If you are a start-up owner and looking for a software developer to develop a product or create a website, the biggest question that might be hovering your mind right now would be – “How to find a software developer for a start-up?”
Choosing the right kind of person or agency to develop the software may not be as an easy task as it may seem.
The success of a start-up heavily depends on the success of the application or website that you are planning to develop.
A start-up is not in a position of experimenting with various options like a freelancer, in-house development or an outsourcing partner and then picking the right one.
Most of the time there would be budget constraints, too. This makes the decision all the more important and complicated.
The choice has to be right the first time.
Finding a suitable person to take over your software development activities requires deliberation in various directions.
Some of the factors that will help you decide are:
In this article, we are going to cover all these aspects to ensure that you make the right decision based on the type and complexity of the work and of course, keeping in mind the budgetary constraints.
A start-up may need a software developer to develop their website, create a new product or an application.
The software that needs to be produced is generally critical to the success of a start-up. A software developer for a start-up may need to wear multiple hats at the same time.
Choosing the right person or an agency who would fit the bill perfectly depends on a few critical parameters.
You need a high technical expertise and multiple skills to take care of all parts of software development- business analysis, design, coding, testing and bug fixing.
Excellent communication and a good cultural fit are essential for a successful relationship with a start-up. A start-up will usually have a highly stressful evolving environment to which only a few can adapt to.
Now keeping some of these important parameters in mind lets now deep dive who could be the right fit for this job- Inhouse developers, a freelancer or an agency.
Many start-ups opt for freelancers as it appears to be an easy and pocket-friendly option. Getting a freelancer to do your work can be a viable option if you get the right person to do the job.
But many struggle with freelancer’s erratic work schedules, their changing priorities towards various other clients, slow response time and quality related issues.
They may also not be available all the time to support your project in the future.
In-house software developers can be hired if you have a long-term vision of the project where you believe the project will go on and will need regular support over a long duration of period and is critical for your business to run.
Hiring in-house developers, however, needs a commitment in terms of budget. Keeping them engaged with adequate workload all the time is also critical as they may not stick with you for a long time if they feel work is not appropriate to their skill level or if there are financial issues.
A person also needs to gel well with your culture, tight work schedules and the ever-changing demands of a start-up business.
An agency, on the other hand, brings with them highly experienced resources who are qualified to do their job well. It would be a one-stop solution for the complete application.
You can have flexible contracts with agencies so that you can be attached with them only for the scope of work that you may need. This will save you cost and bring all the expertise that you need for your application to develop.
On the flip side, an agency may cost you higher than a freelancer.
Now that we have looked at what kind of person/agency may be an ideal fit for your start-up, the next thing to work on is how to find a technical partner for your start-up who will be just the right person/agency for you.
Few tips which will come in handy in deciding on the right person/agency:
Before you hire a developer, whether it is a freelancer, agency or an in-house developer, have a look at their body of work.
A sample work or an application/website can give you a very good view on how much does the developer know.
An easy to navigate, up-to-date application or a website speaks volumes about the developer.
Reviewing the work done by the developer will give you a fair amount of ideas to assess the capability of the developer, whether it’s a freelancer or an agency.
Also, assess if the work they have done is something similar to what you are looking for. If the sample shows a pretty simplistic work and you are expecting a complex application, it would be better to look for someone else.
Also, an important aspect to keep in mind is that while a freelancer will review and test the application on his/her own, an agency will have many people who would be experienced in the work they are doing – a tester may be in this role for years and know his work well; the testing he does would be complete in all respects.
Expect some defects to leak and pass on to you with a freelancer.
In case you are going for an in-house developer, try to find a developer for your start-up who is good at all aspects of application development – a little difficult combination to find though.
You have some idea of the application that you want to develop, but if you are not clear on how this will be interpreted in a software application, it may become difficult to work with a freelancer or an in-house developer.
A freelancer or an in-house developer will provide you with a solution as per your needs.
If you are not clear on what you need and cannot visualize the end result, it would be difficult to guide the freelancer/ in-house developer. The in-house developer is more likely to work with you to come up with the end results with some effort and various iterations, but it may not be of very high quality.
On the other hand, an agency with people with various technical expertise may be able to visualize how the end product will look like, just from a few ideas that you provide them with.
Their expertise in various domains and experience with multiple customers will come in handy to bring out the best in class solution for you. At Arkbauer we have multiple skilled resources who can help you create a state-of-the-art solutions for your organization.
Another factor to evaluate before you hire a developer is the needs of the customer support that you may require in the future.
A client generally sticks to a company not because of the products but because of the excellent client relationship.
This can be an important factor in the success of your business. If you have a long-term requirement for customer support or you foresee changes to your application, it will make more sense to either go for in-house developers or an agency.
An agency may have a specialized department with expert people to handle post-launch support, which you may not get from an individual worker.
Freelancers may also give you the support if they are available but freelancers generally move on to new clients when the work is over and they may be hard pressed for time.
Contracts with agencies are clear and would generally include post-launch maintenance and warranty clauses. You may also need enhancements in your application, which, again, an agency will be more than willing to help, but cannot be guaranteed with a freelancer.
Experience of the developers is an important criterion that needs to be considered before hiring a developer.
Hiring an in-house developer or rather a team with good experience may sometimes become a challenge for a start-up.
Many experienced people mostly have several opportunities available and may not opt for a start-up. You may end up hiring less experienced resources who may not be a good fit for the demands and challenges of a start-up.
Agency, on the other hand, has more experience than a freelancer or an in-house developer simply because there are more people on the team.
A freelancer also has too many roles to play; they may also turn out to be a jack of all traits and master of none. Quality will suffer when you do not get an expert to handle different parts of a software development lifecycle.
The most important factor to consider is money and time. A freelancer may be the most economical and may also deliver your project in a shorter time.
Agencies may take more time and would be more expensive due to the overheads involved. In-house developers are a long-term commitment and you need to handle their expenses for a long time.
Agencies charge more as they offer a lot of services to you. They ensure quality is not compromised at any stage and deliver the end result you need.
At the end of the day, all you want is quality, so you need to ensure that each penny you spent is well spent.
Finding a programmer for your start-up is a difficult job. There is a deficit of good programmers who will work as per your specification and deliver something which is high in quality.
There are various places to find developers for start-up, but it takes a lot of effort to find one as per your needs. Some of the best places can be:
To help you decide between a freelancer, in-house developer or an agency, here is a checklist for you:
You may be tempted to hire a freelancer even if you have an adequate budget in hand, but be a little cautious as the output may turn out to be disastrous.
The final decision lies with you, but ensure that you make a good one by keeping in mind the tips given in this blog on how to find a software developer for a start-up.
Select the extraordinary from the ordinary, decide on the basis of what suits your needs best and would help your business grow.
We would like to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below or contact us if you have any other questions.