hiring a programmer

How to Hire a Freelance Developer

How to hire a freelance developer when they are in such high demand? And how to distinguish a good coder from a bad one if you don’t know how to code yourself?  Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The need to hire a freelance developer is increasingly important for many businesses. From SMEs to Fortune 500 employees, coders are vital to the development of their activity. Yet the resource is scarce and the competition to hire the best is high.

To some extent, hiring a developer is a little like hiring a translator. How can you check the quality of the work if you don’t understand the language? Programming languages can sure feel foreign to most.

3 Tips to Hire a Freelance Developer

Fortunately, there are a few guidelines anyone can follow. Those will help you avoiding obvious mistakes and put you on the right tracks to find the great programmer you need.

1. Check the developer’s public activity

Most talented developers will have some public activity to show for themselves. This can be their Github account, blog, Twitter account, Stackoverflow… Let’s briefly walk through them.

On a developer’s Github account, you will find his personal projects that he chose to make publicly available, and his contributions to open source code. It’s a great way to check coding habits, quality, and commitments.

Through his blog and/or Twitter, a coder can take the time to explain and transmit coding skills to others. That’s a great sign of someone committed and able to articulate his/her thoughts. And surely that shows this person will be able to communicate with you and your team.

The same logic goes with Stackoverflow, which is a site where programmers can ask coding questions and post replies to help others.

All those will help you to know what language the freelance developer truly masters and enjoy working with, be it Ruby on Rails, Javascript, PHP…

2. Reach out to previous employers

If you are interested but not sure yet and need more insights, you can ask the candidate for previous employers’ contact information.

You will be able to ask them three important questions: Can the candidate fit well in a team, share his views on a project and make propositions? Is he committed to his work/loves programming? And is he actually good at what he does?

Those are questions that are typically asked to lead devs and product managers. Add a few specific to your project.

3. Stay away from the cheap marketplaces

If you aren’t familiar with hiring a developer, avoid the cheap marketplace. You might get lucky and find that one-in-a-million programmer. You might. But as a rule of thumb, here is the thing about cheap marketplaces: they attract cheap developers. The problem is race-to-the-bottom price competition that rules there. These places can be good to find other type of help (think Virtual Assistants), but not so much to hire a programmer.

Great developers know they are in high demand and won’t bother applying for a job along with 20 cheap developers. One exception though, you might find a great developer that is actually just starting as a freelance and getting his/her feet wet on that kind of platform.

So, how to hire a freelance developer without these marketplaces? There are other platforms especially targeting programming work. Those are more reliable, and often vet developers themselves. Sure, they are more expensive. But more often than not, great programming work will save you money down the line.

Here are some of them:

How to Hire a Freelance Developer
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