In our era of connectivity, there’s a good chance that no matter the focus of your business, at some point you’ll need the help of an experienced software developer.
Software development professionals have to think both technically and creatively to design and deploy everything from apps to spreadsheets to games. With the right developer or team in place, you can craft software solutions that will set you apart from the crowd.
Of course, finding that great fit takes knowledge and patience. Whether you’re looking to hire a freelancer or want to partner with a software development agency, learning more about the field can help you find the developer that’s right for you and better equip you to communicate your needs to the professional that you choose.
When it comes to making a software development hire, employers typically go one of two routes: contracting a freelance software developer, or going through a software development agency to find the right fit.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right route for you will depend on what you’re looking for. Check out some of the pros and cons of each:
Reasons to hire a freelance software developer:
Reasons to hire a software development agency:
No matter the route you decide to take when making a great software development hire, there are important steps you can take to make sure you find the candidate best suited to you and your needs. Check out our step-by-step guide:
1. Define Your Needs
First things first: sit down to define your needs, as clearly and specifically as you possibly can.
During this time, you’ll also probably start to decide whether you’re looking for in-shore, off-shore, or near-shore software development companies. Here are the differences:
2. Do Your Research
Whether you’re going through an agency or putting out an ad for a freelancer, it’s critical that you do your research on every candidate you consider. Here are a few ways to do so:
3. Assess The Skills
Keep in mind that since software development is such a broad field, many developers have different levels of skills or specializations.
4. Set a Realistic Budget to Evaluate Your Options
Software development projects aren’t cheap. That’s for good reason—some form of software is the foundation of nearly every company, and it can be the factor that makes or breaks your business.
It’s not unusual to underestimate the scope of a software project. Some run over budget by as much as 50%, partially because of a lack of planning at the outset.
Make sure you take into account how many working parts go into software projects, including reworking after the product has been completed. That alone can account for as much as 40% of final expenses, and each year companies spend $312 billion on debugging after delivery.
When setting your budget, ask either the agency or the freelancer what their expectations are with their rate. Will they require overtime pay if the project goes beyond a certain number or hours, or will they put a limit on the amount of edits or debugs they’ll perform? If this is a customer-facing platform, what will debugging look like once it’s out in the world—will they stay on to perform customer support, or will they have to train people to do so?
Try to account for every potential issue you could run into during this process, and ask them how those would be included in their price.
5. Narrow Your Choices
Once you’ve clearly defined your needs and budgets, you should find it easy to narrow down your choices among the best candidates. Create a short list of your favorites, and dive even deeper into research of those candidates. You can look for more online reviews or references, follow up with more questions, ask for more detailed budget quotes, and reiterate your timeline to make sure they can work to meet your needs.
6. Be Willing to Walk Away
Ultimately, since software development is so critical, you need to be 100% certain about any hire. If you see a red flag, walk away rather than push past it. Even if you’ve put a small deposit down, letting that go could save you the thousands you’d lose down the line if the developer was unable to complete a project to your specification or budget.
One crucial component of this: make sure your hire is a two-way fit. You might be excited about a candidate’s specialized skill set, but find their communication style doesn’t really mesh with your company’s culture. Or, you could find a candidate that you personally connect with and feel energized by their enthusiasm, but sense their experience just doesn’t align with your needs.
It’s better to trust your judgement and move on to someone else than be halfway through a project that’s riddled with avoidable problems.
Even when following the above steps, companies can still make mistakes when it comes to hiring the best software developer. Here are some key ones to avoid:
Don’t know where to begin your candidate search? Check out Rocketplace’s curated marketplace to find top-quality hires today!