Your complete guide to hiring a programmer

Need to hire a programmer but not sure where to start? Read our complete guide.
Edward Kost @EdwardKost
Technical Co-pilot
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Hiring a programmer doesn't have to be difficult

A technical problem requires a technical solution. If you need a piece of software developed or a complex mathematical equation solved, you'll need a skilled programmer to get the job done right.

But where do you start, and how can you be certain that you're hiring the perfect programmer for the job?

In this post we will cover the following:

  • Provide you with an overview of what programming is.
  • Help you formulate the perfect coding problem statement for your task.
  • Guide you through the programmer hiring process to ensure you hire the perfect person for the job.

What is Programming?

In order to help you decide whether or not you need a programmer, it is essential to first have a firm understanding of what programming actually is

Programming is the process of manually manipulating the actions of a computer via a set of step-by-step instructions.

Each line of computer instructions is known as code.

Computer instructions are written in a specific language. You need to speak to computers in a very specific way in order to help them understand what you want them to do.

The program language you choose to write your code in depends on both the solution you're aiming at achieving as well as your personal preference.

You can solve just about any computer-based problem with a little programming.

Here are just a few examples of what you can do with computer programming:

  • Crop a picture
  • Build a web page
  • Calculate your profits and losses
  • Develop your own software
  • Build a game

Do I need a programmer?

In order to help you decide whether or not you need a programmer, it's important to have a firm grasp of your coding problem statement.

Your coding problem statement is the clear and highly detailed description of the technical problem you are trying to solve.

In order to effectively craft your coding problem statement, you need to start by answering the following questions:

    • What is the problem? Write a summary of the problem as best as you can; yes it will be messy and convoluted, but it will serve as a good starting point.
    • What is affected by the problem? List everything affected by the problem, including people, processes, customers, types of clients, etc.
    • Where does the problem occur? Does the problem occur during a specific phase of the customer journey or within a certain environment?
    • When does the problem occur? Does the problem occur at a specific time of the day? Or during a certain procedure?
    • Why should this problem be fixed? Summarise how your situation would improve if this problem was solved - what are all the benefits to solving this problem?

The final step would then be to aggregate all of the above answers to create a highly technical summary of your problem.

After answering these questions, you may find that you don't require a programmer after all.

Coming to this conclusion as early as impossible is imperative in order to avoid wasting both your time and money in sourcing and hiring a programmer.

When would your coding problem statement not require a programmer?

If a solution to your problem already exists, unless of course you choose to create your own customised and branded variation of it.

How do you find out if a solution to your problem exist?

By performing a Google search of your problem statement.

Google has evolved over the years to very accurately provide the most relevant results to a web query, so if the problem statement you search in Google has a software solution, it will be pushed to the top of the results page.

For example, let’s say you have the following simple coding problem statement:

To have the ability to send mass personalized emails.

If you perform a search for this query in Google you'll see a list of already created software solutions.

Your complete guide to hiring a programmer - Image 1

As you can see, just about all of the page one results suggest a software solution that can solve the problem statement.

As already mentioned, you may still decide to create your own personalized software solution, even though one may already exist. If that's the case, you'll definitely need a programmer to build your software solution for you.

But why do you need a programmer. Can’t you learn how to program your solution yourself?

Of course you can. But programming takes many years to learn. Even after you've learned a particular language, it still takes a few years to master its efficient creation and effectively troubleshoot any unexpected issues.

If you don't have the luxury of delaying your project for about half a decade, a programmer can build your solution in as little time as possible.

Depending on the complexity of your solution, an experienced and highly skilled programmer can sometimes deliver your product in only a few days!

Primary programming languages (and what they're used for)

Now that you know you definitely need a programmer, it's important to have a fair understanding of the programming skills required for your job.

To figure out which programmer is best suited for your task, it’s wise to approach the recruitment process with at least an elementary understanding of the language requirements of your task.

That being said, it's important to note that almost all of the programming languages have a capability overlap. In other words, one programming language, with enough manipulation, can pretty much do everything every other programing language can do.

Below we've broken down some of the most common programming languages as well as their corresponding strengths, weaknesses and capabilities.

Javascript

What Can You Do With Javascript?

Web Development. The Javascript language is primarily used to code web-based solutions such as websites, chatbots. If you have come across a website with dynamic content on the page, chances are the site was coded in Javascript.

Thanks to Javascript programming, web pages no longer require to fully refresh whenever a particular element on the page needs to “pop out” or expand.

Javascript coding on a website works in conjunction with the structural elements of a website (coded in HTML and CSS).

If you require a completely customized website or web based portal to be built, chances are it may need to be coded in Javascript.

Learn more about web development

Gaming. Javascript isn't limited to web-based applications. It can also be used to create videogames both in a web browser and in a mobile app.

Pros Of Coding With Javascript

Javascript is fast. The main advantage of the Javascript language is its execution speed. Javascript elements are run straight from the web browser which means there is basically no lag when these elements are animated. This creates a fantastic user experience.

Cons Of Coding With Javascript

Anyone can view Javascript coding. The main disadvantage to using Javascript is that its code is visible to anyone who wants to view it. If you right click on any area of a web page and click “view source” you will be able to see the Javascript coding on that website.

There are, of course, methods of preventing Javascript codes from being visible. A clever Javascript programmer can easily achieve this.

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Python

Python is one of the most popular programming languages. A vast variety of software solutions can be crafted in Python.

What Can You Do With Python?

Machine Learning. The most popular language to code machine learning script in is Python.

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that dictates how a system behaves based on a given set of data. Programming code is capable of adapting to changing data autonomously thanks to machine learning.

This is especially useful if you wish to graphically model dynamic data and data trends.

Machine learning programmers are growing in demand thanks to the rise in artificial intelligence deployment.

Web development. Python can be used to create websites. UnlikeJavascript which is coded on the client’s side (front-end from the browser), Python developed websites are coded from the back-end (on a server).

Data science. Data science is the process of coming to a conclusion based on data analysis.

Ever notice the suggested playlists in Spotify or the suggested movies list in Netflix? These suggestions are made based on your recorded behaviors.

A talented data scientist can help you recommend the best and most personalised solutions to your customers.

Mathematical computations. Whether it’s for engineering, science, finance or any other form of numeric computing, Python can do it all!

If any of these tasks are repetitive, as is the case with data entry tasks, you can automate them with Python.

Pros Of coding with Python

Python interacts with other languages. Python has been specifically created to interact effectively with other languages via third party modules. This means that if you have an existing code and you wish to add a certain feature to it, it can most probably be achieved with a Python programmer.

Python is fast. Python processes information very quickly which makes its ideal for building complex and scalable systems.

Cons Of coding with Python

Poor mobile app performance. While Python-coded websites work great, Python is not an ideal choice when creating a mobile application.

If your software solution requires a mobile application, a programmer solely skilled in the Python language would not be an ideal choice.

Learn more about mobile app development

C++

What can you do with C++?

Software development. C++ developed software usually incorporates a graphic user interface. Photoshop is an example of software developed in C++.

Animation and motion graphics. If your software solution requires detailed graphical elements, then C++ would be the best coding language to use.

A C++ developer is capable of 3D elements with realistic shadow profiles. Just take a look at the example below of a suspended sphere being illuminated by a stagelight:

Your complete guide to hiring a programmer - Image 2

Due to its advanced real-time 3D rendering capabilities, C++ is also used in a variety of computer-aided design applications in the medical and engineering space.

Pros of coding with C++

Adapts to multiple platform environments. C++ is highly adaptable to a variety of platforms, from mobile apps to software applications.

Superior real-time 3D rendering. Due to its efficient 3D graphics rendering capabilities, C++ is the ideal choice for any graphic heavy solution.

Broad range of capabilities. The C++ language is capable of executing a myriad of tasks ranging from super simple to incredibly complex.

If your software solution has the possibility of evolving into a higher level of complexity, it is safe to program it in the C++ language.

Cons Of coding with C++

Risk of memory corruption. If a C++ programmer is inexperienced, they run the risk of corrupting the memory of the device running the program, but there's no need to worry about this risk if your C++ programmer is highly capable.

Highly complex. The high complexity of the C++ languages makes it incredibly difficult to master. The upside of this is whenever you employ a C++ programmer you have full assurance that you're employing a highly capable and highly intelligent computer programmer.

Hiring a programmer: What are your options?

So, with a clear understanding of your coding problem statement and a general understanding of the required programming skills for the job, the next step is to actually hire your programmer.

You several different hiring options to choose from. We've analyzed each of them based on the following key metrics:

  • Price
  • Time to hire
  • Critical benefits
  • Critical drawbacks

Using a Recruitment Agency

When faced with a hiring scenario, the first option that naturally comes to mind is to use a recruitment agency. But before investing in a hiring agency, there are some very important drawbacks to consider. Some of these drawbacks are made evident in the key metric analysis below:

Price: $60,000+

When utilising an agency you are soliciting the help of an entire team.

Multiple parties are required in each stage of the hiring process:

  • Copywriters craft the perfect job job advertisement
  • Resumes need to be screened
  • Interviews need to be lined up and executed
  • A dedicated communications channel needs to be established for each client

So it’s no surprise why the cost of hiring an agency is so high.

Time to Hire: Between 7–30 days

49% of surveyed hiring professionals stated that, on average, it takes about 7-14 days for a prospect to receive letter of offer. Globally, the average time to hire a professional in the IT space takes about 56 days!

Critical benefits

They handle all of the hard work

A recruitment agency takes care of the entire end-to-end recruitment process - from job ad writing to candidate shortlisting.

Hiring a new candidate requires a lot of time and dedication, by partnering with a recruitment agency, you can focus your efforts on higher priority tasks.

They're experts in their field

Hiring the perfect candidate requires more than just identifying key skills outlined in a resume. It's essential to also ascertain whether not a candidate will assimilate effectively into your work culture.

The only way to achieve this is by asking strategic questions during the interview process.

Recruiters specialize in behavioral analysis and innately know which questions to ask in order to decide whether or not a candidate meets all of your position requirements.

Critical drawbacks

Very expensive

The most obvious disadvantage of using a recruitment agency is the price. Unless you have an excessive budget at your disposal, hiring through a recruitment agency is not a cost-effective choice.

Very slow time to hire

As mentioned above, it can take 30+ days to finally onboard a prospective candidate. Time is a precious commodity, especially if you're a startup.

Startups face an unprecedented level of relentless competition. Each day wasted is an opportunity for a competitor to take over and overshadow you. So, startups should definitely consider alternative hiring channels when sourcing their programmers.

Summary: Unless you have the luxury of investing a large amount of time and money, outsourcing your talent recruitment to a recruitment agency is not an ideal choice.

 

Posting an ad on a job seeker website

If you prefer to keep things linked to the bone, you could post a job advertisement to hire a programmer via a job seeker website.

Price: $0–$1000+

The price for posting a job advertisement on a job seeker site is quite diverse.

Some websites offer job postings free of charge while others charge premium pricing due to their higher brand awareness and impressive website traffic.

When posting a job for free, user experience is greatly affected due to the high number of advertisements on the platform.

Free job placement websites are also more likely to attract scammers, which is not a great association for your brand.

Time to hire: Between 1–30+ days

Most job placement websites host job ads for maximum of 30 days at a time. After this time has passed, you have the option of renewing your advertisement for another cycle of 30 days. In some rare cases, you might receive an application from an ideal candidate within a day of posting your ad, but this is highly unlikely.

Critical benefits

You're in control

Some employers prefer to be directly involved in the entire hiring process. By choosing this route you will remain in control of all of the stages of the recruitment process.

Cost effective

Posting a job on a website is considerably cheaper than hiring a recruitment agency. If the website you choose to post your ad on is highly reputable and has a high number of monthly visitors, you are likely to receive enough candidate applications to make your decision within 30 days.

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Critical drawbacks

A lot of work

Since you're keeping the entire process closely linked to the bone, you'll be the one reading through each of the applications, shortlisting your candidates and then performing the interviews. This list of tasks can get very daunting very quickly if you receive hundreds of job applications.

Summary: If you prefer to be in control and don’t mind the extensive work involved in the recruitment process, hiring a programmer through a job advertisement is a good option.

Hiring a freelancer

Hiring freelancers is an aggressively growing trend in the tech space, and it’s easy to see why. When you hire a freelancer, you are have no geographical limitations. Instead, you have access to some of the greatest talents in the field of tech globally.

Price: The average project on Freelancer is completed for $279.95

Hiring a freelance programmer is the most cost effective solution for any of your technical problems.

Freelancers set their own pricing. Some charge more or less depending on their experience and the level of task difficulty.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that a cheaper rates equate to a lower production standard. Some freelancers choose to charge a lower amount because they are expertly capable of taking on a number of different projects at the same time.

This incredibly low pricing, without any sacrifice to quality, is the reason why hiring a freelance programmer is the ideal choice for startups, solopreneurs or any organisation on a tight budget.

Time to hire: Minutes

Hiring a freelancer is the quickest way to onboard new talent. On average it takes only a few minutes to begin receiving bids on a project.

Critical benefits

Staffing liquidity

Besides the lightning fast recruitment process and being incredibly cost effective, freelancers provide your workplace with the continuous supply of on-demand talent.

Because of the increased level of efficiency freelancers add to the workplace, organisations are evolving to make hiring freelancers a standard procedure.

Unlike hiring full time staff, there's no obligation to keep a freelancer on board throughout the year. If you only need to hire a programmer for a certain project, a freelancer can get the job done for however long you require them. This staffing flexibility means that you have continuous access to an almost endless choice of incredibly talented programmers globally whenever an impromptu technical requirement arises.

Talent transparency

The issue faced by recruiters in the tech space is that access to talent does not equate to its demand in the market. There are far too many jobs available and not enough talent to fill these roles.

When you hire a freelance programmer you have instant access to their former client reviews and work portfolio. So you have complete peace of mind that you're hiring a talented programmer that is perfectly suited for the job.

Keeping it linked to the bone

When hiring a freelancer you remain in control of the entire hiring process, unless you prefer to hire a specialised freelancer recruiter to do the job for you.

Critical drawbacks

Staff work remotely

Some employers prefer to work physically side-by-side with their employees. Especially when relaying instructions, you can have more confidence that the other party has a clear understanding of what you are saying if you are looking at them while speaking.

Of course, when working remotely with your staff, this hurdle could be overcome by simply conversing via chat. Some employers still, however, feel a lot more in control if they have instant access to their staff at all times.

Summary: An unsolved technical problem in your workplace, if left unattended, could stunt your growth and heavily effect workflow efficiency. If you need to hire a programmer you could either take the conventional route and hire via an agency, or you could take the innovative route and hire a freelancer.

If you choose the innovate route, you could have your programmer hired and started on your project before your conventional friends even receive their first candidate application.

 

 

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