7 skills to look for when hiring an API Developer

Last updated:
May 25, 2022
June 7, 2023
min read
Richard Grant
hiring an api developer
Table of contents

Developers use different skills gained from experience and training when writing code or building applications. API development skills play a crucial role in application development across different servers, databases, and devices.

Understanding the most important skills required for API development can help when hiring an API developer as every hiring manager wants to ensure that their employees have the right skills to meet the daily requirements of their jobs.

However, before recruiting the perfect candidate, hiring managers need to implement the right techniques required to eliminate the barriers to achieving a more efficient hiring process. This, coupled with knowledge of the required skills, can help them get the right API developer.


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What does an API developer do?

An API developer takes an organization's aspirations in the API economy and converts them into a practical solution. Their main objective is to interpret the API requirements set by the stakeholders in an organization to produce a product that meets their business requirements.

They are also tasked with implementing an API-first design to ensure that the API reflects the best developer experience and possible design. 

API development skills are required for developers to understand the principles of API design. Developers need to integrate and connect different systems and programs following a different set of rules, yet using the same or similar APIs.

This way, they can have different programs, applications, extensions, and browsers working together and communicating to meet different requirements. For instance, a browser and program extension can be integrated using an API to improve user experience and extend the features available to the user.

Modern technology relies on API connections to meet user requirements especially due to the variety of available devices.

7 skills and experience to look for in API developers

Organizations need to think outside the box for their recruitment efforts when looking for API developers. This is because apart from the traits that they want such as a team player, quick learner, task and time manager, and a good communicator, among others, they also want a person who possesses the right skills.  

Some of the skills to look for in API developers include;

1. Cross-platform development

When hiring an API developer, hiring managers look for someone who can use the same code base to build a cross-platform application. For instance, a video game built for different platforms can sell on all of them without having to change its code.

Organizations build cross-platform applications to meet demand and reach their customers despite the kind of device that they (the customers) use. As a hiring manager, you need to make sure that the developer you choose has cross-platform development skills.

2. API design

API design is another important skill when hiring an API developer. The right developer needs to understand API design and how to create connections between different applications and devices.

Desktop and mobile application developers need to understand API design techniques for different systems. This is important in diversifying their capabilities and expanding their skillset.

API design skills make it easy for developers to create interconnected micro-servers, applications, and tools. This increases connectivity and interaction. 

For example, vehicle manufacturers use API developers when connecting mobile device operating systems to vehicle media files. With this, drivers can perform tasks such as making calls easily while driving.

3. Front-end development

Even though front-end development does not necessarily require API development, API developers need to be skilled in front-end development. This is because of the role played by front-end development in product compatibility.

Product compatibility is one of the most important things for organizations when building applications. They need their applications to be compatible with every other device that their customers might be using.

An API developer should therefore understand that the applications they integrate with need to work seamlessly when used by customers. To enhance this, organizations make sure that their API developers are skilled in front-end development.

4. Different coding languages

Even though the skills and professional traits expected from a developer may vary from one organization to another, most organizations understand the importance of a developer who can write code in different languages.

When it comes to API development, developers need to use a language that is best suited to meet the requirements of the project they are working on. Organizations cannot be hiring a new developer when a project requires a different language from the one their API developer uses.

By hiring an API developer who can write code in different languages, organizations can be assured of programming in the most effective language. In addition, they can meet different customer demands and technological needs.

5. Integration knowledge

An API's main purpose is to integrate different applications or systems to enable communication and sharing of data between them. This means that a person cannot claim to be an API developer without any knowledge of how API integration works.

Integration skills help API developers when it comes to server compatibility with different services and programs. 

In addition, understanding integration, as well as modern technology requirements, helps in building back-end systems for different clients even when they all have different requirements.

API systems make it possible for organizations to share data between multiple servers and systems. An API developer with integration skills will help these organizations to create servers for the management of different platforms and systems.

These platforms and systems might be based in different countries, making it necessary for the API developers to meet different country requirements such as data censoring. This can be a challenge for a developer without integration skills.

6. API orchestration skills

An API developer should create more than just cross-platform capabilities when working on APIs. They need to overcome every challenge when working with different API programs in the process of API orchestration.

API orchestration skills make it possible for API developers to write many lines of code that work together all at once. They can also interpret existing lines of code and modify or customize them to meet a different set of requirements easily.

Organizations look at API orchestration skills because they know that they need an API developer who can create customizable code. This is important because of the changing nature of technology as well as business and customer demands.

For instance, organizations can release a new version of a software application to meet changing demands. This is important since they do not have to build a new application from scratch, something that saves time and resources.

7. Programming tools

There is a wide range of tools that help developers during API development. These tools play a crucial role in not only making things easy for developers but also guiding them and making sure that they follow the accepted standards.

For instance, during the process of building an API or integrating one with applications and platforms, developers might find themselves using API testing tools, database managers, and program editors.

These tools help developers begin projects and test any compatibility issues thoroughly. When hiring an API developer, organizations need to make sure that they get a developer who understands the tools to use in the process of their work.

Some of the most common tools API developers use include Makefile used for directory management, JUnit used to test code, MySQL for database management, and Tomcat for editing different JavaScript programs among others.


Technology advancement fueled by APIs has changed how almost every industry works. Today, every organization is trying to implement features powered by APIs in a bid to meet both their requirements and those of their customers.

It is, therefore, important for recruiters to implement skills-based hiring and understand the skills and experience they need to look for when hiring an API developer. The skills discussed above can help any organization eliminate non-skilled developers and only attract talented ones who are likely going to meet their requirements.

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