Likely you’ve realized by now that not everybody who labels themselves as software engineers are cut out to do the job. Some lack the skills, others lack the work ethic.
Still, that’s no reason to settle for average IT talent to work on your software project. Doing so will only cause you headaches moving forward. In this post, we’ll go over the important points in finding a great software developer to work with.
- What to look for in software developers
- What to avoid when picking IT talents
- Defining what kind of software engineer you need
- A 4-step process in finding a talent pool of qualified developer candidates
- Where to find your software developers
Whether you only need one software engineer to work with or a whole web development team, you’ll find this guide helpful in discovering a talent pool worth working with and picking the right one to do the job.
Why Hire Great Software Developers?
Hiring great software developers is much like recruiting the best players for your team - they bring home the bacon. Great IT talents bring excellence to the table, something you’d need in a fast-paced technology-driven field like software development.
They get you high-quality results: they work more efficiently and are cost-effective investments.
But the thing is, they’re not easy to find. Both long-time and startup businesses are putting more focus on digital acceleration to reach a wider market. Great software developers are spread too thin among organizations hunting for their services.
As the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the demand for IT talents is expected to exponentially grow to 21% by 2028. Compare this to other jobs that just average 5% in demand.
Without a solid system in place, you’ll have lesser chances of finding the right developer candidates to choose from. On the flip side, knowing the right approach will connect you to the best software developers, resulting in well-made software, and give you a significant edge over your competitors.
Before considering the 4-step process, let’s first discuss what you should look for and what you should avoid when undergoing the hiring process for the best software developers.
6 Things To Look For In Software Developer Candidates
When considering IT talents to hire, here are some evaluation points you can include in your hiring workflow checklist. This will be helpful whether you’re looking for a remote freelance software developer to work solo or be a team member, looking for a developer to augment a temporary need for your development team, or even when outsourcing the entire software development project to third-party services.
1. Look For A Smart Software Engineer
It’s been said that if you’re the smartest person in the room, chances are, you’re in the wrong room. This can prove true when scouting for IT talents. Whether you’re an entrepreneur who has zero to no knowledge in software development or an IT specialist yourself, the top talents are those who are smarter than you.
There are a whole lot of types of smarts, who you’re looking for should have the intelligence needed for your project. More about defining the type of developer for specific projects later.
But more than just intelligence in technical skills, look for a software developer who’s excellent in problem-solving. These types are those that can push great software forward. More often than not, issues will come up throughout the software development process, whether it is for a computer or mobile app development. Having a problem-solver IT talent to work with will get you to the solutions needed to fix the project and keep it progressing.
2. Look For A Flexible Polyglot
It’s quite impossible to master all the programming languages, tools, algorithms, and frameworks. There are just too many and almost every day, advancements in these technologies happen to shift the way software developers approach development problems.
However, rather than aiming to find someone who is a total expert in just one language, it’s always best to find software engineers who know about two or more technologies. Look for someone versatile. It’ll be more cost-effective this way.
Think about this, if you’re working on a mobile app development project, chances are, your target users will be from different operating systems, some use Android, while others IOs. Even if you intend to have different developers working on these different environments, having someone who knows about both will mean you have a go-to person to augment a need whenever it arises.
Great software developers aren’t just problem-solvers, they are also open-minded people who are flexible enough to expand their knowledge and skills. Because the reality is, technology won’t lay dormant, it’ll continue to evolve so they have to continually learn about new technologies to keep up in the industry.
3. Look For A Communicator And Collaborator
An extra-passionate software developer can move the work fast even when alone, but it takes collaboration with others to go far. Sometimes, a project can be finished by a single person. But at some point, any developer will have to work with others to make things better.
Hence, a good communicator is needed to unify the team’s efforts and streamline workflows. Think about it, as a business owner or team leader, you’ll highly be unlikely to put all responsibilities in one person. And because of the diverse characteristics of each one, strong collaboration is needed.
A high-quality software development project stems from developers that aren’t only capable of fulfilling their specific roles but can also augment the needs of others in the team. This is especially true when working with agile methodologies.
For this to happen, clear communication is needed. Without clear communication, team members won’t be on the same page, things would go haywire for a software development team with people working in different directions which will only slow down the process. This goes true for both in-house and remote developers working in the same team.
Additionally, strong communication skills are also needed from developers so they can clearly comprehend your project’s vision and accurately communicate their thoughts about it.
4. Look For A Creative Developer
Of course, you already have your vision for your project, but a creative developer will add color to it. They can add features that contribute to the functionality and good user experience. So while theoretical and technical skills are vital, creativity is needed to drive innovation to the project.
You’ll need people who are quick on their feet, who can work effectively with the team as you brainstorm before the actual building process. With creative developers, you’ll have a wider perspective or a new angle to consider when creating your software project.
5. Look For A Clean Coder
Sure, software development is a complex process. However, clean coders make the work easier especially when it comes to maintenance, troubleshooting, and future updates.
You can test for these using coding tests, a common practice in a software development hiring process. Great developers can make complex work look like it’s easy.
On the other hand, if you hire messy coders, you’ll just make it harder to develop the project and make it harder for developers to collaborate with others. As a whole, it’ll slow down operations.
6. Look For Talent Over Experience
If you’re at a crossroads between a talented developer and an experienced developer, go for the former. This does not imply experience isn’t important. It is vital if you want the project done in a specific way.
However, if you’re looking to bring in something fresh to the project, out-of-the-box innovations that will help set the edge over your competitors, talented developers are what you should prioritize.
But keep in mind that different software projects call for different kinds of developers. Which one do you need? Let’s consider them below.
Defining The Different Types Of Developers
Developers come in different shapes and sizes, which one do you specifically need for your project? You’ll have to identify this at the outset because it’s a key factor in the hiring process, especially when you’re creating your job post.
In this section, we’ll delve a little deeper into the different kinds of developers and see their skill sets and abilities to understand how each one can impact a project and help you identify which ones you’ll need for yours.
I. Front-End Developers
II. Back-End Developers
As the name suggests, back-end developers are those who specialize on the backside of the software, the area where logic is applied to help the software run. It includes pipelines, caching systems, and database management. The skills needed here are C++, PHP, SQL, Ruby, Python, and ASP.NET.
III. Full-Stack Developers
Full-stack developers, jack-of-all-trades as some would call them, are the experts of both front-end and back-end development. They are proficient in all the languages initially mentioned.
IV. Web Developers
V. Mobile Developers
Simply, these developers are those who work on creating mobile software. The development languages they should be proficient in are Java, Kotlin, Objective-C and Swift.
VI. UX/UI Designers
Some wouldn’t categorize UX/UI designers as developers, but these types of experts are essential when building software. Their main responsibility is to attract users by making the project engaging and user-friendly.
VII. Data Science Developers
These kinds of programmers focus on creating software solutions that will help organizations collect, analyze, and come up with actionable insights from the data gathered. They specialize in analytics and statistical analysis, creating predictive models to scale businesses. These developers are proficient in Scala, SQL, R, Julia, and Python.
VIII. DevOps Engineering
These developers are IT experts that take responsibility for overseeing and managing relationships between company operations and the development team. Their main task is to work with the development team in building, implementing, and maintaining software means systems via agile methodologies.
IX. QA and Testing
QA and testing developers are those that check if the software is fulfilling its supposed functionality and goals or not. They are the ones who review the project for flaws, bugs, and points of improvement. With their help, the software is ensured to be high-quality.
X. Support Engineering
Support engineers take care of the software maintenance including guaranteeing its reliability, uptime, and optimal functionality. They are usually made part of a software development team for large-scale projects needing regular performance monitoring.
Now that we’ve covered what needs to be kept in mind when hiring software developers and how to identify which one you need, let’s consider for a minute or so about what you need to steer clear of when hiring a developer.
3 Things To Avoid When Hiring A Developer
1. Avoid Deficient Onboarding Practices
Proper onboarding goes a long way in bringing every software developer on the team on the same page. Rather than throwing them into the wild immediately after getting hired, it’s best if they get oriented on the project's goals, current challenges, responsibilities, workflows, and work culture.
2. Avoid Unclear Expectations
Assumptions shouldn’t have room in your software development team. Avoid curveballs that lead to a lot of clashing ideas between team members. Communicate to your newly hired software developer what the team currently has, and how they can complement the abilities of those already working on the team. This way, they can deliver more value, avoid crashes, and result in higher quality output.
3. Avoid Misleading Job Descriptions
This is the reason I’ve outlined the different kinds of developers, you’ll need them to avoid misleading or insufficient job descriptions. Right from the job post, identify the kind of developer you need, the skills they need to have, and the descriptive background of the project. This way they’ll know right off the bat if they qualify or not, saving everybody’s time.
Nothing worse than hiring a developer for something that ends up doing another. Unless you clearly outline the job description, you’ll be primarily at fault for this confusion. Project management will be easier for team leaders if everybody knows what’s expected of them and what’s not.
4-Step Software Developer Hiring Process
Step 1: Specific And Targeted Job Listing
Simply saying, “we need someone to create a food delivery app” or “we need a collaboration tool like Slack” won’t cut it. As mentioned earlier, this will lead to a lot of confusion and a high turnover rate.
If you’re targeting top-tier candidates, you have to specifically outline what kind of developer you need, what programming languages they need to be proficient in, the soft skills you expect them to have, and the work arrangements: whether it’s a part-time or full-time role.
You can also include where you’re from and if you're only interested in hiring locally or are open to nearshoring or offshoring the software project.
Being as detailed as you can help potential candidates immediately assess if they should even apply in the first place or not.
Step 2: Look For Them In Developer Job Boards And Communities
Chances are, great developers already have clients at hand, they’re less likely to hang out on generic job boards. To attract the right kind of people, take advantage of developer-specialized job boards and communities.
Even those who have current clients or employers or clients will still keep in touch with others on forums and communities to ask or answer others’ questions. Search on sites like Dice, GitHub, CrunchBoard, and StackOverflow. Many of these sites have job boards integrated into them where you can post about a developer role you’re looking to fill.
However, this can take some painstaking searching and contacting each potential candidate you find. Whereas if you contact us at Aloa, we’ll do all the vetting to identify which potential candidates will best fit your business needs.
Added to that, with our vetting process in place, you’ll already have a level of confidence in the candidates’ ability, experience, and quality of work.
Step 3: Do A Skill Test
Resumes and portfolios can make developers sound incredible, but only testing will prove they can walk the talk. Take advantage of programming tests from DevSkiller, TestDome, Kaggle, CodeSignal, and Toggl.
Step 4: Do A Paid Test Period
After proving their skill set, you should also test out how their work ethics are to ensure they’re a good fit for your goals and vision for the project. Doing a paid test period will ensure you’ll have good working relations with them and also test out their work relations with others in the team.
By the end of this test, you’ll see if they have the communication and collaboration skills expected of them.
Where To Find Potential Candidates
Blogs And Technical Postings
Blogs and technical postings offer valuable insight into the developer’s technical skills, problem-solving skills, and soft skills. If they can explain a project well, there’s a good chance they can produce high-quality software projects.
Open Source Code Contributors
Sites like SourceForge and GitHub provide you with highly qualified candidates where you’ll also see code samples to evaluate if they’re a good fit for the job.
Coding Competition Sites
Sites like CodeChef, HackerRank, and TopCoder have leaderboards showing challenge winners you can consider hiring.
But if there’s one thing in common with these three developer sources, it’s that you have to do all the hard work of scouting and vetting candidates yourself. This can be time-consuming and frustrating especially if you have limited knowledge of the industry.
A great way to go is to outsource with us at Aloa. We’d already handpicked qualified candidates, vetted them ourselves so you don’t have to. Just tell us what kind of developer you need and we’ll provide you with a shortlist of qualified candidates to choose from. We will do all the heavy lifting required in finding expert developers to help you realize your visions.
Finding great software developers shouldn’t be too hard to do once you have a solid hiring system in place. With this guide, you’ll have a list of what to look for in a developer, what to avoid when hiring, and a step-by-step process you can easily follow complete with places to scout developers from.
If you need more help in making the developer hiring process easier on your end, feel free to contact us at email@example.com.