How to find great developers
As the world becomes more data-centric, the need for digital enterprise solutions continues to rise. This inevitably fuels a growing demand for skilled software coders, designers, and engineers to develop powerful digital tools for businesses.
The problem is, finding talented developers is becoming increasingly hard. The IT labor dynamics have changed drastically over the last decade or so. Many organizations have even resorted to non-traditional talent recruitment strategies and sources, such as freelancing, remote hires, and staff augmentation, to bridge internal skill gaps.
Let’s take an in-depth look at why it’s so hard to hire developers nowadays and how you can get around this persistent problem.
How to recognize great developers
Developers come in all shapes and sizes. So, it’s important to understand what really makes a good, no, “great” developer. Software development is both an art and a science; a developer must combine learned skills with important personal and work traits. Here are the essential qualities to look for in a developer:
- Full-stack knowledge and expertise in the development field
- Ability and eagerness to learn, adapt, and grow quickly
- Excellent interpersonal and social skills
- Good communicator and team player
- Big-picture focus on the task ahead
- Productivity-based time and project management skills
- Business acumen
- Problem-solving mindset with can-do attitude
- Calm disposition, even when under pressure
- Open-mindedness and flexibility
Web and software development are professions that require a high level of creativity, outside-the-box thinking, people skills, and a generally positive outlook. On top of that, a developer has to be passionate about their work to be any good at it.
Tune your talent hunting and recruitment processes to seek out these qualities. For instance, you can assess a developer’s portfolio, list of references, pricing, and delivery strategies to determine their professionalism, work conduct, skillset, and credibility.
Why are good developers so hard to find?
Is it really that hard to find developers? Actually, it’s easy to find developers; the problem is landing “great” developers. Here are five reasons why it might be challenging to fill a vacant developer position with the right individual or team:
Global talent shortage
The global labor market is currently facing a record talent shortage. According to the Employment Outlook Survey 2021 Q3, nearly 70 percent of US employers report difficulty filling job positions. And, IT is among the top five industries most affected by this labor scarcity.
Talent shortage in the IT field is not actually a new thing. But over the last two years, it has grown into a big problem. A number of factors are to blame for the widening skill gap, such as:
- Labor disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Mismatch in labor supply and demand
- High turnover rates in development and other IT sectors
- Poor or inadequate computer science education
In the past, developers only needed to know a handful of programming languages and computing concepts. Today, there are over 700 unique programing languages. That means hundreds of programing platforms and virtually unlimited development possibilities.
And it’s not just the programming languages that have drastically increased. Development fields have also broadened with the proliferation of new technologies such as data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet of Things, and many others.
With such a vast area to cover, many developers choose to specialize in narrow niches where they can really hone their skills. This spreads the developer labor pool thinly over numerous specializations. So, you might need multiple developers to complete just a single project.
Increasing competition for skilled IT labor
IT has become a key performance indicator in nearly all commercial sectors. Business digitization is at an all-time high as enterprises try to outdo each other in the digital arena. Also, new business trends such as remote, hybrid, and deskless work further fuel the demand for business process automation and digitization. This has turned developers into valuable sought-after assets, sparking fierce competition for top IT talent among employers.
Unfortunately, there aren’t enough developers and IT experts to go around. So, IT talent poaching and headhunting are not uncommon, especially when searching for senior developers. Unless your company has the upper hand, acquiring and retaining valuable developers might be challenging.
High pay demands
In light of the labor shortage and open competition among employers, developers realize their worth. In May 2020, the median annual wage for professional IT workers hit just over $91,000, much higher than the median yearly wage for all occupations of $41,950. And according to Glassdoor, a software developer takes home nearly $100,000 in annual base salary.
Hiring a competent developer is becoming increasingly expensive. In fact, it can be prohibitively expensive for some projects.
Looking in all the wrong places
You can no longer rely on the traditional talent pipelines to hire developers. Many people in the professional services industry prefer to work independently as contractors or freelancers nowadays. The closest compromise is a flexible work environment with minimal restrictions.
The 9-to-5 work regimen is quickly dying off. Over the last two years, largely due to the pandemic, remote work went from being an exception to being the new norm. A recent survey found that 86 percent of software engineers work remotely full-time. This means you have to be open to new work arrangements such as contract-based and remote hires to find good developers.
Why do US companies look for remote software developers?
Historically, the US has always been a hot spot for overseas labor outsourcing, especially when it comes to IT-based labor. And in the post-pandemic world, employers are more likely to outsource technical talent than ever before.
Although the labor shortage is a global problem, it’s a rather peculiar phenomenon in the US. For instance, there are more than 10 million unfilled job positions in the country, yet most of the unemployed folk are not actively looking for work. And millions of workers are quitting their jobs each month in what economists are calling “the great resignation.”
Besides the labor situation, here are other reasons why many US companies prefer to outsource software development to remote overseas contractors, agencies, and freelancers:
- Save labor costs
- Minimize labor logistics, legal compliance, paperwork, benefits, etc.
- Augment the existing internal workforce
- Speed up the hiring process
- Accelerate digital transformation
- Improve the company’s business or customer focus
Where can I find a developer for hire?
Traditional hiring is no longer a dependable way to source qualified developers with the ongoing labor crisis. Here are four strategies you could use to find labor for your software or web development project:
Offshore outsourcing through staffing agencies such as WeDevelop is the easiest way to quickly recruit a team of developers. Staffing agencies have links and partnerships with a diverse range of local and overseas developers, both individuals and companies. That means they have instant access to already vetted and proven developers ready to work on any task as soon as they are hired.
Hiring through a staffing agency eliminates a lot of risks while saving time and effort. The agency sources and vets developers on your behalf and takes responsibility for any hires based on their recommendations.
Alternatively, you can outsource the entire software or web development project rather than hire individual developers for the job. This eliminates all the labor recruitment hassle. At WeDevelop, all you have to do is present your project requirements. From there, we work hand in hand through an agile software development process until the software or web application is up and running. Again, this saves time, money, and tons of paperwork.
Sourcing high-quality freelancers
Many developers like to explore freelancing job opportunities rather than work full-time for a single company. You can find freelance developers on various online platforms and forums such as Upwork, Fiverr, Moonlight Work, Toptal, and many others. Although some of these platforms vet their freelancers, you hire them at your own risk. You have to exercise some discretion when hiring freelancers. Do your due diligence in assessing the candidate’s commitment and skills yourself.
Online job boards and marketplaces such as Indeed, RemoteOK, CyberCoders, GitHub, and Mashable are also great places to find talented developers. Keep in mind that each of these platforms works differently. In some of them, you post a job and wait for candidates to respond, while in others, you search through developers’ profiles to find a match for your job. Also, some are free to use, while others charge a premium fee for their service.
Another way to find developers is to ask for referrals and recommendations from friends and partners in your business community or enterprise network. Getting a credible referral puts you in direct contact with a proven developer. Plus, a recommendation establishes mutual trust.
Although this is one of the best ways to get top developers, it’s also very limited because you can only ask so many people to recommend a good developer.
Tips for hiring a developer
Besides knowing where to look, here are some bonus tips to help you find suitable candidates for your software, app, or web development project:
- Define the scope of the project clearly and in sufficient detail.
- Create a well-written job description to attract job seekers.
- Research your project thoroughly — know the platform needed, skill level, timeframe, etc.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Invest time and effort to evaluate each candidate’s hard and soft skills.
- Discuss the project or job position with the applicants; they may have some useful insights.
- Don’t get too hung up on qualifications and experience; focus on competence and credibility.
- Seek a second opinion before making any final decisions.
How is hiring from WeDevelop?
WeDevelop is an international staffing agency with direct access to a pool of over 200 vetted software and web developers, engineers, and designers from across the globe. We specialize in fully outsourced development, dedicated team hires, and staff augmentation.
We quickly match your development requirements with our talented, pre-screened programmers, designers, and engineers. Once you find the right person or team, all you have to do is sign a contract, and work can commence. We also double in end-to-end web and app development. So instead of hiring extra hands to build a site, we do all the heavy lifting for you.
WeDevelop is there for you if you’re looking for a team of developers to complete a web or app development project without putting undue pressure on your internal IT department. Schedule a call with our representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your staffing or development needs.