Software developers are one of the most in-demand professions on the market right now. The US Bureau of Labour Statistics suggests that demand will grow upwards of 20% within 6 years. This is because with more and more work moving online, and with technological devices becoming more popular, more companies need experts in developing apps, systems, and networks to keep up to speed in such a fast-moving modern world.
This article looks to do a few things, for one, it will assess the role of a software developer and why your company might need one. Then it will detail what qualities they should have and how you might go about hiring one. Finally, it will give you a list of 6 places you can go to online to find the best software developer for your specific job.
What is a Software Developer and Why Might you Need One
Simply put, a software developer creates computer programs for people or companies so that they can use it for a specific task. Their job is to build it, test it and maintain it. Their level of expertise can be versatile and can be suited to a variety of different coding languages, each of which has a different role.
These are just a few reasons why you might hire a software developer. However, what qualities does a good software developer have?
What qualities should a software developer have?
A strong portfolio
This links into the versatility point, if a developer has a solid portfolio with a lot of work, it will become clearer if they are versatile. Most software developers will have a link to their portfolio on their profiles or in their proposals. GitHub is the most popular site for developers to show off their work. So, if you are part of a company looking to objectively hire the best developer that fits the mold for what you need, looking at their profiles on GitHub is an objective way of doing so.
This ties in to the above two parts, a software developer with experience will have a larger portfolio and may well have more knowledge of other coding languages. A developer with a good knowledge of codes, programs, and servers as well as experienced with a solid portfolio is the ideal candidate to hire.
Skilled with large data
Being competent in completing projects with large amounts of data attached is a quality that all software developers should have. Particularly with the way that the world is moving now with AI and machine learning being introduced. Software and data is becoming much more vast and being able to work efficiently under that pressure is crucial.
How to hire a software developer
I would say that there are 3 golden rules when looking to hire a software developer. Each of them are effective, but if combined, they prove to be a near fool proof strategy.
1. Be Specific
Being specific in what you want only makes the software developers life easier. Especially if you are uploading a post for various freelance developers to apply on. Being specific to exactly what you need done will help the developer identify if they are a good fit for your project. You have to remember that there are different kinds of code and while some developers may be particularly strong in Java or in Linux, they could be weak in SQL. If you don’t specify that you need coding done for marketing projects which usually requires SQL, and they apply because you did not specify, you are wasting everyone’s time.
2. Use social media, not job boards
Generally, the good developers don’t find work, work finds them. So, you are unlikely to see qualified software developers roaming on job boards, most of the good ones are in high demand. A good way to potentially catch a software developer that may not be in high demand is through posting on social media. If they stumble across your post when on social media, there is always a chance they could be in touch, and regardless of how good or busy you are, everybody uses social media. It is a largely untapped resource for finding work, so use this to your advantage.
3. Have a paid trial period
This may not always be possible but offering a paid trial period can be a good way to see how they will work and what they are like. It also gives them a chance to see what you are like and what you can expect from them.
Best Places to Find Potential Candidates
As well as knowing what makes a good software developer and how best to attract their attention, now you just need to know where to look for them. Below is a list comprised of six of the best sites you can use to hire a software developer, many of them support freelance work and each of them has their own pros and cons. This article will make them clear so that you can make your decision on which one you want even easier.
Without a doubt, the most popular freelancing platform where freelancers can bid to work with you is Upwork. All you need to do is sign up as a client and add your job posting. A feature that I particularly like is that you can invite top rated freelancers to make proposals to come and work for you. If you guess multiple candidates, you will also see a “best match” icon beside the developers that best fit the criteria that you are looking for.
You can be billed via a flat fee (usually short-term project) or an hourly fee (better for long term projects). The service is easy to use and navigate and you get the option to invite top software developers to view your post, as well as having other freelance software developers apply too via the job feed. Upwork is perfect for both short-term and long-term work and offers great protection against scams with money being held in escrow until you are happy. 10/10.
Another great platform, TopTal is ideal for those looking to hire software developers because it is a platform catered for software developers and designers. It protects you against potentially weak software developers by offering a very rigorous screening process. Those who apply must undergo a communication and personality review along with live tests to evaluate expertise.
There is then a test project, which they have two to three weeks to complete. Usually there is a 3 to 5% pass rate, and freelancers are expected to maintain an excellent track record. While this is amazing for people looking to hire a quality software developer, it is a bit of a nightmare for software developers looking to find platforms to freelance on.
In saying that, the site is easy to use, and clients can set up an account and hire a software developer very quickly. It is perhaps a little too strict in its vetting, but TopTal ensures guaranteed quality. This site is best for larger projects, freelance software developers won’t have gone through all of that verification and expect to just do small jobs. 7/10.
Another platform best suited to long term projects is YouTeam. I love YouTeams colourful interface and its vast Bank of 20,000 + software engineers. A cool feature is how under each freelancers’ name, they can have little colored boxes which specify to the client what areas they are best in, e.g Java or Linux. It makes the process of hiring more manageable.
Again, the purpose of YouTeam is to find a software developer to join your team, so if you want to hire for short term work, I would not recommended, but for longer term work it is a quality platform. The vetting process is strict and the developers that you hire are dedicated only to your project.
A nice feature on the site is that you don’t even have to recruit, simply set up the parameters of what you need and the YouTeam database sends developers to you based on what you need, everyone wins. You get the developer that best suits the job, and the developer gets work. 9/10.
If it is shorter term work that you want to hire for, an alternative to Upwork is Codementor. This site is particularly good because as the name suggests, it focuses on coders only. As you would hope, the site is powerful in its recruiting capabilities, using AI software to help present you with the most accurate shortlist of candidates possible for your job.
The support team is highly responsive, and it is a highly regarded place for coders to go because of its high caliber vetting process. However, because of this standard, you would want to be ready to pay good money. Quality developers are an asset, but their services don’t come cheap. A good platform for catering to short- and longer-term projects. 7/10.
Another well-known marketplace for digital freelancers is Fiverr. If you are looking to hire for a short-term project of yours, you can search for exactly what you need on Fiverr. It contains both regular filters and smart filters that let you narrow your search and find exactly what you want. It is a good place to hire a software developer if you need a website updated or something small.
But Fiverr is not the place to post longer term contracts or find long term work. Freelancers on the platform have specific packages they offer and usually unless it can be specifically discussed, what you need will have to fit into one of their packages.
It is easy to find a competent software developer though and you can look through portfolios without the need to register. It is ideal for either individual business or larger companies looking to find developers. Only shorter gigs are available however and Fiverr does not have the strongest vetting process, so it may lack the quality of others on the list. 6/10
If you are looking to hire a software developer on another site, Freelancer is like Upworks twin brother. It is a good place for more inexperienced developers to go because of its less strict vetting process and this means that you can hire at a cheaper rate if you wish. That isn’t to say that Freelancer is without its reputable software developers.
It contains a wide variety of talents and like Upwork, is good for both short- and longer-term projects. There are good price points for freelancers and if you do find a developer, you can have them download a time tracker application (like Upwork) and can monitor their hours.
The main issue with platforms like Upwork and Freelancer is that one job post can potentially attract hundreds of freelancers. This is where sites like Codementor and YouTeam can be best for short-term and long-term work, respectively. They give quick and concise recommendations straight to you based on who is best for the job. 7/10