Working on a software project has the potential to be be smooth sailing, but only if the developer’s skill set and character matches what you are looking for. It’s frustrating to end up working with someone inefficient who can't deliver what is expected of them. It’s a total waste of all the resources — time and money — you invest.
With over 12% growth in employment of developers, how can you find a good one to work with? In this post, we’ll cover 7+ proven strategies you can try in finding great developers and also cover a 5-step process of filtering out applicants to end up with the best ones to work with for your software development project.
Let’s start by discussing the process.
The Process Of Finding Good Developers
While this process is not set in stone, it can guide you on what to look for in a good developer. It’ll help you narrow down your selection to only those that fit your requirements so you can finish off with a successful project smoothly.
I. Conduct A Language And Personality Test
A software development project won’t be successful if you can’t communicate your vision with the developer you’ll be working with. In many cases, you’ll likely work with a developer with the same language. However, some candidates with a different primary language may fit all the qualifications you’ve set.
Instead of immediately hiring such an impressive and high-quality candidate, it’s best to ask them communication skill questions that won’t just allow you to know them better but also let you gauge if they can communicate their thoughts well in your language and comprehend the instructions you give.
Some of the questions you can ask are:
- How would you describe yourself?
- Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
- Why do you think you are a good fit for this role?
- Describe a conflict you’ve faced and how you addressed it.
- What did you learn in your years of experience as a developer?
- Can you work well with other people? Do you think you’re a team player?
Other than testing out if a candidate can communicate with you well, it will be greatly beneficial if you can assess their personality as well. No matter how great a candidate’s technical skills are if they don't have the right attitude on the job, working with them will become a challenge in the long run which will be detrimental for you, the project, and your business.
You can find free personality tests online that can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a particular candidate. Granted, there’s no perfect developer or coder, but knowing their weaknesses along with their strengths will tell you if it’s something you can deal with or something that will cause you unnecessary problems.
II. Timed Algorithm Test
A timed algorithm test isn’t meant to be tyrannical over your developer candidates. Instead, it’ll help you gauge the tech’s talent. During the algorithm test, check for the candidate’s intellect, problem-solving ability, and computer science fundamental skills.
Do two or more tests from the following algorithm categories:
- Linked list
- Number theory
- BIT manipulation
- Binary search tree
- Sorting and searching
- Dynamic programming
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. There are other algorithm tests closer to the software project you’ll be doing so you can do a test on that area too.
III. Technical Screening
In the third testing stage, carry out live coding exercises based on the developer candidate’s mastered tech stack. If you’re wondering what a tech stack is, it’s a set of programming languages, libraries, key tools, and technologies used to run the software.
Again, this is a technical test, if you have an in-house tech expert, it’s best to let them sit in on the exercise so they can gauge the candidate’s output.
IV. Test Projects
Now that you found someone with great soft skills and technical skills, is it time to hand in the full-blown software project? Not just yet.
To make sure everything will go smoothly, especially if you’re considering long-term partnerships, test out on short-term projects first. These are 1-3 week projects you can run to ensure the developer candidate’s project management, thoroughness, integrity, and professionalism along with their programming abilities.
V. Successive Excellence Tests
If you’re looking to hire developers to work on more than one project, chances are their performance will diminish in the long run. Though this is not a generalization, some developers tend to slack off after a few projects.
To keep hired developers on their best foot, orient them about excellence tests. These are periodic tests you’re going to execute to gauge their efficiency. The test can be on debugging or a new technology you want them to learn. Of course, you’ll get them motivated if you incentivize tests like these.
A talented developer is one with multi-faceted skills. It isn’t just about being both a frontend developer and a backend developer at the same time. It’s also about having great intuition, process management skills, and other soft skills equipping them to be a team player and to function under pressure.
If you need a sort of checklist to refer to in gauging if a developer is good or not, here’s one you can use:
- Do they write clean code? Is it easily understandable/well-commented by their teammates?
- Do they display remarkable knowledge of development technologies in their field?
- Do they understand and employ programmers’ common best practices?
- Are they knowledgeable and do they use development methods like agile development?
- Do they have great technical and non-technical communication abilities?
- Are they equipped with intuitive understanding and great development sense?
- Are they capable of integrating development needs given some present constraints?
- Are they modest enough to acknowledge their limitations and disclose languages and technologies they haven't mastered yet?
- When tasked with a project, do they communicate in advance if they need assistance from other experts?
Remember, a good developer isn’t just a talented developer, but is one with great character.
Now, on to the best part: the strategies you can try on to find the good developer candidates to shortlist for an interview.
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GitHub houses a wealth of treasures especially since it’s the biggest software development platform to date. Widely used by over 31 million developers, GitHub is a good place to search for great developers, coders, programmers, or software engineers that use various programming languages.
Developers host, review, manage and share their coding projects in this platform to collaborate, use, and make further improvements. You can evaluate their sample works first before deciding to contact one to work with.
GitHub has a Repositories section where you can find public and forked (copied) projects. To gauge a developer’s project’s overall functionality, you can find out how many “fork” or “star” a project has (it indicates that other developers find their project valuable)
Other than the Repositories section, you can also access GitHub’s Jobs Board. In it, you can post a job description of the developer you’re looking to hire so you can reach a wide array of potential applicants you can later shortlist.
You can also indicate if it’s web development or an app development project if you need iOS or Android developers, remote developers, freelance developers, and other pertinent information that will narrow down your choices further to only those qualified for the job. This avoids wasting time both for you and them.
3. Developer Conferences
A developer company usually hosts conferences or tech meetups to find more talents to work with. You can leverage these events to find good developers to work for you as well. You can go online and search for regular tech meetups for annual developer conferences and register to be part of it.
To ensure you’ll be making the most of your time, confirm that the tech meetup or developer conference you’re looking to attend has delegates similar to the specific developer you’re looking for. Some conferences focus on certain programming languages, skills, or tech stacks. Make sure you’re in the right one.
When at the conference or meetup, scout for developers and see some of their sample work, ask them too if they can recommend someone who can work on the project you’re going to make. They either point you to the right person or manifests their expertise to be recognized as a qualified candidate for the role.
4. Developer Communities And Forums
Another strategy to consider when looking for good developers is to get involved in a developer community or two as well as developer forums. Here, you can directly ask people about software development projects you’re having and who might be interested to apply.
You can also use this strategy to scout and find developers that offer good insight and solutions to problems or share recent works they’ve successfully finished. Once you find someone who has the skill set you need for your project, you can set up an interview to see who can pass an initial screening.
A key point to remember is that developer communities and forums have rules they follow. Many of them expect you to engage at a certain level first before attempting to recruit someone for a project. Hence it’s best to find out the house rules first before you needlessly break them and get warned or banned from the forum or community.
Some developer communities you can consider are:
LinkedIn is a platform where you can find in-house, remote, full-time, and freelance developers. It allows you to look into candidates’ resumes and CVs as well as their connections you can branch out to in case who you're currently looking at falls short of your qualifications. If they do qualify, you can look at their connections to make a more informed decision about the developer.
This strategy can also be combined with other strategies like joining conferences, communities, and forums. Once you find potential candidates in the latter methods, you can dig deeper into their identity and experiences using LinkedIn.
6. Coding Challenge Websites
Talented developers who perform excellently on coding challenges most likely get featured on those sites, often, they have leaderboards that show the top winners for specific challenges. This can be a strategy you’d like to consider as well.
In coding challenge websites, you can search for good developers by specific skill sets that include codes they have written.
These sites often come with forums so you can check those out as well. When questions are posed, find out who provides solutions the most. It’s indicative of the skill level that particular developer has given you a level of assurance about the success of your project when you decide to work with them.
Some coding websites you can look at are:
If one stands out on the list, it would be HireVue. It provides you with coding challenges you can use when filtering out candidates by skill level.
If you’re looking for thought leaders in the field, consider checking out app developer or web developer blogs. In this strategy, you’ll find web development gurus that are suggestive of their field and level of expertise.
Technical posts on web development give valuable insight about a developer’s coding skills, approach to problem-solving, and technical acumen in the field they are experts in.
More often than not, blogs have comment sections where people express their praise for the web developer’s knowledge or pose questions they need help with. You can also leverage this to perceive the developer’s technical acumen.
8. Freelance Marketplaces
Freelance platforms like the three we’ll consider below are also good places to find developers looking to be hired.
You can either post a job description on this platform or search through thousands of freelancers, narrowing down your choices using the web search engine it comes with.
B) We Work Remotely
This freelance platform gets 900,000+ visitors every month. If you’re looking to hire remote web or app developers (nearshore or offshore), this is a good place to look for.
Gun.io offers vetted developers. Candidates go through a comprehensive vetting process from a coding exam to a live coding exercise down to a technical interview from Gun.io’s engineering team.
Hiring from Gun.io ensures you get tested developers working on your software development project.
9. Sponsor Developer Events
Other than joining communities and developer conferences, if you have the resources for it, it’s also a good strategy to host developer parties. Doing it gets you a bunch of talented developers under your roof which makes developer candidate selection faster and easier.
Just remember that people who attend these events are looking to expand their network and hopefully find potential clients they can work with. So it’s best to avoid pitching business offers, whether from you or any of the attendees.
Last thing to keep in mind, since this is supposed to be a party of some sort, make sure everybody has a good time. Otherwise, it’ll be the first and last party you’ll be able to host with many potential attendees to expect.
Ensure that everybody is engaged and arranging a game or two can be fun as well. Leave a good impression in the developer community so that the next time they hear about your brand, they’ll be eager to help you out in finding the right developer to do a job for you.
10. Slack Channels
If you think Slack channels are only to communicate with your team members, think again. Slack has grown in popularity over time as more and more developer companies use them. More than that, developer networks also create their Slack channels to collaborate.
Some channels are open to the public while others require an invitation. Start with the public channels and work your way to building your network so you can get invited into private developer Slack channels.
As you join these channels, you get in touch with fresh tech talents to widen your pool of potential developers to work with.
If you’re worried about finding relevant developer communities, let SlackList do wonders for you. It lists down a handpicked selection of popular groups that may have the people you're looking for.
You can also find developer channels using relevant hashtags like:
- iOS developers
- Frontend developers
- Backend developers
- App developer
- Web developer
- Best developers
While many use hashtags for social media, you can also leverage this technology in finding the right developer communities that could be home to the talented developer you’re looking for.
There are a lot of strategies you can leverage to find good developers to work with. But before you go scouring the internet for one, determine first what kind of skills are needed for the project you’re looking to work on. This way you’ll be able to find the right developers to do the job.
Test out one strategy at a time and see what works best for you. However, if you want to streamline the outsourcing process, you can always ask us for assistance. Whether you’re looking for a long-term developer or just a software specialist to augment a periodic demand, using these strategies will help you find the best developer to work with.
If you’d like us to give you a hand in finding good developers for you, feel free to email us at [email protected].