How Do You Hire Software Developers? [inc Costs]

Posted by Pete Heard | June, 08, 2017

In this article we will discover some ways to hire software developers and the costs associated with it!

You have 4 options when it comes to enlisting help for your software project(s). They all come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Think about your objectives and then work backwards to find out which route you should take.

Employment

The first option is to ‘employ’ software developers. This offers a long term solution which will help companies who have extensive needs. For example for ongoing support and maintenance of software systems. You can expect to pay between 30-90k salary for an experienced software developer, over time can it work out to be cheaper than bringing in contract resource.

The main downside with directly employing developers is that you have now increased your ongoing business costs, for some projects it doesn’t make sense to employ since there is a fixed duration with very clear goals that won’t exist beyond the project scope. Plus you will also need to provide more management and training if the developers you take on don’t have all the requisite skills.

Cost : £30 - £90k per year

Freelance/Contract

Hiring freelance or contract resource (as needed) is often a good way to find highly experienced engineers for projects that have a shorter duration or that don’t have the time to let developers learn new skills needed for the project.

Contractors and freelancers move from project to project meaning their skills are often up to date with the latest frameworks/languages. Teams built on them can get up and running faster.

The downside to external contractors is that they typically cost 30-50% more than taking on permanent developers.

Usually, contract developers are on a 1-2 week notice meaning that if the project fails or you don’t think they aren’t performing you have the option to easily terminate their contract.

This leaves you with less risk. However you will still need to manage contractors as they are essentially integrating into your organisation. A good approach can be to blend permanent developers with contractors which can be good for bringing in up to date knowledge and skills into your organisation.

Cost : £400 - £600 per day

Off-Shore

The main benefit to use off-shore developers such as in India or Eastern Europe is usually cost. They can be half the price of a UK developer. Expect to pay circa £1800 per month for an off-shore developer. Clearly this comes with increase risk for your business.

This is because you are introducing bottlenecks around communication. To properly model real world problems in software you need to have highly cohesive conversations between the business stakeholders, users and developers.

By being in a different country with a different native language you are impeding this, so make sure you are careful about managing this risk. If you decide to take this route don’t treat them as an external resource.

Treat them the same as you would an internal resouece. This means interviewing them properly and giving them all the same perks as your in-house staff. A blended approach with in-house staff can be a good idea here. One case study which shows successful integration of off-shore developers is here.

Cost : £1800 per month

Consultancy

A consultancy is an external business who will take on an entire project. Typically, they will work with you by understanding your requirements and should consistently deliver working high quality software and code without management. Consultancies can be the most expensive option and this presents the biggest downside. Expect to pay between £500 and £1200 per day for the top consultancies in London.

The reason the rates can go so high is because some of the consultancies specialise in particular areas which a client may help with in order to successfully complete projects.

For example (some organisations have code quality problems, some may need advanced skills in user interface design and development, or some might need skills in the newly emerging architectural princples). Consultancies can help organisations to de-risk certain projects because they can offload and compartmentalise the management. This provides a value add on top of ad-hoc staff/contractors.

Cost : £400 - 1200 per day

Well, there we go now you know your options and costs when it comes to enlisting help for your software projects!



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Pete Heard is the founder of Logic Room. He helps organisations create web and mobile software using JavaScript.


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