How to Hire a Software Developer

How to Hire a Software Developer

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to hiring a software developer, since determining what makes a good software developer will depend largely on your own team’s needs and goals. A great developer for one company doesn’t always translate to a good match for another due many factors, like the programming languages needed, whether the role is front end or back end, and even the industry you’re working in. That being said, if you have a good understanding of what your team requires, you’ll be able to find a great software developer to lead you to success.

The first step is to define what your business needs are and how they can best be met. You might not be able to come up with a list of everything by yourself, but talking with the people who will be working with the new developer will put you on the right path. There are also some key skills for a software developer that you should look for regardless of the specifics for your team, which we’ll go over in the next section.


Qualifications to Look For When Hiring a Software Developer

If you’re unsure what a software developer does and how they’ll fit in your organization’s structure, think of a developer like a project manager. Their primary responsibility is to design a program or piece of software to help users complete a task, then guide their team along the development process until it’s finished.

Knowing how to code is obviously crucial for software developers but it’s not the only thing that’s important. That’s because in most situations they won’t be doing all of the coding themselves; they’ll be managing a team of programmers. So having project management, communication, and other collaborative skills in addition to their coding prowess is just as valuable.


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Here are some other responsibilities of software developers that you can base your search on:

  • Outline the aspects of a program and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Show programmers the software code needed for an application via models or diagrams
  • Conduct maintenance and testing to confirm that a program continues to work
  • Document an application thoroughly for future maintenance


Qualifications & Skills for a Software Developer

Remember, only you know exactly what to look for when hiring a software developer for your organization. Are you mostly working in C++ and with Amazon Web Services? Then you’ll need someone who knows their way around those systems instead of a developer fluent in Java and Python. If you’re totally unsure where to start, employers on iHireTechnology look for these key skills for a software developer.


developer qualifications


Education and Experience

Another obstacle you might find when hiring a software developer is the level of education or amount of experience to look for. That’s because a degree doesn’t always correlate with an amazing developer in the software world, and with the amount of coding bootcamps and certification courses available, it’s entirely possible that you’ll find a great fit for your organization who is self-taught. However, many developers do at least have a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

The most important aspect, though, is experience. Unless you’re willing to hire an entry-level professional or run an internship program, you’ll want someone who has at least a few years under their belt as a programmer or a developer and a proven track record of success. It’s common for developers to have a portfolio, so be sure to ask for that, too.


Developer Education and Experience


Licensing and Certifications Required for a Software Developer

When trying to decide what to look for in a software developer, licensing and certifications can be a huge differentiator between candidates. Many software development certifications relate to specific platforms, so if you know you’ll be developing Windows apps, for example, having a certification from Microsoft is necessary. Others, like a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification, showcase an applicant’s leadership skills. These certifications and licenses are just a few of the many that are available for developers:


What is a Fair Software Developer Salary?

Software development is a highly competitive business, so to attract and retain the best talent you’ll have to offer aggressive pay. The average software developer’s salary in the U.S. is around $72,500, but that number will change based on location and the type of software you’re developing. For example, web/front end developers make an average of $69,430, while mobile software developers earn an average of $80,824 in the U.S. Check out iHire’s Salary Research Tool to find average salaries in your area.


Developer salary


Sample Software Developer Job Ad

An enticing job posting is crucial for attracting top software development talent. Be as specific as possible in the job title (without going overboard) for the type of developer you’re looking for. Usually 4–6 words will work. For example, “Back End Developer – Java and Python” is more informative than just “Software Developer.” Being specific in the responsibilities, qualifications, and skills needed will also help interested developers know if they’re eligible, and will cut down on confusion and save you time in the long run.

Use this ad for a software developer to get you started:

Back End Mobile Developer

ABC Company is seeking a Back End Mobile Developer to join our team to build and implement updates to our popular iOS app. As part of a hardworking and fast-paced team, you’ll be responsible for tasks such contributing to the design, testing, releasing, and support of the app.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in computer science is desired, but exceptions may be made based on experience and an outstanding portfolio. Fluency in Swift and Objective-C is required.

Job Responsibilities

  • Produce defect-free software using the latest technology, standards, and best practices.
  • Apply generally accepted programming standards and techniques to assure efficient program logic and data manipulation. 
  • Identify and plan for new features.
  • Develop APIs to support mobile functionality.
  • Outline the aspects of a program and plan how the pieces will work together.
  • Show programmers the software code needed for an application via models or diagrams.
  • Provide adequate unit and system-level testing of the features and bug fixes.
  • Document an application thoroughly for future maintenance.

Requirements & Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree (B.S.) from four-year college or university, or one to two years related experience and/or training, or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • App Development with Swift Certification
  • Experience managing a team of programmers
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Detail-oriented and able to work effectively in a fast-paced environmentEffective communication skills
  • A friendly yet professional attitude


Best Interview Questions to Ask a Software Developer

Software developers need both technical and soft skills to succeed, so basing your interviews around those two subjects will help you determine who is the best fit for your team. Start with a technical interview to make sure the candidate’s coding skills are up to par, and work with an experienced developer from your team to devise questions that will accurately test the applicants. If it’s not possible to include another developer, these questions are a good place to start:

  • Which three programming languages do you prefer, or are most familiar with?
  • What do you think are the most important aspects to pay attention to when reviewing another team member’s code?
  • How familiar are you with object-oriented programming (OOP)?
  • When writing your own database server, what should you consider?

By definition, soft skills require less technical knowledge on the interviewer’s part so you may not need extra people in the interview to help gauge a candidate’s abilities. However, you’ll want to focus on questions related to project management and collaboration. Some examples are:

  • Tell me about a project you completed successfully. Explain how you handled any obstacles you may have run into.
  • Tell me about a time you and team member disagreed about how a project should be managed, and what the outcome was.
  • How do you come up with time-frame estimates and what do you do if you miss the due date?
  • Do you enjoy working with a team or alone?


Additional Tips for Hiring a Software Developer

Because software developers work so closely with their team, it’s important that you test if they’ll be able to get along with your established employees. In some cases, a final candidate will undergo a paid probationary period with the team. You’ll get to see them in action and your team can give you valuable feedback on how well they work together. Most probationary periods are around three months, and you should absolutely pay the candidate for their time.


Related Resources


Where to Hire a Software Developer

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By iHire | February 09, 2022