Finding Developers: A World of Options

Discover a variety of methods for finding developers around the world – some that might surprise you – and find out the pros and cons of each.

So you’ve done your research and you’ve got a killer app-idea – but alas, your coding knowledge goes about as far as trying to remember your phone’s pin code. That means it’s time to delve into finding, and then hiring a developer to help you bring your masterpiece to life.

If you’ve never gone through the process before, you might be wondering where in the world to start? That can be daunting to think about, especially given that many people have come to realize that using all the tools that are available – literally searching for help across borders, time zones and hemispheres –  can take a lot of time, but presents the most options.

Perhaps you’ve ventured down the path before, only to come up short of your expectations and – despite your initial thinking – over your initial budget?

Whatever your situation, it’s always good to know that you have options and what they are. Let’s explore some of the more and less common ways of finding your next app developing kingpin…

Before we get into the assortment of viable options, there are a few things to carefully consider when seeking out your next developer:

  • Cultivating a relationship: to get respect you need to give it back, show appreciation and interest in the other person and they will be happier and more productive, 9 times out of 10.

  • Thinking long term: the goal is to build your own app ‘empire’, so you’ll want someone you can rely on so you avoid repeating this process time and time again. Even if goals are on a smaller scale, establishing a long term relationship will help get your developer  in the team-spirit and more invested in what your goals are, too.

  • Quality over cost: efficient, high-performance apps, that load fast and don’t crash are essential to your success.

Freelancing Marketplaces

These are the preferred resource for many – and for good reason. They’ve leveled the playing field around the world and have enabled people to build working relationships that were never before possible. Now, someone with an app idea in New Zealand can post a job for app developers in Argentina (or anywhere else in the world) to bid on, and – in a matter of minutes – new working relationships can be initiated. Some of the more popular online marketplaces for freelancers are: oDesk, Guru, and Freelancer. These sites are all great, and are all free! You can pay extra to highlight your post, which is a good idea, but not necessary. It’s important to note that the number of app developers offering their services has grown in recent time, however the range of quality has as well – so make sure you’re filtering through your results. Some of the nice aspects of these sites are that buyers can post jobs, but also search the enormous database of qualified service providers and use detailed settings to filter the search results. Another key aspect of some of these sites is that they act as a 3rd party and mitigate the payment process, which can avoid lots of unnecessary headaches.

Classifieds / Job Boards

Classifieds have been around for centuries. Early on it was handwritten notices nailed to a post, and later it evolved to publications and newspapers. For years, this was the easiest way for people to search for employees or employers. Nearly two decades ago however, Craigslist and job board websites like Monster and CareerBuilder changed the game and made those newspaper ads pretty much obsolete. Job aggregators like Indeed and Simply Hired exist today, and allow job seekers to search multiple job boards at the same time. All of the job sites seem to have specialized sections dedicated to “IT” talent that you can post to narrow the field, and many of them allow you to search and filter through their enormous database of resumes (for a fee). Consider job boards around the world, too. Some of the ones mentioned above have international sites, but also consider sites exclusive to certain countries – which can be great resources and are less expensive (sometimes free) for employers. For example, sites like Best Jobs and Pinoy Jobs are great ones in the Philippines that specifically target a local applicant pool. Craigslist also has sites around the world, although the site’s popularity is not the same as it is in the US, for example. For Craigslist – and all job boards, for that matter – beware of an onslaught of responses that can be generated and be sure you’re ready to filter through a potentially high number low-level candidates.

Internships / Co-ops

Everybody needs to start somewhere. What fresh, young developers lack in experience, they often make up for in drive and knowledge of up-and-coming programming methods. Many new college courses have been created that focus specifically on app development, so there are more and more developers interested in teaming up with marketers to get experience and be part of a new company. If you’re wondering, yes – many people will work for free, or very low compensation. You might be pleasantly surprised by the level of talent you can find, too. Near in mind however, that many intern-level developers will probably require some extra patience (a little confidence boost doesn’t hurt either). There are job board sites dedicated to finding interns like Monster College and InternJobs.com, but contacting local colleges and universities can work well, too. They’re always happy to provide more opportunities for their students.

Conferences

Traditional methods of scouting new employees like conferences have become unconventional in this day and age. That said, tech trade shows and developer conferences are usually hot beds of top-notch talent. It stands to reason that the developers who are most concerned with staying ahead of the trend curve, are typically the types that frequent conferences. You may pay higher for this talent pool, but depending on your project scope and sales projections, getting the absolute best might be a requirement. Another clear advantage of conferences is that you’re meeting potential candidates in person right away, which can help accelerate the hiring process. Some of the most well known conferences are Apple’s WWDC, Google’s I/O, or Future Insights Live, however there are hundreds of conferences around the world, and the focus around app development is ever-growing. With a little research, it should be easy to find the one nearest you.

Referrals

Know somebody who knows somebody? We all do. Here’s another method for short-cutting the process. If you have to look no further than the people you know, finding a good candidate can be fast and painless. A primary advantage of being introduced to someone by another person that you trust and believe has your best interests in mind, is that you should have a much better idea who you’re getting ahead of time. Some of the most successful hires that I have ever made were by referral. That said, screening the individual during the hiring process – as with all candidates – is still important.

Community Sites / Blogs

In a similar spirit as attending conferences, peering into community sites dedicated web developers will expose you to some of the most up to date info in the developer community – and more importantly – the forward thinking developers who frequent them. Stack Overflow is a free Q&A site for programmers that is almost set up like a wiki site. It’s an amazing resource and probably the most well known community site amongst developers. In addition, it has a feature called Career 2.0 that acts as a job board for the site’s community. Blogs are also wonderful resources. Some well respected developer blogs are Net Tuts+ and Web Appers. Getting on these sites and searching for app-related articles and posts and then getting involved in the conversation can be a great way to meet new developers. Keep in mind – as with any other time you venture into a new community – be respectful and don’t kill the vibe!

Poaching

This strategy would involve researching, locating and contacting developers of successful apps – in this case, who are currently employed – and finding a way to lure them away from current projects to join up with you. Be careful about this method – as you may be leaving somebody on the losing end of your gain – but also because a developer who is willing to jump ship somewhere else to join you, may have little deliberation before doing it again later. If the circumstances are right, this could be a win-win for everyone, but the likelihood of building a healthy, long term relationship could be more challenging. That said, this can be a successful method for finding great talent. And if you’re able to give the person a higher quality work life, there’s still a good chance to make it a long lasting love affair!

There you have it – a nice laundry list of perfectly useful options to get you started for finding developers (or other team members for that matter). Now it’s time to get going and find yourself some viable candidates!

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What kind of experiences have you had in finding developers? Any other methods that have worked (or not) for you? Be a part of the conversation!

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