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How to hire a software developer in 2023

27.11.22 17 min to read
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Hiring professional software developers is becoming more and more pressing year by year for businesses of various fields. Advanced innovative areas of the economy demand high-quality software engineering. But more down-to-earth and traditional companies also digitize their services, expanding their range with new applications that appear every day. Therefore, the demand for IT talent is steadily growing, and the education system of developed countries can only partially meet the current market needs.

This article looks at where to find good software developers in 2023 and how to ensure that you hire the best of them. Several practical tips will be helpful to you and will make this challenging task a bit easier.

Why hire software developers

It is unlikely that you would have come to this page if you weren’t convinced that hiring software developers will help you achieve your business goals faster. You expect to make business better for your customers, expand your market presence, outperform your competitors, and thus make your enterprise more profitable in the long run.

To solve business tasks, you may need to operate with big data arrays, complex calculations, or an adaptation of artificial intelligence. You may lack the optimization of the user interface, the same efficiency of the application on different platforms, or its cloud integration. You may need to upgrade your existing software, diversify your technology, or develop a uniquely feature-rich application from scratch.

In fact, software developers can solve almost any task – whether it is a high-tech manufacturing or entertainment industry. And it doesn’t matter how specific your field of work is. It can be related to programming specific controllers for IoT systems, designing highly specialized engineering systems, or online banking. Or on the contrary, it can be at the top of trends in today’s popular online applications, such as e-learning tools, which we’ve already discussed in the article How Much Does It Cost to Develop an LMS. Game development, including elements of virtual reality, cloud technology, multifunctional online portals – the list goes on and on. But these examples are enough to demonstrate the majority of specific cases where the participation of competent developers is needed.

When are you looking to hire programmers?

First, you may not have your own IT department, but the situation requires it. Based on the budget that you have for the creation of your IT staff, it can be in-house or remote. Then you can look for each specialist separately or conclude a contract with an already established team of outsourced developers.

Secondly, you may have your own IT department, but not fully staffed for various reasons. Sometimes you may need more simple workers to perform routine operations. Other times, you may need someone with unique expertise or a leader who can organize existing employees.

Third, sometimes you may need consulting services, technical expertise for a future project, or a competent assessment of the abilities of the candidates you are selecting to fill vacancies in your company. Other cases are possible, of course.

The main thing is to determine which specialists are required for your project and have a clear strategy on how to hire a software developer with the right skills.

What companies hire software developers

Today, most Western companies of any level, from small businesses to giant multinationals, have at least once used software developing services or have IT departments staffed to a greater or lesser degree.

Of course, depending on the company’s size and the scope of its business, the purpose of hiring software developers varies. Small companies usually focus on creating an online presence through business websites, online stores, or multiplatform applications that provide specific services. Startups attract software developers to create MVPs, test technologies and debug interaction processes between devs and other parts of the team.

Manufacturing companies are interested in the engineering, setting, and maintaining manufacturing systems and in specialists in big data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and other knowledge-intensive industries. Most medium and large companies are in particular need of IT specialists who design and maintain cybersecurity systems. The financial sector relies on software developers to create electronic payment systems, and government companies – to develop administration and electronic documentation tools. Educational institutions need modern e-learning tools, and the healthcare sector needs functioning e-prescription systems and online communication with patients and co-workers. Full-functioning servers and telecommunications systems also require software developers and system administrators who create and maintain these information environments.

The question of what companies hire software developers can safely answer – all. But how they do it is another matter. Modern communications tools allow you to expand the traditional means of finding and recruiting employees and even create entire departments from remote workers. It is already quite common not only to traditionally hire full-time employees in your company’s IT department but also to outsource software development tasks to freelancers and complete development teams from distant countries. Besides, it is optional to have a whole staff of own developers today because it can be expanded at any time by devs-outstaffers. We have already described these types of cooperation with software developers in the article Outsourcing vs Outstaffing: What To Choose. Moreover, to overcome serious business challenges, no one forbids combining all available methods to attract IT specialists, creating flexible and efficient target teams.

It does not matter what level of company needs the services of software developers – there are performers for any task and price. What matters is whether the client company understands its goals clearly and how responsibly it is prepared to choose the appropriate means to achieve them.

What kind of software developer you need

Based on the requirements of your project, you determine what kind of specialists you need and for how long.

In-house and remote software developers hiring options

First, deciding whether you need a permanent staff of full-time software developers is essential. It is related not only to the hiring process of specific specialists and its complexities, which we’ll touch upon below.

If you create an in-house team, you’ll also have to prepare the appropriate infrastructure for its full-scale work. In other words, in addition to finding and paying for IT talent, you will have to rent office space, buy PCs, software, office equipment, and supplies, organize a local network, possibly server hosting, and so on. While it isn’t a significant problem for large organizations, such spending is often an unaffordable luxury for small businesses and start-ups. On the other hand, the in-house team is always at hand, and its work is easy to organize and check the effectiveness of its work.

An alternative solution is to look for and hire remote software developers. In this case, the technical side of organizing their work is not your headache. It would help if you had reliable communication channels with remote employees for setting tasks and monitoring their execution. According to the lack of competencies, you can hire individual specialists or complete software development teams, delegating the work on a project to outsource.

Another advantage of hiring remote workers is the freedom from geographical bindings to the place where programmers live. On the one hand, it significantly expands the pool of available IT talents and, on the other hand, allows more flexible management of the money you spend on programmers’ salaries. It is not a secret that IT professionals from nearshore and offshore locations often differ only in the average cost of a worked hour on a project, while their hard skills and soft skills are often the same.

Yes, the significant distance of the employee can create certain challenges associated with the difference in time zones and cultural differences. However, the variety of countries conventionally considered offshore for the customer allows you to choose those with a favorable time difference and mentally close people to hire.

Finally, many remote worker schemes initially involve a temporary collaboration within an existing project. Therefore, it is much easier to part with remote employees, especially from distant countries, when their services are no longer needed, than with the dismissal of in-house employees.

What hard skills are needed

The next step is determining what specific professional knowledge and skills we need to achieve our project goals. And indeed, when hiring a software developer, we want to get at our disposal quite specific hard skills of a specialist and the level of expertise in his field.

Of course, the structure of the modern IT industry is too complicated even to try to fit it into one article, and the variety of specializations requires a reference book of an impressive volume. However, we can highlight the key specialties in demand on the market. First, to know what these programmers are directly engaged in and what knowledge they should have to do this. So, which software developers do you deal with most often?

The first thing you encounter when interacting with any software is its interface. Front-end developers are in charge of designing interface layouts and rendering them. The critical skills these specialists need are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, and Angular knowledge.

Front-end developers work closely with the UI/UX designer. Although this specialist cannot be called a software developer in the strict sense of the word, it is impossible to create a modern, attractive, and user-friendly interface without his work. Of course, his area of expertise is an industrial design and applied psychology.

The executive logic of software, hidden from its user’s eyes, including database management, data transfer protocols, pipelines, caching systems, and so on, is created by back-end developers. To work effectively, they need C++, Python, SQL, PHP, Ruby, and ASP.NET knowledge.

Universal Full-stack development specialists with solid knowledge of the technologies mentioned earlier perform Front-end and Back-end programming for various applications. These specialists’ high expertise allows clients to save significant money and time hiring one software developer instead of two, which might be necessary for projects at the startup or small business stage.

Web developers are involved in the creation of websites and web applications. Typically, their knowledge goes beyond the required minimum for front- and back-end development and may include proficiency in Java, Node, or Go.

Professionals developing applications for mobile devices typically have programming skills in Java, Objective-C, Kotlin, and Swift.

Developers in data science create software tools for collecting and analyzing big data streams and for predictive modeling based on these analytics. Among the required skills for professionals in this area, proficiency in SQL, Julia, Scala, R, and Python stand out.

QA developers specialize in testing software at different stages of its creation and quality control. QA engineers are often proficient in Java, C#, Python, and JS.

DevOps-engineer provides automation of the product development process, performing several specific tasks. The main among them is preparing software development and testing environments and monitoring their performance. In addition to the knowledge of special DevOps tools, specialists have at least one of the popular programming languages like Python, Golang, C/C++, JavaScript, Perl, Ruby, and others.

Of course, for the good work of your team and software product, you may need a variety of specialists, such as system administrators, support engineers, and security specialists. The scope of their competence should be specified, depending on the software platform and the technology stack used.

What’s about soft skills?

You already know what kind of programmers you need roughly, as well as what kind of technology stack they need to be proficient in. It’s a good time to think about which people you would find easier to work with and create a preliminary profile of a specialist you would like to see in your team.

Of course, relatively simple projects can be delivered by the efforts of just one hired freelance software developer. In this case, a lone-time coder’s hard skills are critical; that’s undeniable. However, the programmer’s personality and teamwork skills can be even more critical for complex projects involving a team of engineers from different IT domains.

Really, what do you expect from a developer as a team member? At this point, you need to formulate clear criteria for selecting programmers with whom you would be comfortable working together.

Decide whether you need an obedient and executive employee who will silently fulfill the work plan on time. Or, on the contrary, are you attracted to enterprising innovators who will challenge and offer many constructive solutions?

Evaluate how developed his communication and teamwork skills would have to be and in what situations he would have to use them.

Think about whether you need him to be creative and whether you want the programmer to feel like a co-author of your product. How much freedom are you ready to give a programmer willing to improve your product?

What is more important: talent or experience? Just think about which programmer is quicker to adapt to the demands of your project: the one who has worked on one project for a decade or the other whose three years of experience in the portfolio already have several completed projects in different areas? Do the potential candidate’s curiosity and breadth of vision matter to you in principle?

Although all programmers code, they do it differently. Did you know that those professionals who prefer to make “clean code” significantly save you money and nerves on finding and fixing problems with the code in the finished product?

Think about how your programmers should act in a non-standard or force majeure situation. How flexible would you expect them to be? Summarizing the results of the answers to these questions, you will get a rough image of the software developer you would be interested in hiring.

So we noted the types of programmers available to hire, listed the main specializations, and noted the essential personal qualities of employees. Using these parameters and analysis of the IT labor market, it will be easy for you to figure out how much it costs to hire a software developer that your project needs.

web app for management
Web app our software developers were hired to update

How to hire a software developer

If you have decided to recruit software developers yourself, the points above will help you decide who to hire and for what purpose. You already know the specialization of the programmer and the list of knowledge and skills required for the job. Now it is time to determine where to look for talents and how to attract them to the project. Let’s look at some practical tips that will optimize your search and hiring process.

  1. Since there is always a high demand for good specialists, and it doesn’t depend on their actual location, we recommend that you pay attention not to local ad boards but to professional communities of software developers, forums, and networks. You can get acquainted with potential candidates, their work, a vision of the industry development, and personal interests there. You may usually post your job ad there as well.
  2. Take into account the situation in the market and the demand for specific technologies. The same task can be solved differently, but the cost of coding services in one language may be higher than in another. First, it is possible because of the high demand and shortage of specialists in the first group.In addition, don’t rush to focus on the most advanced technological innovations, especially if your business area has already become traditional regarding software creation. Practice shows that the scarcity of available specialists in new industries leads to an increase in the cost of their services, on the one hand. On the other hand, new technologies require more time to create and test their frameworks to eliminate bugs and security vulnerabilities. You will have everything much easier and faster with an established technology that has worked well on other projects.
  3. Think about what related skills, in addition to the core skills, you would identify as an additional competitive advantage to the candidate. Would familiarity with AWS or Google Cloud or mastery of DevOps methodology be helpful to your ideal candidate?
  4. When formulating your job announcement, be clear about your intentions and expectations. It would help if you mentioned the area of specialization, level of expertise, required and additional skills, the scope of your activities, and the expected work mode. The clearer your request looks, the more likely the specialists you wish to see will respond.Do not write, “I need a developer to create an application like an A.” Firstly, serious specialists will not respond to it because they are usually already busy and working. And secondly, you’ll spend a lot of time sifting out responses from those who don’t meet your requirements at all.Another thing it looks like this: ” Senior Full-stack developer needed to work on an application in sphere A. Remote, full-time. Strong Angular.JS/Node.JS skills are required, and knowledge of AWS is appreciated.”
  5. Remember that you will have to offer competitive pay so that the professional you want is interested in working with you. If you don’t know how to do this with a limited budget and expensive native IT talent, look into the option to hire offshore software developers.
  6. Develop your hiring funnel. It should be a clear way for you to meet the candidates for the software developer position and assess their professional and personal qualities according to the criteria you have set out.Determine who will be involved in the screening and interviewing: you, your HR, or a technical consultant. At what stage do you anticipate testing programming skills before or after the interview?Establish a specific waiting period for a decision, and consider possible concessions if you negotiate terms of cooperation. Clearly outline the probationary period during which the approved candidate will demonstrate their abilities by working directly on your project.
  7. Use the services of a recruiting firm or professional IT company if you are not confident in finding good and competent developers. In this case, you will entrust the recruitment question to specialists in human resources. You will only have to interview the proposed candidates, who have already been screened for professional suitability, and choose the right one.Professional IT companies, such as Academy Smart, are best equipped to handle this task since experienced programmers with extensive work and project management experience assess candidate developers’ professional qualities.
  8. Don’t delay in making a decision, as most in-demand professionals often go through several interviews at once. In the case of equally interesting offers, a software developer will prefer to be hired where the cooperation agreement is signed faster.


Example of a software developer hiring funnel

Freelance

Usually, the decision to hire a freelance software developer is made to perform a variety of temporary work on a project, such as adding new features or fixing old ones, software updates, maintenance, etc. However, it is not uncommon for one programmer or group to become a company’s co-worker for a long time.

The search for freelancers is usually performed on specialized portals – freelance platforms. Such services allow the customer and the contractor to find each other, make deals and safely pay for the work performed after the client approves the result. Perhaps the most famous example of a freelance market is Upwork, although there are many international and national services.

A no less popular place to hire a team of freelance developers is the social network of professionals LinkedIn and its smaller analogs.

Outsourcing

Companies that outsource software development are, as a rule, fully staffed with qualified personnel. For this reason, many business owners prefer to delegate their application development to outsourcers rather than engage in the routine recruiting of specialists.

The advantage of the outsourcing model is that the software is developed on a turnkey basis: the outsourcer performs the development according to the customer’s vision of the product and involves the necessary resources and specialists to the required extent. In addition, the customer is not burdened by the salary and taxation of the developers involved in the project. According to the contract for outsourcing services, the payment is made for the whole project.

As a rule, outsourcing companies are widely represented online. They have their website-portfolio, accounts with social networks, and pages in special rating portals, among which the most authoritative is undoubtedly Clutch.co.

Outstaffing

Large outsourcing companies with a large staff of software developers in various areas often offer a specific hiring service called staff augmentation. This cooperation model is advantageous for those customers who need particular specialists rather than developing an entire project. An outstaffer developer, conventionally speaking, is rented by the customer for as long as he needs the services. It can be either partial (a few hours a week) or full-time participation, including overtime, which can also be stipulated in the contract. In this case, the outstaffed specialist is included in the client’s team and works on all the projects it develops.

The outstaffing service allows the customer to obtain the necessary competencies much faster, saving valuable resources on searching for and hiring software developers. In addition, it is easy enough to replace remote workers if they aren’t suitable for the team and to part with them when their services are no longer needed.

Note that the current IT outsourcing market is rather saturated with offers, so we recommend choosing a service provider as carefully as a particular software developer. Our review, Top 15 Highest Paying Software Jobs In 2023, will help you to orient yourself in the order of average prices for the services of Western IT specialists. Recall that offshore software development services are noticeably cheaper.

Team up with a specialist to hire a software developer

You may have noticed that finding a decent developer is a complex and demanding task. Like other responsible decisions, it requires time, planning, and thorough preparation. The lack of technical background and an understanding of the fundamentals of the software development process makes it even more difficult. The task of professional IT companies offering software development outsourcing and outstaffing services is to reduce the expense of valuable customer resources and help them to achieve their goals faster.

Academy Smart’s professional recruiters assist in finding and hiring top-notch software developers with high professional and communication skills. Quick access to specialists ready to work on projects of any level of complexity at a pleasant price of an offshore developer from Eastern Europe is a convenient and profitable solution for any Western company. Our clients from the Netherlands, Austria, Israel, Germany, etc., who have hired our specialists for outsourcing or staff augmentation, have already seen it for themselves. In this presentation, you may meet an overview of projects our team has already delivered.

Do you need competent programmers but need help finding them? Get in touch with the Academy Smart team, and our experts will do everything necessary to staff your team in the shortest time possible.

Hiring software developer: Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hire a team of developers?

The specific price depends on the location of the team, its composition, and the expertise level of its members. The average cost of an hour of work for software developers you can hire at Academy Smart is $30-60 per hour.

How to hire software developers for a startup?

  1. Create a focused list of job openings.
  2. Place ads on targeted boards or request outsourcing.
  3. Conduct interviews and technical screening.
  4. Arrange for a probationary period on the project.
  5. Sign a contract.
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