How to Hire Developers for Startups?

13 min
Eduard Grigalashvili
Technical Writer

So you’ve got a brilliant product idea. The next step is to hire developers for your startup and execute it.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Alas, the search for the right candidates often takes longer than the development itself. The thing is, most professional devs already have full-time jobs and only 2.1% are unemployed, so it may take months before you find someone suitable for your project.

But don’t worry—even though hiring software developers for a startup is daunting, it is not impossible.

AnyforSoft is here to help you find the best candidates for your project. In this article, we dive deep into the software development industry and answer the ultimate question—how to hire developers for a startup and where to find them?

Hopefully, this information will help you build a professional product development team that will translate your idea into a profitable business!

Challenges when hiring developers for startups

challenges when hiring startup developers

Before we describe how you can find a developer for your startup step by step, we would like to discuss the challenges that startup owners face in the hiring process:

  • The first challenge is the reluctance of potential candidates. You see, new startups lack brand credibility—they’re often associated with lower salaries and a lack of stability. Experienced developers tend to avoid them. Instead, they prefer companies established at least a few years ago, as they’re more stable and usually offer better working conditions.
  • Even if you manage to hire programmers for the startup, there is no guarantee that they will stick with you till the end of the project. IT is arguably one of the most competitive industries, with HRs poaching potential developer candidates from each other on a daily basis. Big companies can tempt developers with perks way beyond those of your budget-tight startup. So at the end of the day, some of your developers might leave to your competitors.
  • Last but not least, when hiring in-house developers, a talent pool is limited to your region. Depending on where you live, it might be challenging to find specialists that have the expertise required to successfully create your project.

Later in this article, we will explain how to avoid all of these challenges. As for now, let’s jump straight to the main topic and show you the ways of finding developers.

How to hire developers for a startup in 5 steps

So how to hire programmers for a startup? It takes only five steps to find software developers for your project.

Step 1: Determine what type of developers you need

You can’t find programmers for a startup without knowing who you are looking for. Depending on the project, you may need to hire different types of developers.

Since this article may be read by startuppers unfamiliar with development processes, we first need to explain what types of devs are there and what work they do. To keep it simple, we will divide them into five categories:

  • Software architect.
  • Back-end developer.
  • Front-end developer.
  • Full-stack developer.
  • Mobile developer.

Software architect

A software architect is a senior-level specialist with a tech background and knowledge of the major cloud providers and CI/CD. They are responsible for creating the architecture and logic behind a software product. Using both front-end and back-end frameworks, architects build complex solutions in accordance with specific business needs and requirements. They can also lead the entire development team, review the product’s code as well as design, and assist less experienced programmers in the software creation process.

Back-end developer

A back-end developer is responsible for managing the server side of the application. In simple terms, back-end developers create the invisible structure that enables applications to function properly, whereas front-end developers are focused on the visual side. Back-end devs work with databases, scripting, and website architecture. To do their work, they need an excellent command of programming languages (Golang, PHP, Python) as well as knowledge of databases (SQL, MongoDB, Redis, etc), servers, and APIs.

Front-end developer

As noted above, front-end developers are responsible for the visual side (client side) of the application. In other words, they work with everything the end user might see and interact with. Combining HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, front-end devs create user interfaces (UIs), website layouts, navigation elements, and other visual features. A big part of their job is to make the application user-friendly and easy to navigate, ensuring a smooth user journey.

Full-stack developer

A full-stack developer has enough expertise to work on both the front-end and the back-end side of the software. They’re responsible for creating user interfaces, servers, and databases, providing cross-platform compatibility, developing APIs, ensuring security as well as scalability of the software, and much more. Due to their vast experience and strong technical skills, full-stack developers are quite expensive: the average salary of a full-stack specialist goes beyond $8,000 a month in the US.

Mobile developer

A mobile developer is a specialist that creates mobile applications. Their main responsibility is to build native applications with platform-specific features and functionality, ensuring compatibility with modern mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and others). Mobile developers leverage various technologies and frameworks, including Objective C, Swift, React Native, Flutter, PhoneGap, and so on. If your project involves creating a mobile app, you should definitely hire a mobile developer.

Another question you might have is, how many developers do I need? Well, it depends heavily on your project. If you’re creating an MVP (minimum viable product), one, maximum two specialists, would be enough. Since an MVP is not the final product, having a big software development team isn’t necessary.

If you’re working on a serious project, like a big e-learning platform with advanced features and mobile application, then you should definitely have at least three developers: a front-end specialist, a back-end developer, and a mobile developer.

types of startup developers you can hire

Step 2: Know where to hire developers from

Once you know who you need, the next step is to finally find a developer for the startup. There are many places where tech talent can be found—the choice of the place will depend on what you need. Do you need an in-house team? Maybe you’re looking for an experienced development company to outsource your project to? Or, perhaps, you want to hire cheap freelance developers?

Let us describe the pros and cons of each option and provide you with resources where you can find and then hire developers for new startups.

In-house team

Having your own in-house team of developers is probably the most expensive option. On the other hand, it provides you with complete control over the project. You can make adjustments whenever you want and communicate directly with your teammates, which will help accelerate the development process. In case of difficulties, you can always call a team meeting and search for a solution together instead of having a long correspondence with a development company or a freelancer.

As for the downsides, we already mentioned them above. Long story short, it’s quite difficult to hire startup developers for new projects because such projects lack brand credibility and stability. Also, HRs of bigger companies will be constantly trying to lure your employees away and the talent pool will be limited to the region of your office. But the biggest disadvantage of in-house teams is, of course, the high price. Unfortunately, many beginner startup founders have tight budgets and are unable to pay high monthly salaries.

Where to find software developers for in-house work?

  • Local recruiting agencies.
  • Social media websites: LinkedIn, Facebook.
  • Job boards: AngelList, TechCrunch.
  • Platforms for developers: GitHub, StackOverflow.
  • Tech conferences, meetups, and hackathons.

Freelance developers

Hiring developers for startups from freelance portals is the cheapest option of the three. The biggest plus is that you determine the price of the project development and have all the chances to find developers even with a low budget. In addition to cheapness, hiring freelancers is fast and simple. Just sign up to a freelance portal, create a project, and you will have a dozen of bids from quality candidates in less than an hour.

However, before you hire freelance developers, you should be aware of the risks. First, you and a freelancer are not bound by any contract, so there’s no guarantee that the developer you hired will finish the project. They may leave it at any moment without legal consequences. What’s more, many freelancers in the low-budget segment don’t have the strong development skills necessary to develop complex solutions.

Therefore, if your project requires expert technical knowledge and an understanding of the intricacies of development processes, you better either invest in an in-house team or outsource your project to an experienced company.

Where to find freelance developers?

  • Freelance portals: UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr.
  • Social media websites: LinkedIn, Facebook.
  • Platforms for developers: GitHub, StackOverflow.

Development company

Hiring talented developers from a development company is arguably one of the wisest decisions. For starters, the price will be much lower compared to building an in-house team from scratch. Also, such companies will save you from all the challenges described above: you won't have to worry about recruiting candidates and trying to keep them. Besides, the talent pool won’t be limited to your region—you are free to choose developers for startups from any country.

Importantly, hiring a development company is absolutely secure and risk-free. Developers will be bound by a contract, guaranteeing that the project will be completed on time.

Speaking of downsides, the first one is the lack of direct control. You won't be able to organize meetings whenever you want—you will have to wait till the company has time to communicate with you. Also, you might face problems with communication, especially if the company is not from your country.

Where to find development companies to hire developers from?

  • Specialized portals like Clutch.
  • Agencies that look for companies matching your business requirements.
  • Tech conferences.

Step 3: Decide on the country

what country to hire software developers from?

When hiring developers for startups, you might be asking yourself: what is the best country to outsource my project to?

Well, ideally, you should find developers in the country you live in to ensure that you and your developers are in the same time zone and have no cultural differences. However, if you reside in the US or somewhere in Western Europe, you probably know how expensive development is there. So it is not a bad idea to hire software developers where it is cheaper.

Here’s a list of popular and relatively cheap outsourcing destinations:

Ukraine

Ukraine is arguably one of the most tech-advanced countries in Eastern Europe. As per HackerRank analysis, software engineers from Ukraine have an average score of 88.7% across HackerRank competitions. Besides, 80% of the country’s IT community speaks English, so no communication issues should occur. That’s what makes Ukraine an ideal place to hire startup developers from.

Developers' salary in Ukraine starts from $12,000 per year.

The Philippines

The Phillippines has one of the largest English-speaking populations in the entire world. In addition to that, their specialized STEM high school system helps students become great at science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. All this along with the low global value of the local currency makes the Philippines one of the most attractive destinations for outsourcing. Hiring programmers from there is really cheap while the quality of web development services provided is high.

Developers' salary in the Philippines starts from $10,500 per year.

India

India is a great country to hire software developers from because their development services are very cheap. Besides, India is the second largest English-speaking country in the world, so you won’t have to deal with a language barrier. Moreover, the Indian education system is heavily focused on mathematics: it produces around 2.6 million STEM graduates in a year. No wonder you can find many talented developers for startups there.

However, nowadays India is associated with lower quality—so you have to be extremely picky when hiring IT specialists from there.

Developers' salary in India starts from $11,000 per year.

Romania

Romania has been investing heavily in its IT sector. As a result, now the country is in 18th place on the A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index. What’s more, Romania provides its citizens with tuition-free access to education, which has contributed to the creation of one of the most diverse tech scenes in Eastern Europe. Thus, if you are looking to hire a programmer for a startup with strong and diverse development skills, Romania could become your perfect destination.

Developers' salary in Romania starts from $12,000 per year.

Brazil

There are more than 6 million fluent English speakers in Brazil. Besides, the government is focused on improving technology education infrastructure, which facilitates the development of the local IT sector.

However, the tech community there is still very young. You can find lots of junior specialists in Brazil, but if you need to hire developers with advanced technical skills, it’s probably better to choose another country.

Developers' salary in Brazil starts from $6,000 per year.

Step 4: Determine the collaboration model

If you are going to hire remote developers, you can opt for one of the three employment models: the fixed bid model, the dedicated team model, and the time and materials model.

Fixed bid model

The fixed bid model is a model in which you pay a fixed price based on the time and effort required to finish your project. This approach is great when you have a clear vision of your software and defined development requirements that are unlikely to change.

Fixed bid contracts mostly fit medium-sized projects that can be developed in several iterations and within a fixed budget. If your project has unverified assumptions and unknown aspects requiring a significant time investment, you better opt for a dedicated team.

The fixed bid model is great for:

  • MVPs.
  • Projects with strict deadlines.
  • Medium-sized projects with predefined requirements.

Pros:

  • The budget is fixed and agreed upon before signing a contract.
  • No budget overruns are guaranteed.
  • Project deliverables are clearly defined.

Cons:

  • You have limited control over your project.
  • You can’t make any adjustments during the software development process.

Dedicated team model

The dedicated team model is a model in which you’re hiring developers for startups from a third-party company. This company builds a dedicated team that will be responsible for carrying out specific tasks that you assign them.

The dedicated team model suits well for companies that already have established development teams, but need to bridge a talent gap. With the help of third-party software development companies, they can quickly find the right person with the specialized skills their project requires.

The dedicated team is usually assigned to a long-term project and works on it for a while. Depending on the contract, you can either pay a fixed price or offer hourly rates.

The dedicated team model is great for:

  • Long-term projects.
  • Companies that wish to close a talent gap but don’t want to hire in-house developers for startups.
  • Agile projects.

Pros:

  • High level of security—your project will be protected by a non-disclosure agreement.
  • You are allowed to suggest improvements and make adjustments to the project (provided that you use the hourly rate model).
  • High quality guaranteed.

Cons:

  • It might be challenging to find developers that have the skills you require.
  • Hiring programmers from a third-party company can be quite pricey.

Time and materials model

Time and materials is the most flexible model of the three; it works well for companies with limited resources. If you have a project with unclear deadlines and a scope of work that might change along the way, you should definitely opt for the time and materials model.

This model implies that you will only pay for work hours and materials that were used to develop your project.

The time and materials model is great for:

  • Projects with changing requirements.
  • Agile projects.
  • Building prototypes.
  • Projects that require flexibility.

Pros:

  • Flexibility: if the scope of work changes, you can ask the development company to provide you with more employees.
  • Scalability and fast adaptation.

Cons:

  • Budget estimation becomes impossible.
  • Budget overruns might occur.

Step 5: Start hiring programmers

what to look for in startup developers

At this point, it should be clear how to find a software developer for a startup. Now all you’re left to do is hire your candidates. So the next question is, what to look for in developers to ensure that they can successfully work with your project?

Here’s a list of things you should pay attention to:

  • Relevant experience. Before hiring programmers for a tech startup, make sure that they have experience working with projects similar to yours. That way, they will know exactly what to do and what tech stack to use to create the product you want.
  • Communication skills. To make teamwork easier for yourself, you should find developers for startups who can communicate properly and explain complicated technical concepts even to non-technical people.
  • Problem-solving skills. No project goes without challenges. Thus, any developer should have good problem-solving skills and be stress tolerant. Otherwise, the development might turn into a living nightmare.
  • Hard skills. Of course, the most important thing in any programmer is their expertise. Before you hire developers, you should check their hard skills. Most companies do this through technical test tasks, so make sure to prepare a technical assignment beforehand. If you’re hiring a freelancer, let them work on a test project first before providing them with access to your startup.
  • Punctuality. A good software developer should have a solid work ethic and be reliable. Only by hiring a candidate with these qualities can you be sure that the job will be done within the allocated time. Time management is critical, especially in such a fast-paced industry as software development.

Note: the recommendations in this section apply only to those who’re hiring freelancers or in-house developers. As we already said, if you don’t want to worry about recruiting candidates, the best option for you is to contact a third-party development company.

AnyforSoft — your best solution for startup development

You don’t need to look anywhere else because professional developers for your startup are already here. AnyforSoft builds quality development teams that care about your vision and create products in accordance with your business requirements and specifications.

One of our advantages is vast experience. Our teams have created dozens of projects for companies operating in media and entertainment, e-commerce, foodtech, education, and other industries. We successfully leverage a wide range of technologies, which allows us to create products of any complexity and size. Besides, we offer a full set of development services: from the project discovery phase to product maintenance—you can get everything in one place.

So at this point, you shouldn’t ask yourself how to find a developer for your startup. Just contact us, and we will take care of building a professional development team with industry-specific expertise that will turn your idea into a successful product!

FAQs

How to hire a developer for my startup?

The best way to hire professional software developers is by contacting a third-party company that can build a team for you with your development needs in mind. If you want to recruit candidates by yourself, you should either build an in-house team or find remote specialists on freelance platforms.

How many developers do I need?

It depends on the complexity and size of your startup project. As mentioned above, one to two developers are enough for most MVPs. For big and serious projects that require mobile app development, you should have at least three specialists (a front-end developer, a back-end developer, and a mobile developer).

Where can I find a programmer for my startup?

If you’re building an in-house team, you can find developers through local recruiting agencies, social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook), and job boards. You can also try your luck at specialized online platforms (GitHub) and tech conferences.

If you want to find a software developer that will be working on your project on a freelance basis, then your choice is freelance portals like UpWork, Freelancer, Fiverr, and others.

As for development companies, you can find them on specialized portals like Clutch, tech conferences, or through agencies that find companies matching your business requirements.

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