How to Find & Hire Developers for Startup?
17 min.

If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are good that you’ve struggled with how to find a developer for your startup. And it’s no wonder. In North American and Western European markets especially, there are severe talent shortages for software application developers of all levels.

In fact, the latest numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about 1.4 million software development/engineering jobs go unfilled, with only 400,000 IT graduates entering the market every year. That’s only about a third of what’s needed, and creates a real problem for hiring software developers for startup companies.

If the talent shortage continues to make it harder to find web developers for startup companies, the Bureau reports that the US could be losing $162 billion in economic growth each year, just from a lack of talent to implement to keep innovation going.

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Competition for finding and hiring web developers, developer partners, and software developers is intense, especially for startup companies. Why? Because startups are high risk ventures—not just for the founders, but for everyone in the company’s employ.

Whether a company succeeds or fails at this stage is often tied directly to issues of site performance. To find web developers for startups, you need to find talented team members who are fast, highly skilled, and have an appetite for the roller-coaster world of startups.

We can help. At ProCoders, we’re a Ukraine-based IT outsourcing firm dedicated to matching startups to the talent they need to succeed. To show you how it’s done, we’ve developed this report that will show you step by step how to find software developer for startup companies you’re developing.

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With the research we’ll give you, you’ll see finding and hiring developers as partners, software engineers or designers is not nearly as scary as it sounds. The secret is having a plan. In this case, it’s a simple eight- step plan that can help you think through the considerations that will help you find app developer for startup companies, no matter how small. Let’s get started.

How to Find Developers for Startup in Eight Easy Steps

Whether you’re hiring software developers for startup purposes (maybe you are thinking about how to make an educational app) or looking for information on how to find a developer partner for a startup, this guide takes you through your decision- making process, in a very specific order.

Why? Because making wrong hiring decisions can cost you. And wrong hiring decisions often happen because company leaders neglected to anticipate their needs, didn’t know what they’re looking for, or went looking for help in the wrong places.

Success, after all, comes not just from conquering how to find software developer for startup companies making a hire. Success comes from hiring the right talent, developing the right project parameters, and setting up the right project management system for your business.

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Stepping through this process will show you how to find a developer for your startup that will not just do the job, but help you meet your goals. Hiring software developers for startup companies shouldn’t be a painful process, if you follow these eight simple steps.

Step One — Define Your Scope:

Is your upcoming project a high-tech project or a low tech project? This may seem like an obvious question, but it’s one you must answer before you can even begin. How do you answer this question will determine everything about your project, and help you find app developer for startup conditions that match the difficulty level that’s required.

How do you know the difficulty level of your project? Ask yourself these questions before hiring software developers for startup:

  • Can my website or mobile application be developed without extensive back- end data systems being developed?
  • Can my project be developed using off the shelf tools such as Wix, Word Press, WooCommerce, or other widely available platforms?
  • Is my site small, needing not that many pages? This will affect how to find a web developer for startup, and how you should set your budget parameters.
  • Do I have a long lead time that would allow just one developer to do most of the work?
  • Can this project be completed without needing extensive customized programming, design or imagery?
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If you’ve answered yes to these questions, then you’ve most likely got a low-tech project on your hands. In this case, you should be able to find and hire mobile app developers and other experts without the need to find a senior-level developer partner, or take on a CTO co-founder.

If the answer to these questions is no, then you have a high-tech project on your hands, one that will have you hiring software developers for startup development teams, maybe even in multiple groups.

At ProCoders we’re familiar with working on the difficult and not-so-difficult jobs. When you’re ready to vet a consulting firm, make sure to ask them about the projects they’ve done lately. You’ll need a firm that can rise to your level.

Step Two — Determining the Need for a CTO Co-Founder:

Before we can launch into a discussion of how to find a developer partner for a startup, you should ask yourself, do you need one at all?

After all, you can find web developers for startups fairly easily, but how to find a developer partner for a startup? That’s a far more difficult task. To figure this out, a little soul searching might be in order.

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Companies with low-tech needs probably won’t need to take the step of having a CTO partner. However, if your company’s brand promise is rooted in the technology solutions you’re offering to your customers, a tech expert at the helm could turn out to be your greatest asset. You’ll need someone who can think strategically about your product, be constantly iterating new tech offerings, and have the knowhow to see the development done.

How to find a developer partner for a startup can be a tricky business, however. You’re looking for a long-term partner here, and that’s not exactly something that can be readily found on a job board. If we’re talking about creating a site from scratch or helping you convert Wix to WordPress, you’ll want a portfolio, references, and recommendations. You’ll need to see this person in action, to determine if their manner and management style is a good fit for your organization. And you’ll want to find app developer for startup situations with expertise in programming, but also knows how to lead people, projects, and KPIs.

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If you’re wondering how to find a developer partner for a startup, start with networking. Attend local events for startups, and business events in your industry. Go to conferences. Friend technology leaders in your industry on LinkedIn and social media. Read industry publications.

Find similar companies that have made big tech strides in your industry, and befriend their people on social media, as well. Ask questions, invite them to lunch or coffee, and get a “lay of the land” for who might be the tech leaders in your industry, and in your area. Build that network, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you might come up with a list of potential candidates.

When you find the right shortlist, approach the candidates with your business idea. You’ll not only find app developer for startup requirements, you’ll find a long term business ally. And it’s hard to put a price on that.

Step Three — Define the job:

If you’re starting up a company, how you structure this first job—the building of your application—will be critical. And also, it’s critical you provide your developer team a clear job brief, with as much thought out in advance as possible.

Before you can know how to find developers for startup or just hire remote developers, you have to be able to set:

  • Project features — What do you want your application to do? What benefits will it offer to the user? Do you need developers with some narrow industry knowledge (for example, hire eCommerce developers)? Answering this questions will also help you decide what expertise level you will need — senior or junior developers?
  • Database considerations — Where will it draw its information from? How will that data be accessed and manipulated? This will help you find app developer for startup project that are matched exactly to the task, and determine whether you need to hire backend developers, as well.
  • Schedule — How fast will this project need to be completed? This will help you determine whether you can hire one developer, or more, and light the way for how to find software developers for startup needs.
  • Budget — How much seed capital do you have to invest in the development? If you’re looking for a CTO partner, will you be expecting him or her to buy in to the project by investing money?
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To know how to find software developers for startup projects, you’ll need a grasp of the basics you’ll be asking from them. Thinking through these steps will give you a great starting point for these conversations. At ProCoders, we know how to walk you through these discussions, and get the proper information to start a job. Pay attention to what your prospective firm asks you. It will reveal a lot about how well they do their research before they work.

Step Four — Define the skillsets you need:

Whether you need to find and hire a web developer, software developer, app developer or developer partner, how you do that will be largely determined by the skillsets you need. And now that you know what features you need, you’ll be able to build that list more concretely.

Here’s an example: If you are building a tech platform that must work equally well on mobile or the web, then you’re going to need to know how to find a developer for your startup that’s proficient in hybrid technologies for development. Make an expertise wish list that includes:

  • Flutter
  • Ionic
  • Xamarin
  • React Native
  • JavaScript
  • And others

Use this wish list to vet developers you interview or seek out on job boards. Or, if you’re going to an IT consulting firm, this will be a critical bit of project brief you’ll need to supply for them to match the right developers to your needs. Understand your tech needs, and its perhaps the most important step you can take to find web developers for startups.

Step Five — Determine whether you want to hire internally or use consultant/freelance help.

If you want to know how to find a web developer for startup, this is one of the key questions you have to answer.

There are many factors you need to consider when you are determining how to find software developer for startup projects. Chief among them is the duration and intensity of the work you need done. Will you have a great deal of ongoing work for a developer to do? Will it be exciting work that’s challenging enough to keep them from jumping ship, and going somewhere else? Is the company stable and well-funded? Can you offer a competitive salary and benefits for your area?

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If the answer to these questions is yes, then you should pursue hiring staff internally. How to find developers for a startup, then, becomes a matter of posting the job through job boards and communities like Glassdoor, indeed, Stack, Github, and Overflow can be a big help.

Keep in mind, though, that the markets are competitive, so spend time on these platforms before you list your positions, so you can understand what the going rate to hire a real development MVP team player for your market.

What if the answer to these questions is no?

Then chances are good you’ll need to find and hire web developers.

If your needs are few and brief, you might be able to find app developer for startup projects that can work only until your application is done. You may end up paying higher fees for this than for consultants working on retainer, but the short commitment may make it easier to pay the fees on a one-time basis.

You’ll also need to make arrangements for staffers who can monitor your online assets and handle security and updating work, but this might be an entry level programmer who may cost less. It’s one strategy for keeping costs in check but works best if you can be certain your needs will be minor in the future.

If you want to know how to find web developer for startup companies that can consult for you over the long term, your best bet is to work with an IT consulting firm. Consulting firms have ready banks of talent available, and in most cases can match you to a developer with the exact suite of skills you need in short order.

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IT consultants are also good at hiring software developers for startup companies that need surge capacity in their development staff, so they can staff up or down as needed. And, when you work with a consulting firm over the long term, they are going to be highly familiar with your company and your processes, and are able to point out upcoming needs before they become urgent.

Whether you’re hiring web, app, or software developer partners, IT consulting firms are an excellent choice for how to find and retain top talent quickly.

Step Six — Determine if you want to manage your developers directly, or indirectly:

While consulting firms are great at helping find web developers for startups, they’re not created equal. Rates can vary by 50 percent or more, depending on the area of the world where the firm resides. And they often have very different ways of handling their client relations and daily work.

For instance, some consulting firms take a very stratified, administrative approach to handling client relations. At this type of firm, clients are handled by account executives and project managers who take care of daily direction of your consulting developers. Clients are hands off, with progress reporting coming in at specified times.

If you don’t have a CTO or IT project managers on staff, this can be a real benefit. But while firms like this can show you how to find a developer for your startup, and take care of the work, many clients often find this lack of transparency frustrating.

So, then the question becomes, how to find software developer for startup projects when, as a client, you want to take a more active role in day-to-day management? Fortunately, there are lots of firms out there, ProCoders included, that specialize in working directly with clients.

When you work with us, for instance, you’ll be able to talk to your outsourced ProCoders developers on a daily basis. You direct their work for the day. You receive their reports. Our people plug directly into your project management systems and update meetings. Whether you’re looking to find and hire web, app, or partner developers, we have found this is how the majority of clients with internal IT resources wish to work.

Step Seven — Conduct a Thorough Interview

Now that you know how to find developers for startup projects, the key is to choose the right one from the candidates presented. That can be tricker than it might appear, at first glance. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have more options than you need presented before you, and you can narrow it down by comparing resumes against the specific technical expertise you need.

Once you’ve gotten a short stack of candidates, your interviews will be key. This may seem not as important, especially if you’re working with an IT consulting firm that is vetting candidates. But don’t skimp on this step. Finding the right fit is a critical part of hiring software developers for startup companies.

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Here’s some of the questions you should consider asking:

  • Have you worked with any other companies in our industry vertical?
  • Tell me about projects you have completed that are similar to ours.
  • Where did you get your programming education?
  • What, in your mind, does an ideal collaboration between consultant and client look like? This allows you to check to see if your prospect thinks like you do on management issues, and ensure you find web developers for startups that understand the unique pressures you face.
  • Knowing what you do about our needs, what do you think will be key areas we should focus on with this project?
  • What are your additional areas of expertise? Do you know additional programing languages or have experience with other libraries or platforms we might find useful? Consulting firms who know how to find a developer for your startup should automatically factor this into the candidates they suggest. Staffers with extra capabilities, after all, are always able to participate on the next, more challenging project.

Step Eight — Negotiate a Trial Period

Now that you know how to find app developer for startup teams, and you’ve found a developer you’d like to work with, negotiate a trial period, if you can. Not every developer is a perfect match, and it makes sense to reverse course if the talent you’ve hired isn’t the right fit. This is especially important if you are working with an individual consultant, keeping you from having to extricate yourself from lengthy contracts.

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A good IT consulting firm should be able to handle this ably, quickly switching out developer resources should you need a different staffer. Whether you’re hiring a web, app, software or developer partner, get flexibility baked into your deal, no matter how you have to negotiate for it.

The All-in-One Solution

Is there an ideal, all in one solution that allows you to find web developers for startups, and fit them seamlessly into your project? Honestly, it depends on your existing resources—budgetary, management, and time. But the short answer to the question, is yes.

Here at ProCoders, we believe there are some common benefits that should be part of how to find developers for startup. Whether you’re finding and hiring a web, app, software or development partner, your ideal team should be:

  • Flexible — Able to scale up or scale down, depending on your surge capacity needs. This is a difficult feat for an internal hire. But individual and consulting firm talent should be able to provide you with this. Make sure your contract allows you the ability to make changes and change course if your needs change. Flexibility should be a key component of how to find a developer for your startup.
  • Affordable — When clients look for advice on how to find software developer for startup companies, this is often their first concern. We get it. Fortunately, options abound. Offshoring your development can save you as much as 50 percent over talent in North America or Western Europe. Allowing you to get more for your money.
    And consulting in general is far more cost-effective than hiring internal staff, as companies don’t have the additional load of healthcare, paid vacation, and benefits costs. Your consulting firm takes care of all that for you.
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  • Capable — Expertise is the name of the game. When you search for how to find web developer for startup, your developers should be as close a match as possible to the technical specifications for your project. Ideally, they should have deep experience not just in the programs and platforms, but in your specific industry vertical, too. On the job training is terrific. Just not on your startup. Buggy software can be a company killer, especially when your company is brand new.
  • Manageable — Choose developer staff that loves to collaborate and expects to be treated like a member of your team. This is how you’ll get the most done. A developer that sits in a cubicle all day coding without consulting with anyone else is not an asset to your organization.

Benefits of Hiring Offshore Software Developers

When it comes to hiring software developers for startup, we may be a little biased, but at ProCoders, we believe there are very distinct advantages that offshore IT developers can offer you, namely:

  • Scalability — While consultants can be found in every country, in Ukraine, IT consulting is one of our fastest growing industries and a major driver of GDP. We have a very high proportion of IT graduates coming out of our free university systems every year, and there’s always a fresh crop of talent with fresh skills to offer.
    IT offshoring companies like ProCoders can find you more talent, quicker than you can find elsewhere. Build your team up fast or slow, but ProCoders can always show you how to find developers for startup.
  • Quality Programming on the Cheap — We mean it when we say, programmers in Central Europe can provide you with world-class development for about half what consultants might cost you elsewhere. You can see it yourself if you compare app developer cost per hour in different regions. There is no better way to stretch your startup funds than this.
    As a Ukranian firm, we at ProCoders can confirm this is the case. We routinely save our clients 40 percent or more on their hourly rates—an advantage that has earned us many long-term relationships with clients.
  • Round the clock service — While our staff doesn’t work 24 hours a day, it can seem like your development never sleeps. When your staff is ending for the day, our staff is just getting started. And when well managed, you can easily create a 24 hour development cycle.
  • International perspective—If your entire development team is based in the same country or even the same state, are you really getting a world-class development experience? Get the benefit of consultants with a global culture and point of view, who can tell you how to prepare your brand for a global audience.
    At ProCoders, we pride ourselves on only hiring staffers who speak, write and read English fluently. And our direct communications, management transparency, and Western business values mean our team can seamlessly work with your team, no matter where you’re based. This should be a key part of how to find web developer for startup.


There’s a lot to the business of how to find a developer partner for a startup, and ProCoders can help you understand all the angles. After all, when you’ve done your homework at the beginning of a job, you’re far more likely to get the right developers matched to you, quickly.

In our experience, the right developer match, delivered quickly, can take your business from the drawing table to a successful, trouble-free launch. If you do your research (for example, about how to build an E-learning app, how to create a language app, how to create a website like Udemy or the cost of developing education apps) and get the right consulting firm in your corner, there’s no reason why you can’t staff up quickly and find web developers for startup that will get you to market ahead of the competition.

Whether you find and hire a web, app, software or developer partner, how you manage the team building process will be critical to your success. Invest in the partners that will make a difference.

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