Find & Hire Developers for Your Startup [2019 Guide]

You may have came with an excellent startup idea, but there is no business without execution. As many of you, I don't know programming enough to build all the business ideas I have. But this hasn't prevented me from building projects, as I have learnt how to properly hire developers.

This Blog's Sponsor

Do you want to grow your business? With GenM you can get free marketing from an apprentice as part of their training. The student will work 40 hours per month creating content, increasing SEO rankings, carrying out advertisement campaigns...

Sponsor Failory and get your business & product in front of +20,000 CEOs, startup founders, entrepreneurs, developers and marketers every month.

Switch to better payroll. OnPay makes payroll and HR simple by paying your employees, filing US payroll taxes, and integrating with your favorite software. We can take also care of benefits, and we’ll help you switch providers. Take a peek at how easy payroll can be.

No matter how brilliant your startup idea is, you won’t be able to implement it on your own. People matter and you may need help to survive in a stressful environment of a startup. If you’re a JavaScript guru but have no idea how to attract investors, you need a business development expert. If you can draw but cannot code, you need a talented programmer to turn your sketches into a functional and powerful app. Even if you can code you may feel like your own skills and time are not enough to reach your goal.

At the pre-launch stage or in case of small apps with not much code, one developer (technical co-founder) is typically enough. But when you’re getting closer to the scaling stage, you may also want to scale your team with more software developers. In this case, you need to hire the entire development team.

Yet it’s not that easy to find the right team for your project. According to CBInsights statistics, 23% startups fail because of the wrong team. This is the third most common reason for such failure. So in this article, we’ll talk about how to hire developers that will become a valuable extension of your team and help you streamline your startup.

Where to Find Developers

Basically, there are two ways to find tech talent for your project – offline and online. Let’s go into detail and see where exactly to look for them.

Looking for Tech Talent Offline

The offline “habitats” of software developers are as follows:

  • Coworking spaces. Yes, coworking is not only an “office” for freelancers and tech nomads but also a place to network. Peter Schroeder, the founder of UNUM Messenger, started his search in a coworking space and eventually found his development partner.
  • Tech conferences. Name a technology that you need for your project – and there’ll be a relevant conference for it. So look for conferences that are close to you and join them, preferably as a speaker. In such a way you’ll have more chances to get noticed and hire developers.
  • Meetups and hackathons. These are probably the best places to look for programmers and see their skills in action. Even if you don’t find anyone who’s interested in joining your startup, you can ask them for recommendations. Or maybe they can join you at later stages.

Bonus tip: You can also ask your close circle of techie friends to recommend someone who’s enthusiastic about startups.

Looking for Tech Talent Online

Of course, the Internet offers a greater number of workable options to find developers for your startup, such as:

  • Social media. You can reach out to programmers by pitching your startup on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and having your network reshare this pitch.
  • Specialized developer communities. To narrow down your search, look for enthusiasts on highly professional platforms such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, Reddit. You can also tap into the startup job boards such as AngelList, Mashable, or CrunchBoard by TechCrunch.
  • Freelance portals. Websites such as Upwork and Guru are the most popular places to search for tech talent, but rather for short-term remote projects. If you’re planning something ambitious, you can consider the pre-vetted freelance platforms such as TopTal and Crossover.
  • Offshore destinations. At the scaling stage, you can think of outsourcing the development and hiring an entire remote team of software developers in an offshore country. There are so many startups today and there’s a high demand for developers, so you’ll have to deal with the highly competitive recruitment market. Considering this, offshore development can probably be the best option if you want to save cost and time.

Remote Teams vs. In-House Teams

Now let’s point out the key differences between remote collaboration and work in the office.

  • Commuting. People may spend lots of time getting to the office location. They often need to commute between different cities, and this can have a negative impact on their productivity. Sometimes called telecommuting, working at home or in the nearest coworking space can give your employees some extra hours that they can spend on their tasks.
  • Overhead costs. Having an in-house team may imply extra costs such as office space rent and various administrative issues. Having a remote team will release you from that headache.
  • Communication. Remote work may lead to the lack of face-to-face communication. Luckily, there’s a variety of video conferencing tools on the market. With these tools, remote team members sometimes even forget that their teammates are somewhere across the globe.
Remote vs In-House Team

Now let’s proceed to the different ways of hiring remote devs in offshore countries.

Take payroll off your to-do list.

Rated “excellent” by PC magazine, OnPay gives US startups an easy and affordable way to manage payroll and HR. We do all the heavy lifting, including payroll taxes, onboarding your employees, and setting you up for free.

Get One Month Free

40 Hours of Digital Marketing for $50/Month

Do you want to grow your business? With GenM you can get free marketing from an apprentice as part of their training. The student will work 40 hours per month creating content, increasing SEO rankings, carrying out advertisement campaigns...

Check it out   👉

Unlimited Design Services at $349/Month

Hire a graphic design and development team to create fully functional web & app UI/UX, branding, illustrations & everything else you can imagine on a monthly subscription that starts at $349/month.

Check it out   👉

Would you like to receive our weekly newsletters featuring more startup help articles and interviews?

Hiring a Remote Team of Software Developers in an Offshore Destination

If you’re in the United States, you can hire a remote team located very far away from you, i.e. in an offshore country. Almost all local developers are already employed by IT giants, and those who are not, set their rates too high (over $ 100 per hour). Due to the shortage of local talents and high prices, hiring an offshore team may be a solution.

A survey by the Statistics Brain Research Institute shows that now there are approximately one million offshore software developers available worldwide, and this number is still growing. The breakdown by countries is now as follows:

  1. India: 630,000
  2. Brazil: 66,000
  3. Russia: 45,000
  4. Poland: 43,000
  5. Ukraine: 43,000
  6. Philippines: 35,000
  7. China: 39,000
  8. Romania: 30,000
  9. Mexico: 30,000
  10. Argentina: 28,000
  11. Czech Republic: 22,000
  12. Malaysia: 15,000
  13. Colombia: 9,000

When it comes to average hourly rates of offshore development engineers per hour, the figures are as follows (junior to senior):

  1. India: $ 17 - $ 26 per hour
  2. China: $ 20 - $ 31 per hour
  3. Philippines: $ 21 - $ 37 per hour
  4. Russia: $ 25 - $ 42 per hour
  5. Ukraine: $ 30 - $ 47 per hour
  6. Poland: $ 31 - $ 50 per hour
  7. Mexico: $ 33 - $ 52 per hour
  8. Romania: $ 33 - $ 58 per hour
  9. Argentina: $ 34 - $ 53 per hour
  10. Colombia: $ 41 - $ 48 per hour
  11. Brazil: $ 41 - $ 56 per hour

You can see from the above statistics that it’s much more cost-efficient to hire an offshore development team. Both the cost of their services and even the related costs will be lower than the costs that you incur if you employ in-house software developers in, for example, San Francisco. So the two main advantages of hiring a remote team are the abundance of tech talent in offshore destinations and lower rates as compared with local devs. But such collaboration isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Be prepared to overcome the following obstacles:

  • The number of offshore devs is really, really huge. Speed matters for a startup and each lost hour is critical for the business. Thus you just cannot afford spending months trying to choose the team that fits your requirements and that you can trust.
  • Time zone differences. You’re awake but your remote team members are still sleeping. Or, vice versa, they’ve been awake for hours waiting until you get online. As a result, you’re out of sync, and this is the most common problem when working with remote teams. But luckily, you can make this asynchrony less painful with specialized tools such as Timezone.
  • Cultural differences. This is worse than just being in different time zones. Different cultures and mentalities can hamper communication. They can even ruin the entire project because the in-house and offshore team members don’t understand each other. And we’re talking not about linguistics only. Though you can look for your team in destinations with the mindset that’s closer to yours, e.g. Eastern Europe.

So if you think that a remote team would be a nice option but are afraid of the above issues, the solution is to delegate the hiring task to professionals. Let’s consider which hiring options you may have.

Best Developers to Hire

Local Recruiters

Instead of searching for developers on your own and thus wasting your precious time, you can delegate this task to a local recruiter. They already have access to a wide network of tech talents so the search may take weeks or even days instead of months. But after your team is finally formed, you remain on your own with the administrative stuff because you hardly know how to work with offshore teams. Again, time is money, so you need further help, and this is what we’ll talk about next.

Local Software Agencies

Local agencies deliver turnkey solutions for offshore clients. It means that they manage everything from recruitment to an administrative routine such as payroll, taxes, vacations, insurance, etc. They already have offices where the developers are employed, and some of them are currently free and waiting for a new project. So it can be your chance but be aware that it can cost you quite a lot. Additionally, in most cases, you won’t have direct access to your team members and will communicate with them only via a PM. This can put your startup under threat.

Reach +20,000 Startup Founders!

If you are looking to get your product in front of founders, CEOs, VPs, web and mobile developers, makers, consultants, marketers, bloggers, product managers, and many other thought leaders, then we can help you.

👉 Sponsorships

Tech Talent Marketplace

Being as reliable as a local software agency but as simple as a freelance portal, a tech talent marketplace is a relatively new collaboration model that can help you hire developers.  You can just browse the profiles of developers across various tech stacks and then hire those that fit your requirements. But these devs are not freelancers because they work at software companies (web shops) located in offshore countries. The hiring principle is similar to that when working with companies directly.

The main differences though are the collaboration model and cost. Unlike with direct collaboration with agencies, you first contact the developers and only then get in touch with the responsible web shop. Additionally, it’ll cost you less than in the case of working with the agency directly.

All engineers and web shops featured on a marketplace undergo a vetting process, just like on YouTeam, TopTal or Crossover. After the clients find developers, they conclude a contract with the responsible agency, and the team gets to work. The client makes payments via the platform and gets the money-back guarantee in case of dissatisfaction.

So Why Choose a Tech Talent Marketplace to Hire Developers for Your Startup?

Here are the key reasons to choose a marketplace as a preferred hiring resource:

  • Quick hiring. You won’t have to spend ages looking for devs online or waiting until the software agency forms a team for you. With a marketplace, you can find and hire your team within days.
  • Good price/quality ratio. As the developers already work at software agencies, you won’t have to pay any overhead costs - the agencies cover everything.
  • Reliability. As a rule, marketplaces carefully vet their partners and take over all administrative issues, so the clients feel safe and pay only for the work done.

The Bottom Line

When your startup is approaching the scaling stage, you’ll need to extend your team with extra software development resources. You can look for devs both offline and online. Offline sources where you can find them include:

  • Coworking spaces
  • Tech conferences
  • Meetups and hackathons

Online sources include:

  • Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Specialized developer communities, such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, Reddit, etc.
  • Startup job boards such as AngelList, Mashable, or CrunchBoard
  • Freelance portals, such as Upwork, Guru, TopTal, Crossover, etc.
  • Offshore destinations, such as Asia or Eastern Europe. As it’s not that easy to find developers for a startup locally due to the lack of available tech talent and sky-high rates, it can be the best option for you.

Though working with the offshore remote team has certain challenges, such as:

  • A huge number of devs to choose from
  • Time zone differences
  • Cultural differences

Here’s how you can hire an offshore team:

  • Via local recruiters
  • By signing a contract with a local software agency
  • Via a tech talent marketplace

A tech talent marketplace is a hiring platform that combines the reliability of a local software agency with the simplicity of a freelance portal. Though the devs featured at the platform are not freelancers.

The advantages of a marketplace are:

  • Quick hiring, sometimes even within days
  • Good price/quality ratio – no overhead costs incurred
  • Reliability – each vendor is vetted just like on TopTal or Crossover

We hope that our materials will help you make the best choice when you decide to extend your team with extra tech talent. Good luck!

Anton Mishchenko

Anton Mishchenko is CEO and Co-founder at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace connecting top tech companies with the best software engineers and development shops around the world. Anton’s area of expertise includes tech entrepreneurship and digital marketing, business development in the music and media industries.

✉️ Subscribe to receive weekly startup related articles!

We’re always publishing new articles about startups. Sign up for our newsletter to keep updated on the latest additions. You can unsubscribe whenever you want!