Hiring freelance developers is an essential task for most businesses trying to break into the tech market or create an impressive online presence. Without developers, no matter how great your idea for an app or website is, it’ll never get off the ground. Consequently, it’s crucial that you know how to hire the developers best-suited to your needs, goals, and habits so that you make sure to get the most bang for your buck. Since most of us don’t spend the majority of our days hanging out around freelance developers, it’s vital that you know what makes a good developer and where you might be able to find one. Consider these guidelines before making any hire; though they’re not hard and fast rules, they’ll definitely push you in the right direction.
Use a website
This is the easiest step. You’re not going to meet your ideal developer at a dinner party, your friend’s birthday, or at a spin class. Thankfully, there are dozens of websites that can help match you with great developers whose skills are tailored to your project. The websites charge a commission, but it’s definitely worth it. At the lower end of the cost spectrum, with companies like Guru and Upwork, you still get access to a fairly large number of developers. The only issue with sites like these is that they don’t feature an independent verification process, so you have to rely on customer reviews to determine who’s good and who’s not. While that might work out, you also might end up with an inferior developer. Higher quality sites, like Toptal, feature a rigorous verification process that ensures that any developer you get connected with will be an ace.
Think it out
Just because you don’t know how to code doesn’t mean that you should be vague about what you want. You should explain to potential developers exactly what sort of project you have in mind; if you have an app, you should consider what features you want it to have, what different levels of membership might look like, and how you plan on reaching customers. The developer’s job isn’t to tell you what the app should be, but rather how to build it. That said, good developers with plenty of experience might also have some helpful input about how to improve your idea, so be open to feedback.
Plan the payment
You should try to get an idea of what a reasonable quote for your project is to make sure both that you stay within budget and so that you can come to an understanding with your developer before the work starts. Make sure your contract is fairly specific, and that both sides know what’s expected of them. Nothing is worse than finding out halfway through your project that you’re going to have to ask your developer to perform an additional task, and that they’re unwilling to commit to it without a raise that will take you over-budget. Once payment is worked out, make sure you have a secure platform with which to pay your developer, and always pay on time.
Follow-up and feedback
You can’t just hand off your project to a developer and expect them to give it back to you 100% completed to your specifications. While you want to avoid hovering over their work every minute of the day, you should also make sure that you’re giving them regular feedback and checking in on them to see how things are going, and to see if there are adjustments you’d like to make that you hadn’t considered before your product began to take shape.
Just because you’re not the one doing the developing doesn’t mean that you don’t need to learn a thing or two. In addition to knowing what you want your particular product to look like, you should also familiarize yourself with the basics of the relevant software engineering information. This will help you understand how your product can best function, give you a good idea of how much work might be involved in developing it, and assist you in picking a developer whose skills match your needs.
Balance talent and tech skills
On the one hand, you want to make sure that your developer has skills that are relevant for your project. If you’re looking to build a server-side framework, then someone with experience in C, C++ or Python would be ideal. On the other hand, you want to find as talented a developer as possible, and sometimes the best developer’s skills won’t quite match up with the ones you’re looking for. In these cases, it’s important to consider the length of the contract you’re proposing. If it’s a longer contract, keep in mind that software skills lose their usefulness every few years and that a good developer can probably pick up new skills similar to their current ones fairly quickly. If you’re negotiating a shorter contract, then it’s probably best to prioritize skills over innate talent, since it’ll take a developer too long to learn a new language.
This article is written by Irina Papuc from Toptal as Guest Writer.