Hiring Drupal Development Teams to Build Success

When it comes to the modern web, content is key to continued engagement, interest, and success. How you serve content to users is just as critical as what content you have and the resources you have available to support it. Drupal development provides an open-source CMS (content management system) to allow companies to deploy content on a robust and flexible platform with exceptional results.

Ian Deed
Ian Deed
Published: 20.07.2022

First released over 20 years ago, Drupal boasts a sophisticated suite of APIs for customized publishing, a robust set of content management tools for organizations, and a track record of continuous innovation over a long period of time. For companies, Drupal is a back-end CMS framework that can deliver a lot to business-critical areas of content production and publishing.

Drupal development has proven to be a strong ally to teams when it comes to effective SEO and content distribution at scale. The strong semantic structure defined by the framework and flexible taxonomy makes Drupal a search-friendly solution that can help boost an organization’s results.

Importing the advantages and benefits of Drupal into your company is about taking the right steps to hire the team that can realize these advantages within your organization. Finding that ideal team and ensuring a good fit with your organization can go a long way towards creating an environment where your site can grow to success.

Pangea can help! Connecting your organization to some of the top Drupal development teams, our app can help you search some of the best development companies currently available to deliver web development services and even deliver recommendations of who to choose from to ensure success.

What is Drupal?

Drupal is a PHP back-end framework that supports more than 10% of the top 10,000 websites currently active. As a result of the framework’s inherent productivity, it remains today as an exceptionally active development environment with more than 100,000 active users contributing towards its maintenance and development.

Drupal development provides teams with flexibility and customization through the highly capable Drupal Core framework. Over time, Drupal Core has gradually incorporated the most valuable and widely used user modules to create a more broad and dependable foundation for teams to build on.

Drupal Core can create some key advantages for teams managing content across enterprise-scale sites. One of these key advantages includes the ability to distribute content to several places at once. Publishing a blog to a CMS, for example, can enable Drupal to extract excerpts for search results, link to syndicated content across multiple pages, and store information about that content in a central repository for site-wide distribution or social media sharing.

Why Choose Drupal Development for Building Web Apps?

Drupal is one of just a handful of leading technologies when it comes to content management. Known for being highly scalable and robust, Drupal development has been employed in companies such as Nasdaq, Cisco, and Tesla to deliver content to millions of users each.

In addition to the reliability and flexibility of Drupal Core, the ecosystem surrounding the framework enables a large amount of extensible functionality to build complex web applications. Extensions such as Drupal Commerce allow eCommerce solutions to be seamlessly integrated with content and marketing packages.

Despite being more than 20 years old, Drupal is a solution that has been continuously developed to keep up with the realities of the modern web. For example, modern Drupal development prioritizes a strong semantic structure to assist high-quality engineering and strong SEO performance for teams.

Another feature that makes Drupal development so performant today is its flexible taxonomy. By organizing components through keywords, Drupal makes search and navigation through sites easier for both end-users and search engines. This ability, to rank higher in search by design, can give Drupal Development a competitive edge when choosing between content management systems and teams to deploy for your next development project.

Drupal Development Projects

Drupal is a highly effective framework for building attractive and reliable sites to deliver content to users. Customer-centered, SEO friendly, flexible, and inherently customizable—it’s a framework used by more than 10% of the world’s top sites for very good reason.

Knowing how to evaluate, hire, and deploy the development team you need can help you join that 10% club. Pangea has vetted many development teams to hand-pick top-tier talent that can meet the demands, fit, and culture of your organization and develop Drupal applications to build your success.

What to look for in a Drupal Development Team

With so much flexibility in approach, the skill sets of Drupal Developers are wide and varied when it comes to making hiring decisions. The typical Drupal development team will have multiple developers with varied areas of expertise and experience that contribute to building effective applications.

Often, teams are made up of developers with skills that include:

  • Site building. A broad category of development that includes configuring components and pages in Drupal sites to make disparate modules work together with Drupal Core to maximize efficiency and functionality. The primary responsibility of the site builder should be the setup, installation, and configuration of modules to create a strong site architecture
  • Frontend Development. Generally responsible for everything the user might interact with during their time on the site, the front-end Drupal developer works with themes to define the layout and design of the Drupal site. Tasks range from building a design, look, and feel for an app from the ground up or creating consistency with an existing brand and its assets
  • Backend Development. Responsible for serving the data, integrations, and APIs that make a Drupal site work. The role of the backend developer includes setting up automated tests and monitoring as well as creating custom modules for bespoke functionality that may define the site
  • Generalist Developer. The generalist pitches in to assist on the most significant challenges the project faces at any given time. Often helping in design, front-end development, backend development, testing, and maintenance the generalist is a critical boost to a team’s efforts at every stage of the project

Each role within a Drupal development team has a significant cross-over when ensuring a site is getting up to speed. A backend developer is almost certainly going to write some frontend code to get some modules working, for example.

These Drupal development roles, as they’re roughly defined in an experienced team, ensure that each area of a site gets complete and comprehensive coverage during the development phases. Of course, a range of other roles also exists alongside the development team to guarantee success. Project managers, quality assurance engineers, designers, and UI/UX specialists with Drupal experience all contribute to achieving a successful Drupal project

Learning how to assess a Drupal Development company’s abilities to ensure a successful fit and productive application development is a challenging task.

Top Tips for Hiring A Drupal Development Team

Accurately assessing the abilities and experience of Drupal teams isn’t an easy task. Without previous experience in the field, or detailed knowledge of precisely what you want to build and how you’re going to build it—determining the full requirements of your projects and the teams you need to achieve them is difficult to do.

When thinking about how to assess, find, and hire Drupal teams, we’ve come up with the things to look for, the questions to ask, and the steps to take in your hiring processes to ensure success.

Combined with our detailed guides on hiring and working with Drupal development teams, our resources are sure to get you started in the right direction when it comes to building your sites with Drupal.

Top 5 things to Look for In Expert Drupal Development Teams

  1. A Rich GitHub profile. Taking a look at a team’s publicly available code is one of the best ways you can assess skills and experience in a technical role. While rarely a complete record, it can be a valuable insight into time spent on projects of comparable size, and even give you an insight into coding styles and design choices

  2. Community participation. Drupal is extremely community-driven, even in comparison to many other frameworks commonly used today. Participation within the Drupal community is often a useful signal that a team has a high degree of knowledge and expertise in the framework, in addition to an interest in driving it forward

  3. Extensive PHP experience. Look for knowledge of PHP and Drupal’s other related technologies inside and out of the framework. Experience in other areas can be a huge boost in solving the kinds of problems that crop up during development such as third party integrations and testing issues

  4. Strong theming skills. Themes are an essential component of Drupal development. Professional teams should have a strong breadth and depth of experience creating and applying themes for Drupal-based sites. An experienced team should have plenty of examples to show and knowledge of customizing pre-built themes to meet client needs

  5. An innovative approach. One of the strong benefits of Drupal is its ability to allow teams to be as innovative and imaginative as they like. Whether this means sticking to the basics to create a time-effective, low-cost solution or customizing functionality to meet user expectations—look for strong signs of innovation and creativity in a team’s portfolio

When it comes to how to assess a Drupal development team’s capabilities, these 5 pointers can give you a starting point to begin further investigation.

Questions to Ask Drupal Teams

While not a complete guide by any means, having some questions about the framework and specifically how it relates to your projects can be a useful icebreaker to getting to know development teams and assessing what they’re capable of. While there are many more questions you should ask before signing a contract, these early-stage queries can help get the ball rolling in an informal yet informative way.

Why choose Drupal over another kind of framework?

  • You may have considered several frameworks for your project before being drawn to the benefits of Drupal. It pays to get an outside perspective on what features of Drupal teams value the most and what components of Drupal they consider the most critical to implementing successful web services

Which industries have you created similar apps in before?

  • While you might not be able to get specifics on every project a team has done in the past, it helps to know how well a team knows the ins and outs of your industry and the unique challenges the company faces

With our project in mind, what will the design process look like?

  • Look for a documented strategy that outlines the process from start to finish and shows experience with a project of similar caliber in the past

What third-party integrations do you think could help with our project?

  • Experienced development teams are going to have practical knowledge of third-party integrations for implementing a wide range of different solutions. Being able to weigh up the advantages and drawbacks of each and knowing whether or not they’re worth pursuing is a key piece of knowledge to have

What do you need from us to develop our application?

  • This could range from the general to the specific. Things like content, images, accounts, etc are worth considering early. Many teams will benefit from a designated product owner to discuss rising challenges and progress as development continues. Get a list of exactly what’s needed to get started, and what resources should be made available as milestones pass

Asking these key questions before signing a contract can help you gain the insight you need to decide between the most competitive technical teams available today.

5 Steps to Hiring Drupal Development Experts

While there’s a lot to consider when it comes to hiring, the process of finding and recruiting the right experts for the role can be broken down into 5 key stages.

  1. Define the precise team or solution you need. Knowing what you want, the kind of results you want to achieve, and the kind of timescale you want your project to be delivered in can go a long way when it comes to finding an ideal fit. While it’s up to the team you hire to work out the small details, having a grasp on the big picture stuff can help define the project and make cast-iron guarantees about delivery
  2. Assess the capabilities of potential teams before shortlisting candidates. Whether using a portfolio of previous work, GitHub profile, or testimonials from past clients—it pays well to get an idea of what teams can do before moving forward with hiring. By the end of this step, you should know how closely a team’s capabilities line up with the needs of your next project
  3. Assess communication and project management as much as technical skills. Even the best technical teams in the world will fall short if the rest of their skills don’t meet the same high standard. Project management, communication, and soft skills are critical to success. Analyze a team’s communication style from first contact and figure out if they’re a good fit with your expectations and those of your organization
  4. Assess the fit as much as the skills. Even if a team is world-class in all the skills and metrics that matter, it can count for surprisingly little if they’re not the right Drupal development fit for your firm. Think about your organization’s culture and the expectations you place on internal teams and whether or not the team your hiring would fit in as a natural extension 
  5. Go with what feels right. When multiple teams tick all the right boxes, consider your gut feeling in the decision-making process. Instincts are typically instincts for a very good reason and when yours say you can reach success with the right team and project—it often pays to go after those goals with enthusiasm

Simplicity, when it comes to hiring and working with technical teams, is the key to success. In 5 key stages, and with just a few tips for working with Drupal development teams, your projects can accelerate from design to production with astonishing speed.

Drupal FAQs:

Q1. What programming language is Drupal?

Drupal applications and the Drupal framework itself are built using PHP. Built from the ground up with web development in mind, PHP is well suited to web applications and is used commonly by many web frameworks.

In Drupal, a good knowledge of PHP is required to develop modules to be integrated with solutions or modify themes within applications. While a basic knowledge of PHP should be enough for most to get by when it comes to Drupal, developers working with the framework use the language in an object-oriented way to build more complex applications.

To develop code that is going to be easy to test, re-usable, and maintainable for a long time to come, development teams recommend object-oriented PHP for enterprise-scale projects. A good understanding of object-oriented PHP is considered essential to contributing Drupal modules back to the community and creating themes that can be shared amongst teams and organizations.

Q2. What is Drupal best used for?

Drupal is a content management system exceptionally well suited to large, traffic-heavy, and complex sites that rely on regularly publishing content. The advantages of Drupal come from its integrations, automations, and its ability to be customized to meet the diverse workflow of most organizations.

Published under an open-source license, Drupal is known for being extremely flexible, having a great deal of power and security while enabling SEO-friendly content distribution. These assets make Drupal well-suited to large and complex enterprise sites over small web pages and blogs.

With so many add-ons available Drupal can be tailored to fit almost any scenario. Plugins enable eCommerce, multi-channel publishing, and media publication using Drupal sites for efficiency and security. This flexibility is one of the key reasons Drupal is commonly listed among the most popular and productive content management systems available today.

Q3. Is Drupal better than WordPress?

Drupal is a clear leader in enterprise-scale content management systems due to its scalability, flexibility, and integration options available to teams. By creating SEO-friendly pages from the ground up, organizations tend to benefit from the advantages of Drupal which mean more visibility and productivity in projects from the design phase.

While WordPress is often well suited to single-page blogs and publishing for small teams, the features and architecture of Drupal tend to make it extremely well suited to large and complex projects with many moving parts.

By enabling third-party integrations, automated publishing workflows, and customizations capable of meeting the requirements of almost any organization—Drupal finds itself being an invaluable resource for many companies. When security considerations, complexity, and scale are business-critical application components Drupal is a clear and obvious choice for many firms.

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