The Ins and Outs of Hiring a Developer

November 15th, 2013 by David Rothschild Leave a reply »

how to hire a coderIn business, hiring a software or app developer can be a critical decision. Whether you’re hiring for just one project or for ongoing work, developers / coders / programmers are key to bringing digital visions into reality.  For example, when entrepreneur Mike Lemovitz wanted to create a holiday app, he turned to the freelancer hub site Elance.com to search for a developer to do the job.

The Perks and Pitfalls of Freelance Developers

TheNextWeb covered the process in detail in their recent article. Lemovitz’s idea was simple: to create an app that would allow parents to have their children to send a message to Santa and also keep track of the good deeds they were doing. He made the app’s graphics himself in Photoshop and proceeded to post his job description on Elance.

Within minutes, Lemovitz received proposals from developers around the world. Bids ranged from just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars from developers with a variety of experience levels. He responded to a Chinese developer with a great portfolio and lots of positive feedback on Elance, and they were chatting on Skype within two hours of his posting. They eventually settled upon a price of $800 for the project paid in $200 installments at specific “milestones.” Lemovitz had hired his developer.

A New App is Born — Eventually

Within just two days the developer had the first version of the app ready to test. Lemovitz was thrilled — but this is about when the hiccups started. Some slight misunderstandings about procedures and money ensued, possibly due to a bit of a language barrier. The developer seemed to want to be paid before each milestone was reached, and at the end briefly held the project’s code “hostage” in exchange for a 5-star feedback rating. The project ended well and Lemovitz had his app two weeks later, but he also learned a lot about the potential pitfalls of hiring and working with developers.

Some considerations that can help you with the developer selection process include:

1. Portfolio

In app and sofware development, experience and proven success is key. Browse the developer’s portfolio and see what they’ve produced so far. Is their style and vibe a “fit” for your project(s)?

2. Recommendations

Ask for recommendations and feedback about the developer. Talk to past clients (if possible) and ask if they were satisfied with both the development process and the final result.

3. Find a Fit

If your developer will be working in-house, make sure they will be a “fit” for the culture of your company. For example, a developer who has mainly worked with small startups may not fare well at an established financial institution.

4. Start Small

Even if you’re hoping to hire for an ongoing relationship, start them out with a basic, non-critical project to get a sense of what they will be like to work with. Look for work ethic, creativity, communication, efficiency, and how they handle the unexpected.

5. Payment and Additional Work

Be clear about payment terms up front and get it in writing. Your contract should cover every base, including how bug fixes, graphics alterations and any other changes will be handled in terms of both time frame and payment.

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