“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for the love of it.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Recently, someone tweeted at me. He said:
@baumgartensam An idea for sambaumgarten.me “How to hire/choose a developer for your web app”.
— Lance Selgo (@LanceUEP) October 27, 2013
So I pondered this question and thought about what I look for if I ever need to hire a developer. True, I am an engineer myself; however, sometimes I need other people to work on my own projects or to help a client find another developer. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a developer:
Understand the difference between an Engineer and a Developer
Often, I hear the words engineer and developer used interchangeably, even I sometimes do it. However, there is a very clear and major difference between these two terms. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary an engineer is, ”a person who has scientific training and who designs and builds complicated products, machines, systems, or structures : a person who specializes in a branch of engineering.” The definition of an developer is, “a person or company that creates computer software.“ The major difference here is a software engineer designs applications (the structure) and a developer codes them. All software engineers are developers; however, not all developers are engineers. Developing software is not extremely difficult; however, learning how to design applications is.
Don’t choose the cheapest developer
In the world of hiring developers, the saying you get what you pay for applies to an extreme extent. Developers are in high-demand and if you find a developer willing to work for under $20 per hour, run as fast as you can. There is a reason that developer charges so little. A engineer with over 6 years of experience will cost you in-between $80 and $250 per hour. (aka, don’t hire a code monkey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYodWEKCuGg)
Passion is key
You have an extreme passion for your product which is why you spend so much time and effort working on it. To reference the quote at the top of this post, don’t find the developer just looking for money. Find a developer that has a vision for your product that aligns with yours. You can give a developer a billion code tests; yet, you wouldn’t know if he really cares about your project. The more your developer cares, the harder he will work.
Always conduct a skype or in-person interview
Even if you have no idea on how development works, still talk with the developer before you hire him. You can talk with him about who he is, what he likes doing, and where he sees your product going.
This point connects with my last point a bit. Try and find a technical advisor to your project. This tech advisor can help out a lot while hiring people. First, the developers will know not to tell you BS. Second, your tech advisor should have a good idea of if this person can actually do what they are promising. And last, your tech advisor can ask the person technical questions.
That sums up this article. If you guys have any ideas for articles, tweet me (@baumgartensam) or email me at email@example.com. A big thank you to Lance Selgo for the idea for this article. Don’t forget to tweet this article and share it (and vote it up on hacker news) :)
Also, if any of you are interested in having me as a technical advisor to a project, please shoot me an email.