Best tips for hiring a good software developer

Anyone who uses the Internet knows that to visit the required site, you will have to type in the key words in the search engine. Once you see the link, you click on it. All it takes is a few words and a click for you to get the desired results. However, this simple task has been made simple for you. This is done by the software developers.

Most of us use technology in almost every aspect of our lives through innumerable apps, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, etc. Behind all this innovative technological innovation is a software developer. They can take an idea, give it structure, and build software or systems, fix a bug, manage an existing system, or make a process more efficient.

With ever-evolving technology, the need and demand for skilled software developers are also on the rise. If your organization is looking for a software developer, it is imperative that you find the right person who will fit the job as well as the organization.

Why should you hire talented software developers?

Developers are at the core of any business, and their creations add monetary value to the company.

Hiring the right talent for development helps a business:

#1 Higher productivity

This doesn’t need much explanation. A talented workforce can be highly productive. If you are looking to work on significant projects (or multiple ones) within set deadlines, you need skilled employees.   

#2 High-quality work

Highly skilled developers create high-quality work, which eventually reduces errors, iterations, and therefore costs and time.  

#3 Speed to market

Any development project is a liability until it is deployed. Hence, you will notice that most projects come with a tight deadline. A team of talented developers will help you achieve this quite effortlessly.  

#4 Agility of innovation

If you are a company that launches new products, services, or versions often, you need a talented and dedicated workforce.    

#5 Efficient project management

Developers are familiar with the software’s functioning and are therefore skilled at fixing glitches and gaps. A dedicated and talented team of developers will help you to deploy, maintain, and even troubleshoot problems.

What should you look for in software developers?

Creating or developing is a creative, complex, and time-consuming process. An obvious skill is to have technical knowledge and expertise in commonly used programming languages and operating systems.

Apart from those, developers who have a spectrum of functional skills and a strong set of personal attributes to be termed ‘talented’.

Some common technical skills required of a developer include:

  • Java/JavaScript
  • Python
  • C++/C#
  • PHP
  • HTML
  • MySQL/MSSQL
  • Operating systems like Windows, Linux
  • Android and iOS for mobile developers

Functional skills to be evaluated are:

  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Logical reasoning
  • Problem-solving/Analytical skills
  • Creativity

Most developers work on their own most of the time, and rarely have client interaction. They get instructions from a team leader or manager. However, there may come a chance to interact with clients or other stakeholders to understand the project requirements. Here arises the need for some basic interpersonal skills: 

  • Listening
  • Probing
  • Communicating complex concepts in a simple way

These are skills necessary to get the work done. However, if a developer has a certain temperament, it adds to their skillset. Some personality attributes that matter are:

  • Ability to learn
  • Adaptability
  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Perseverance

Types of Software Developers

There are many aspects that developers work with, even if they specialize in a certain field. Some of the common ones are:

#1 Software Developer

They create software according to a user’s needs. They understand and analyze the customer’s requirements, designing and writing codes to build software. Software can also be mobile apps, IoT, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  

#2 Web Developer

They create websites and are also responsible for maintaining their performance. There are two types of web developers: 

  1. Back-end developer – Back-end developers work on aspects that are not visible to the users. They work on the server side and write codes that link the application or website with the database. These include data storage, accessing data, and security.
  2. Front-end developer: Front-end developers work on the aspects that are seen by the users or customers. They work on the client side, including aspects like design and ease of use for users.

#3 Full-stack Developer

They work with both the front-end and back-end of web or application development. So, they work on the server and client sides as well as manage the database.  

#4 Game Developer

As the term suggests, they develop games that can be played on different devices like computers, mobile phones, game consoles, or online platforms. They also work extensively with graphics and Artificial Intelligence to make the game attractive and interactive.  

#5 Big Data Developer

They work with a large amount of data and share insights for predictive analysis using machine learning tools. They write codes to automate data analysis and identify patterns in the data.  

#6 Mobile Developer

They are also called App Developers, and they design and develop mobile applications for various mobile platforms like Android, iOS, or Windows. Since mobile apps are used by all industries, app developers also have to deal with data security (in banking or healthcare apps).

#7 Graphics Developer

They write codes to create complex 2D or 3D images and animations in apps, games, and websites. They are responsible for how a website, game, or app looks to the user. Extensively used in games, graphic design is a big part of apps that involve gamification, like fitness apps, habit trackers, or even reminder apps.  

#8 DevOps Specialist 

“DevOps” stands for Development and Operations engineers. They manage and maintain the computer’s infrastructure and servers. Although they don’t write codes to build software or apps, they do write codes to manage servers.  

#9 Blockchain Developer

This is a relatively new concept. Blockchain is a shared ledger or database for recording business transactions and tracking assets. Blockchain developers design the structure of the system. They also set rules and protocols for accessing and security of the database.  

#10 Operating System Developer

OS developers write software that makes Windows, Android, Mac OS, Linux, and Unix work. They also consistently check and improve the performance, capacity, and user-friendliness of the operating system.

What should you avoid while hiring software developers?

A quote by David Parnas stands true here. He said: “One bad programmer can easily create two new jobs a year.” This satirical quote indicates that it is important to hire a talented workforce. You must avoid the following while hiring software developers:

#1 Hiring candidates with low technical expertise

If you are going to hire a developer at an excellent salary, you must invest in thoroughly evaluating the candidate for their technical expertise. There are multiple ways in which you can gauge this—through simulations, case studies, code writing, gamified troubleshooting exercises, etc. As it is, developers love a good challenge!  

#2 Giving in to high expectations of the candidate

You may be hiring some highly talented developers, but it is important that you understand what your organization can offer the candidate. A developer’s stability is important for project continuity.  

#3 Side-tracking culture fit for technical expertise

In the long run, it will be difficult for the manager and you if the candidate doesn’t accept feedback well. Other aspects of the temperament that fit your organizational culture need to be evaluated in the interview.  

#4 Hiring in desperation

If you have a requisition for a developer with a tight deadline, you may be tempted to settle for what seems like a ‘good catch’. You must still take enough time to evaluate the candidate well.

8 great platforms to look for good software developers

Like any other source of finding talent, you can source potential candidates from job sites, referrals, and platforms like LinkedIn. However, many developers participate in forums and belong to technical communities. Remember that you will also have to study and prepare before interviewing candidates in this field.

Here are some platforms where you can find talented software developers:

#1 StackOverflow

Known to be one of the top sources of finding excellent technical talent, StackOverflow has a discussion forum where programmers ask and answer technical questions. It is also a site where you get peer reviews for contributions. Contributors with more upvotes are valued as highly skilled and earn Stack Overflow reputation points and badges.  

#2 GitHub

Another community where developers share their knowledge and even their codes that peers can reuse for their projects. Developers with higher skills often have a higher number of followers.  

#3 Dice

It is a job board and candidate sourcing site. It gives you results tuned to the detailed search criteria you enter.  

#4 Toptal

Toptal is an exclusive network of the top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers in the world. It matches profiles with extensive experience relevant to the role. 

#5 Upwork

Upwork is used to hire freelance professionals. You can post jobs, and ask interested applicants to share their work samples before interviewing them.

#6 Gun.io

It is a platform to hire elite freelance software developers. It has a great match to filter candidates through assessments like coding tests and a technical interview with its talent management team.

#7 freeCodeCamp

It is a free, non-profit community that helps developers learn to code by building projects. A coder earns certifications for every project. Developers can ask questions as well as answer queries posted by others.

#8 Digital Ocean

It is a platform where developers support other developers. The community helps them answer questions, share ideas, or ask for help from peers. Open-source codes are posted and discussed. Tutorials are also available for additional learning.

6 types of pre-employment tests to assess software developers

Since there are a lot of technical and personal skills that a talented developer needs to have, it is more efficient if you conduct pre-employment tests to evaluate some aspects. Here are some types of assessments you can conduct:

  1. Online tests designed for Software Developers that contain multiple choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, descriptive questions, audio/video questions, coding simulations etc. E.g. Xobin, Criteria
  2. Case studies can evaluate many technical aspects as well as give you some insight into how the candidate approaches a situation. These can also be automated with online proctoring. E.g. DevSkiller, Crustlab
  3. Code tests are timed, automated assessments that ask candidates to write working codes. E.g. Hackerrank, Codilty, and CodeSignal
  4. Take-home technical tests are given to candidates with the flexibility of working in their own space. They also involve writing codes, troubleshooting/debugging a code and sometimes creating a report or presentation around their approach and insights. These can be used as a reference for their face-to-face interview.
  5. Live technical interviews allow the interviewer to interact with the candidate and ask them questions while the code is being written. E.g. Codingame
  6. Aptitude tests are customized to evaluate an entry-level coder’s cognitive abilities and knowledge of technology. E.g. Mettl

Conclusion

Since developers occupy an important role in an organization, ensure that you use enough pre-employment tests to evaluate them on the essential criteria set by your company. Once you have evaluated candidates on basic (and even intermediate) technical skills, the next step will be to gauge the culture fit. When the candidate meets a certain benchmark, you can proceed with an in-depth evaluation.

If your organization has the budget for automated assessments, the process may become relatively easier for you. If it doesn’t, being organized and thorough will help you evaluate software developers. Apart from investing time and effort, you will need to be creative to evaluate these creative people!

FAQs on Hiring Software Developers

How important is communication skill for a developer?

We know that although communication between developers is limited, it is important that developers listen to and understand the client’s needs. They must also be able to ask the right questions to get clarity about the expected software. This can be gauged through role-plays, case studies, or simulations.

What is the basic technical knowledge a software developer must have?

Software developers must know about operating systems, programming languages, networking, cloud computing, databases, and data structures.

What is the role of cybersecurity in software development?

All software is connected to a database that needs to be protected from hacking and cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity protects the user’s data by testing the database for vulnerabilities and intrusions. It is an additional advantage if a software developer has knowledge of cybersecurity.  

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