX), QA, client communication, and technical expertise. An agency or company such as ScreamingBox has access to a large group of not only developers, but also other technical experts who can be brought in to a project, or play an unbilled support role to developers if that is also needed.
Reputation: Working with a reputable agency can help to build a developer’s portfolio and credibility in the industry. Agencies usually have a marketing department who is producing a flow of content that can also include references to specific developers, or allow developers to publish their own content to a larger audience.
Access to resources: Agencies often have access to a range of resources and tools that are not available to individual freelancers. These include more expensive SaaS development tools and other resources that will help developers be more successful. One of the more important resources are usually other companies and partners that developers can leverage for projects, and present to clients as technology solutions.
Better pay: Developers may receive higher pay rates when working through an agency because of the added value that agencies can provide its clients. The additional margin that they get for a large project, allows them to provide a higher pay rate to developers then a small freelance project. Also, agencies can have a higher bill rate because of a long history and volume of successful projects that are usually part of their brand and success story.
Improved security: Working with an agency may provide additional security in terms of payment, project management, and dispute resolution. It is easy to find developers on freelancer platforms who did work, but then never got paid, and even after filing a claim on the platform. Agencies usually can use some of their profit margin to pay developers when clients pay slow or default on payment.
Insurance: Agencies usually carry expensive insurance policies that help cover any potential problems and protect not only the company but also the developers working for the company from any legal issues arising from quality of work issues to data breaches. Many large enterprise companies require that agencies or companies they work with have a certain level of business insurance to work with them, thus giving such agencies access to projects that freelancers may never get to work on.
Variety of work: Working with an agency often means a flow of projects with a wide variety of work, technologies, industries and teams. This offers developers a way to quickly add a large variety of projects, industries and clients to their resumes/CV’s.
As mentioned above, development agencies like ScreamingBox have benefits to developers that the direct freelancing model can’t offer. Besides that, development agencies can offer several ways for developers to become better developers, to grow their skill levels, connections and knowledge base:
Training and development opportunities: Agencies may offer training and development opportunities to help their developers improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. These can include resource libraries, training with other developers, podcast guesting and paid educational courses.
Mentorship and collaboration: Working with experienced developers and being part of a team can provide opportunities for mentorship and collaboration, allowing developers to learn from their peers and grow their skills.
Diverse projects and technologies: Working with a development agency can expose developers to a variety of projects and technologies, providing opportunities for them to broaden their skill set and gain experience in new areas. Example, we currently have several React Native developers who want to learn Flutter, and so we are putting them on a Flutter project so they can learn and get experienced with that technology platform.
Client-facing experience: Many development agencies require their developers to interact with clients, which can help them develop important communication and interpersonal skills that can be valuable in their careers.
Career growth opportunities: Working with a development agency can provide great opportunities for career growth, such as promotions and leadership roles, which can help developers to advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Career timelines are not static, and although a developer made love developing now, in 10 years that developer may be more interested in management or client relations and an agency can usually provide for such a change.
Overall, working with a development agency can provide developers with a supportive and challenging environment that can help them grow and improve as developers and professionals. This is not to say it can’t be done individually, but working for an agency, and then becoming integral to that agency will open up many opportunities that would be harder to get on your own.