3 Things To Avoid Asking Your Developer: Realistic App Expectations


There’s no such thing as a “stupid question” (from an HR persspective). But developers are human and may  tense their jaws involuntarily in the face of certain requests.

Avoid awkward situations and read this helpful list of questions to avoid asking a software developer. Remember that like any relationship, developers choose you as much as you choose them.

Keep reading and you’re sure  to reap these valuable benefits:

  • Maintain open and healthy communication  with a developer
  • Avoid any critical miscommunications with a developer
  • Gain  insight into  what most (even full stack) developers won’t do


❌Can I give you part ownership instead of paying you?

“Can I offer you equity?” is a question  that’s difficult and uncomfortable to navigate.

Instead of an outright, “No,” a developer may offer an answer like, “Sorry, my hands are tied.”

And they truly are. Offering equity for your app is a serious commitment to the offeree(s), whose involvement would typically extend past a single developer or agency.  

A tech-savvy consultant or entrepreneur with industry expertise would be more suitable to pitch equity to and consequently onboard as a CTO. They would be deeply involved in advising and overseeing the app’s rollout and its potential iterations.

Offering only equity to an app that hasn’t been created yet is an unpalatable option for most developers.There is a high risk for little to zero returns. In either case developers would be using up an invaluable resource: their time. The time they take building your app could be spent on  other projects to keep the lights on and pay their team.

If you have a constrained budget that’s fine. Make sure you communicate with your developer to arrive at reasonable financing options.



❌Can you sign this generic Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that I downloaded from the internet?

Another question to avoid asking a software developer involves NDAs. A generic NDA won’t  protect your idea since its clauses are too vague (and likely irrelevant) to protect your intellectual property sufficiently. Potential liabilities and general bad NDA etiquette are also reasons not to present a generic NDA.

NDAs are not to be confused with a “non-compete” document that would protect your idea from being passed to other companies by developers you previously hired (an unlikely scenario).

Also, downloading an NDA from the internet without clearly adapting it to cover the bases of your sensitive data/intellectual property is a sign of off-putting inexperience, even more so if you approached the developer with an idea alone, and not  a tangible asset.



❌Can you help me fix my computer, router, printer [insert hardware here]?

The last question to avoid asking a software developer that we’ll discuss won’t necessarily produce a strong negative reaction. But it still helps to be better informed.

There are common misconceptions about software developers, and one of them is that we do the same work as  IT hardware specialists. To the credit of those that misunderstand, however, IT and programming do share space under the tech umbrella, though the overlap of similarities are slimmer than many would think.  

As a general rule of thumb, IT tends to be more client-facing and involves the configuration and maintenance of networks, software and hardware.  Programming, on the other hand, refers to the development, design and maintenance of software and applications – the building blocks to which IT professionals use to manage and maintain systems.

Though IT’s reach in services are sophisticated and extends well past the management of hardware, many assume that everyone in the tech industry can fix your printer.

While many software programmers are capable of fixing minor issues, most hardware problems are better suited to our cousins in the IT department.

The next time you have the sudden urge to ask a development team to troubleshoot your router, remember the questions to avoid asking a software developer you read here.


Do you have any questions about software development?  Contact Gravit-e!