C++ code swirling up out of programmer's laptop, and ascending to the cloud

The .NET framework is the de facto libraries for Windows programming. Whether it’s an app for the web or desktops, .NET languages (C# and VB.NET) will be your go-to languages to build the application code and structure.

What Is .NET and What Can It Do for You?

.NET is actually a composite of two different languages: C# and VB.NET. While VB.NET used to be more popular than C#, since Microsoft began promoting its MVC framework the C# language has become more common in recent years. If you have a clear preference for one over the other, you can look for a developer skilled in that language. From a technical standpoint, either language performs the same functions in .NET, so oftentimes it will just depend on which language the developer is most comfortable with.

If you prefer working with Windows products, .NET is the main solution for Windows servers either in the cloud or on a local network. Most clients look for a web-based .NET architecture because it’s easy to build, scale, and deploy in the cloud. However, .NET also supports desktop applications and mobile apps.

.NET also works natively with SQL Server, so if you’re building an application, many developers will choose to integrate it with Microsoft SQL Server if you need a database. You can specify another database, of course, because most databases have plugins for .NET compatibility.

What Does a .NET Developer Do?

Developers tackle several tasks depending on a project’s requirements. If you want a web presence and want to customize a web application without an out-of-the-box solution such as WordPress, then a .NET programmer can take your ideas and turn them into a tangible product.

.NET developers also write desktop applications, but many of them specialize in either cloud or web programming. When you search for .NET developers, make sure you’re looking for ones that specialize in the environment you’re looking to build an application for. Cloud applications would be anything that runs in a web browser, while desktop applications are any software that is installed on the local desktop machine.

You may hire a .NET developer to fix bugs in an existing application or to build a new one from the ground up. The right developer can help advise you on what’s needed to build an app or the steps required to repair a buggy application.

Defining Your Project

Before you request bids from .NET developers, you should fully define your project. Have a clear idea of your goals and the end product. While some .NET developers also do design work, in most cases, a back-end developer is an expert with the server-side scripting or the desktop code. As a result, most people tend to hire a user experience/user interface designer to design the app.

You don’t need to know how an application is engineered, but you should know the components you anticipate needing. If you want to build a web application from the ground up, you’ll need design and coding. Remember that .NET is a Windows platform, so you need to have a Windows machine to test your product and a Windows hosting account if it’s for a web application.

  1. Define if you want a desktop or cloud application. For most projects, a cloud application is more efficient. You don’t need to support different operating system versions and understand bugs on your users’ computers. A cloud application runs on the server, and users open it in their browsers. Your app should support different browsers, but this is generally easier than supporting desktop applications. If you can’t decide if your app should run in the cloud or on desktops, you should choose cloud services. These applications are easier to deploy and support.
  2. Define your product. You might need the help of a product manager or the developer to take your ideas and create specifications. The developer will work directly from your requirements and specifications, so they must be clear and detailed. The end product also defines the level of expertise needed. For most projects, an intermediate or senior-level developer is required. You want a developer who can handle any hurdle during the development process, and this comes with experience.
  3. Define project scope. It’s usually difficult to nail down the exact timing for a project, but a developer can estimate based on your specifications and deliverables. Development projects can take several months unless the application is very small and simple.

Together with the developers you interview, you can get an estimate of the time frame and set milestones. Larger projects may need multiple milestones while smaller projects may not need milestones except for the final product. Speak with your developer to determine the best route for milestones and deadlines.

Writing a Project Description

Once you have a clear description of your end product, it’s time to write a project description that you can use to attract top .NET developers. Your project description can be included in a document that you send to developers to review, but your job post should explain the overall concept of the app and what you’re looking for.

Below is a sample of how a project description may look. Keep in mind that many people use the term “job description,” but a full job description is only needed for employees. When engaging a freelancer as an independent contractor, you typically just need a statement of work, job post, or any other document that describes the work to be done.

Title: .NET developer for a new website

Description: We are in need of a .NET developer to build a new custom website for our e-commerce store. The store will display a list of shoes for purchase. We need a shopping cart, a product purchase page, a checkout system, and the ability for us to upload product descriptions and images.

We plan to host the website on a Windows 2012 server, and we’d prefer to use Microsoft SQL Server as the database. Please see the attached document for the specifications and requirements.

Read this article for more tips on how to write a great project description.

This description is just a brief example. You should make your project description concise but give enough detail that the developer has a basic understanding of the project. Once you choose a developer, then you can give them more detailed specifications so they can provide a better estimate.

Conclusion

.NET development projects are usually complex, but the right .NET developer can bring the most complicated project and bring it to life. You might need a project manager to help work with a development team if you engage several developers at once for different parts of your application. Just ensure that your descriptions are clear and you find a developer with a strong portfolio, proven experience working with similar projects, and the right communication abilities to help guide you through the entire process.