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The Dev Review

The Complete Guide to Hiring Software Developers for Your Startup

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Here is the brutal truth; hiring software developers for startups is not easy. From defining the kind of product to determining the technologies, skill, experience level, and team size, startup founders or CTOs must get every detail right. 

This is coupled with the fact that few experienced software engineers are out there, with the best already engaged with big industry players. So, how do you hire a developer or developers for your startup? 

This article will explain how to hire software developers for a startup. Also, we will provide tips on how to select the right programmer based on your project requirement, skills, and experience. 

Key Points

  • Hiring the right developer for your startup can be difficult because of the limited talent pool in the tech industry, fierce competition from big industry players and the high cost of employing software programmers.
  • Before hiring developers for your startup, you should define your project details, analyse the competition (market), choose an employment model that suits your project, and determine the experience level of the developer you need based on your project's complexity.
  • You can select three models to outsource your software development project. They are onshore, offshore and nearshore development, of which nearshoring is the best option. Outsourcing your project gives you access to lots of developers across technologies.
  • Tips for hiring programmers for startups are writing out your project details, choosing the right hiring model based on your needs, evaluating the software developers' skills and interviewing the candidates.

Why Is It Hard to Hire Programmers for Startups?

Hiring developers for your startup can be challenging; here are a few reasons. 

Limited Talent Pool

There is a workforce shortage in the tech industry due to a lack of experts with the right skill set, making it hard to fill rare roles. 

For example, if you need developers to build an Android or iOS application, you may find getting good talents and onboarding them easy. 

But if your startup requires devs with skills in IoT, augmented reality, machine learning, etc., finding the right talent will take a while.

Fierce Competition

Most tech industry giants have enough budgets, offer their developers unlimited vacations and go to great lengths to impress software engineers with juicy offers. 

It gives developers lots of options to choose from. As a startup founder, you might not be able to offer your developers bonuses, vacations, etc. That is why most startups use an outsourcing company to build their team. 

High Cost of Hiring Software Developers

The cost of employing developers goes beyond wages and benefits; the recruitment process is long and expensive. You have to invest in the HR department or post online advertisements on job portals, which will cost more money. 

Aside from that, it can take a long time to find and vet the right software engineers. Remember that the longer the recruitment takes, the more resources you spend on hiring. This is another reason startups outsource their projects to a nearshore development company. 

What You Should Do Before Hiring a Developer for Your Startup

Hiring developers for your startup requires preparation on your part. You have to analyse the market, define your project details and the experience level you need, and select the best hiring model. 

Analyse the Market

To help you shape your hiring strategy, check out similar apps or websites of competitors to create a list of functionality you need in your software product. 

What is your competitor's team structure? How large is their software development team? What technologies do they use to build their software product? 

By doing the market analysis, you will understand what kind of software developer you have to hire for your startup. 

Define Your Project Details and the Skills You Need

Do you want to build a mobile app or a website? Suppose you plan to build a mobile app; what technology will you use? Does your startup need an Android or iOS programmer? Or do you need a front-end or back-end developer?

Knowing your project details will help you to build a candidate profile, and you will be able to outline the skill and experience you need from the developer. 

Most startups sometimes need more than a developer to build and maintain their software product. For example, you may need a software architect, designer, developer, and quality analyst. By listing all the skills you need, you will find it easy to build a dev squad to handle your project. 

Define the Experience Level 

To hire the right fit for your startup, you must engage a developer with enough experience. In software development, there are junior, mid-level, and senior programmers. 

Junior Developers

Junior software developers usually have 1-3 years of programming experience. They are proficient in one or two programming languages or frameworks but are still growing in their career. 

While hiring a junior developer for your startup can help save cash, remember that they are not yet experts and need the guardian of senior developers to be successful. 

Aside from that, junior developers may be unable to share ideas on improving your product. Experience-wise, junior developers are not the best option for a startup, except if you are building a team that consists of mid-level or senior programmers. 

Mid-level Developers

Mid-level programmers have between 3-5 years of experience. Unlike junior developers, they know various software technologies and frameworks. 

Common mid-level developer skills are knowledge of coding languages and technologies, writing clean code, testing and debugging, database design and management, etc.

Since they have experience with programming languages across different technologies, mid-level programmers can handle less complex tasks independently and solve problems that pop up. 

You can hire a mid-level developer for your startup if your software product doesn't require complex features. Also, if you want to build a dev squad for your startup, you can add a mid-level programmer.

Senior Developers

Senior developers have more than six years of experience coding software and building market-ready products that meet customers' expectations. Aside from having hard skills, senior programmers can communicate and collaborate with customers to build a great product. 

Also, unlike junior developers, senior programmers don't need supervision because they have a solid understanding of software architecture, design patterns, and security. Their skills make it easy for them to build a go-to-market software product. 

Engaging senior developers is the best option for hiring programmers for your startup. Also, if you want to form a dev squad, having at least one senior developer and mid-level or junior programmers is a good idea. 

Choose the Right Employment Model for Your Startup 

You can explore three employment models - hire in-house developers or freelancers or outsource your projects to a nearshore development company. Let's explore the three hiring models. 

Hire In-house Software Engineers

Hiring in-house developers for your startup means engaging programmers who work from your workplace. One advantage of employing or forming an in-house team is that you can easily collaborate with your developers whenever possible. Also, the developers will become familiar with your business and the product you want to build quickly. 

But a close look at this model reveals some of its disadvantages. The high cost of employing an in-house software engineer is one setback new businesses face when hiring. It can even be worse if expert developers are scarce in your area since the longer it takes to hire a developer, the more resources you spend. 

Also, you need to invest in office space, tech tools, and well-being, which will add up the cost and can be a setback considering that startups often have limited budgets. 

Hiring Freelance Developers 

A freelance developer is a self-employed professional who builds software for several clients and gets paid for each project. 

The advantage of hiring freelance programmers for your startup is fast access to talent. If you don't have enough expert developers in your location, you can hire freelancers to complete your task. 

Aside from that, startups will spend less on freelancers than in-house developers. But if you look beyond these benefits, freelancers may not be the best idea for startups that want a long-term commitment from the developers they hire. 

Freelancers can be unreliable if you want them to finish a project before the deadline. 

Aside from that, most development projects require the skill of more than one developer, so hiring freelancers will pose a serious challenge if you want them to work in sync. 

Outsource Your Project

Another model startups can go for is outsourcing their software development project. If you want to form a dev team quickly, outsourcing your project is the best option, as it gives you access to top talents. There are three types of IT outsourcing. They are

  • Onshore development. In onshoring, a startup will look within and hire remote developers from the same country. This model will give you access to developers that share the same work culture and understand your business language. The setback is that onshore developers charge more than offshore and nearshore programmers.
  • Offshore development. In offshoring, startups will hire programmers from a country far away. Offshore development makes it easy to get developers to work on your project. Also, offshore developers charge less, saving costs. But the setback with this model is that you don't share the same work culture and live in the same time zone.
  • Nearshore development. This hiring model is one of the best options for startups because it gives them access to expert developers that live in a nearby country. Nearshore developers share the same work culture and time zone and can communicate easily with startups to complete a project. Hiring a nearshore development company like Deazy means getting the best programmers in the industry to work with you. You can hire a developer, form a dev squad or expand your in-house team when you outsource your software development project to Deazy.

Now that you know what to do before hiring a developer for your startup let's consider tips for employing the right programmer. 

Tips for Hiring Software Developers for a Startup 

Here are some tips to help you employ the best programmer for a startup. 

Write Out Your Project Requirements 

Your project requirements are the features, functions, and tasks that must be done to build the software. You must list the tasks you want the developer to perform beforehand. Writing out your project requirements would give you an idea of what skill to look for and the experience level.

Choose the Right Hiring Model

How do you want to hire developers for your startup? Do you want to list your requirements on a job portal? Or do you want to outsource your software project to a nearshore development company? Each hiring model has advantages, but choosing the right one makes a difference. 

Most startups will outsource their project because it gives them access to expert developers at a competitive rate. Also, when you outsource your project, you can easily scale your team, build a dev squad or get a programmer to work in sync with your in-house team. 

Check the Developer's Skills and Experience

When evaluating the skills of the developer you want to hire, you should consider three things. 

  • Technologies. Check that the software programmer has all the required technical skills to build your project. For example, if you want to engage a back-end developer, hire someone with experience with Java, Python, Ruby, PHP, Node.js, and back-end frameworks. To hire front-end programmers, you should look for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and experience with frameworks like React, Vue.js, Angular, etc.  
  • Soft Skills. Soft skills you should look for when hiring developers for your startup are communication, problem-solving, and time management. If you want to work with remote developers, you need to communicate regularly, and the developer must be able to manage time to meet deadlines while solving problems that arise.
  • Portfolio and feedback. You should check the developer's past projects to get a better view of who you want to hire. If the programmer has developed something similar in the past, then you can proceed to the interview stage. Aside from that, feedback matters when hiring. Check for favourable reviews from past clients. 

Interview the Developer

After shortlisting developers based on skills and experience, you should set up interviews. The nature of the interview depends on the skills you want. If, for example, you want a front-end engineer, you should list questions related to front-end development. 

If you hire a nearshore development company like Deazy, they will match you with the skills and experience you need. You can only give the programmers a test project to confirm their skills and experience. 

Sign Contracts

Once you have gotten the right software developer, you can sign contracts. The contract should be clear about what must be done, how work should be done, and when to finish tasks. Also, the contract should include the budget, how you will pay the developers, and when they start working for your startup. 


Are you ready to hire developers for your startup? Hiring the best talent for your startup won't happen without advanced preparation to help you know what skills and experience to look for in a developer. 

You must know your project details, analyse the market and choose the right employment model and experience level. This is in addition to writing your project requirements and shortlisting and interviewing developers based on skills and experience. 

Do you want to hire software developers for your startup fast? Why not outsource your project to Deazy? From building a squad to team augmentation and hiring programmers that will work in sync with your in-house team, Deazy is the right option for startups. 

Book a call now!

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Do I Hire Talent for a Startup?

To hire talent for a startup, you must know your project requirements, evaluate developers based on skills, experience, and portfolio, and conduct interviews. Aside from that, it would help if you chose a scalable hiring model that makes it easy to expand your team flexibly. 

How Many Programmers Do I Need to Hire for a Startup?

The number of developers to hire for your startup depends on your project's complexity and functionalities. Most startups will start with a few programmers and expand their teams as they scale.