How Much Does It Cost to Develop an application or Software?

When the decision is made to build an application, system, or software, undoubtedly, we are faced with it. The unknown that can make this decision stagger: What will be the cost of developing it?

How Much Does It Cost to Develop an application or Software?
How Much Does It Cost to Develop an application or Software?

The answer to this question is not trivial, especially for those who are far from the world of technology. The final value of a software project depends on multiple factors, which we will explain in this article.

Requirements or user stories

Let’s start by explaining the fundamental unit of a software project. A requirement – or user story for those who work with agile methodologies. The written statement of a user’s needs must be satisfied by the software. These requirements can generally be classified into two types: functional and non-functional.

We say that a requirement is functional when the user’s need is translated into a service. The system must provide, for example, the application allowing the user to log in. Entering a username and password corresponds to a functional requirement.

On the other hand, a non-functional requirement is represented as a qualitative need that the software to be developed. The software is 100% in the cloud and that it meets certain service levels are examples of non-functional requirements. Since by themselves, they do not provide functional service to the user.

The development team behind an application

In any custom app development project, a multidisciplinary team of specialists is concerned with materializing each of the requirements. Explained above using time as a resource for their construction. It is logical then to deduce that, the greater the number of requirements in the application. The greater the time that we will need for each of the profiles that make up the development team. Which will directly impact the final cost of the project.

The most frequent profiles in a development team, according to their area of ​​expertise, are the following:

UI / UX Designer

It is responsible for designing the aesthetics of the application -UI or User Interface- and the browsing experience that users will have when using it -UX or User Experience.

Generating graphic mockups that allow illustrating the visual appeal, navigation, and usability that the software will have once developed.

Backend Developer

It is in charge of programming on the server side, the business logic, and the data model that will support the application.

Frontend Developer

It is responsible for programming and making functional the graphic mockups generated by the UI / UX Designer so that the user interface can interact with the application’s backend layer.

Project Manager / Product Owner

It is in charge of managing the project and refining user requirements so that the final application that is delivered meets the objectives defined by the users and the business.

In addition to these profiles, there are several more that would be incorporated into the team depending on the technological specialties required, the size of the project, the infrastructure, integrations with other systems, among other factors.

Appreciation of a development project

We already know what user requirements are, how they impact the size of an application and the human team behind the construction of each one of them. We can only then bring all of the above to a valued budget.

Depending on the scope of the project, determined by the number of user requirements defined by the business, we can estimate the total time and stages of the project, as well as the profiles that we will need for its development.

From the above, we can then deduce that the final value of a software project will be the sum of all the hours required for each profile, multiplied by their respective value per hour. This hourly value is subject to market prices according to the country where we trade.

As a reference, in Latin America, software companies charge between USD 20 and USD 80 per hour, depending on the technological specialty and the level of experience of the profile.

Specifically, a small software development project – let’s say 1 month in duration – with a team made up of a Project Manager, a Frontend Developer, and a Backend Developer would cost between USD 10,800 and USD 43,200 if we consider 180 hours of work per month for each profile on the development team.


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