Hiring Programmers for a Startup - A Non-Tech Founder Guide (2024)

See the source image

Every business or idea requires meticulous execution, or else the results will be unsatisfactory.

When it comes to starting your own business, you'll need to know how to hire startup developers.

It's even more important to know how to find a programmer for a startup. Especially if you come from a non-technical background.

You must comprehend the complexities of selecting the best candidate for the job.

Programmers are wizards in their own right. With their coding, they create magical digital solutions.

As a result, you'll have to hire a programmer for your company.

You understand that your startup will require the hiring of a developer or developers.

But do you know how to go about doing it?

What will you inquire about?

  • How can you be sure that they are familiar with the technology and knows how to create an application?
  • What are the costs, and, more importantly, where do you look for a programmer for your new business?

We've taken care of everything for you.

Hire Top Programmers for Your Startup Today at Toptal

So relax, grab a bite to eat, and begin reading this blog.

We've gone over every aspect of hiring programmers for startup owners.



Step 1 – Before You Hire a Developer

Define the type of structure you want to create.

What is my project about? This is the most important question you should ask yourself.

Defining the solution you want to build will help you hire the right developers for your startup.

Are you aiming for mobile users, web users, or a combination of the two?

Creating a digital solution for mobile and web will necessitate the use of native tools.

You'll need a developer who is familiar with hybrid development technologies if you want a solution that works on both mobile and web.

  • React Native 
  • Xamarin.
  • Flutter.
  • Ionic.

You may have to choose between Android and iOS when it comes to mobile solutions.

There are no overlaps in the development of the application. You can't expect an Android developer to create a comprehensive, native iOS app.

The same is true in the opposite direction.

Apart from that, both the iOS and Android SDKs are required for application development.

That is why, before learning how to hire a programmer for a startup, you must first determine the platform on which the app will run.

Examine the Products and Services of Your Competitors

Before founder will think about hiring a developer, he or she needs to think through tech stack to use in startup

Examine existing solutions that work along the same lines after you've decided on a platform.

Examine your competition to ensure a better reception of your solution and the hiring of the best programmers for your startup.

Before learning how to find programmers for your startup, you must first determine the viability of any solution.

Once you've compiled a list of similar solutions, make a note of the following:

  • Their features
  • What problems do they solve
  • Who is the ideal customer
  • How are they approaching the customer
  • Understand the problems and issues

The answers to these questions will assist you in visualizing the type of solution you want to create.

As a result, hiring programmers for a startup will be easier if you understand the critical application requirements.

Because you'll know what questions to ask the developer to gain a better understanding of his or her capabilities.

Define the value proposition of your product

Define the value proposition of your product

There are three things that will assist you in developing a compelling value proposition for your solution:

  • Relevancy
  • Quantified User Benefits
  • Differentiation

For both ends, developing a value proposition is critical.

You, on the other hand, want to know how to find a software developer for a startup and end-user.

Furthermore, developing a value proposition does not improve the appearance of your solution. No, it also aids in the delivery of genuine value to the customer.

When you share your values, mission, and vision with a potential developer, he will be more likely to understand your point of view.

Define your application and how it functions

Create a how-to plan for your solution to finding the right programmers for your startup.

For the operational sequences of the solutions, write everything down or make a rough draft.

Create a UX and UI mockup of the app if possible. Finding a programmer and demonstrating what they can expect from working with your startup is critical.

Create a user journey that demonstrates how the user should interact with your solution.

This knowledge is critical when it comes to hiring programmers for a startup.

Next, make a list of the features you'd like to see in the MVP version. This will help you prepare for an interview.

The following are some of the by-default features that are required for every application:

  • Sign-up or Registration
  • Profile Creation
  • Notifications
  • Contact

Aside from that, there are a number of solution-specific features to keep in mind.

While hiring a programmer for a startup, you can ask feature-related questions to learn how they approach the development process.

This guide is being written to assist even non-tech startup founders in gaining an understanding of what to expect from a candidate.

Even a non-tech founder needs to know where to look for a software developer for their startup.

Your ideal programmer should be able to determine which technology and framework is appropriate based on the features listed below.

He or she should also be aware of the timeframes for integrating them into the application.

Last but not least, make a solution roadmap. You should know how to proceed with each milestone in order to find a programmer for your startup.

So, before you call in candidates for an interview, set a budget and a timeline.

Until now, we've been concentrating on developing a comprehensive application plan. This is, once again, critical for non-tech startup founders.

Let's get this party started. We'll go over how to find a software developer for your startup and how to pick the best candidate.

You're familiar with the software development process.

Let's talk about who will build it and who will be in charge of the development process.

Step 2 – Understand What to Look For

Understand What to Look For

Always keep two things in mind:

  • Software development is not a job for a single person.

You can hire a full-stack developer for the job, but one person cannot flawlessly execute every aspect of it.

  • Software development is not for the faint of heart.

Before you hire developers for your startup, it's critical to find the right person.

As a result, we will not continue our discussion of how to find a programmer for a startup by discussing various types of developers.

Prior to beginning your task, you should familiarize yourself with the job description, profile, and requirements.

If you're making a web-based app, for example, hiring iOS mobile app developers isn't a good idea. Have I made my point?

So, let's get started talking about different types of developers. And you'll be able to help with another crucial question: how to hire a programmer for a startup.

There are different types of developers. Some people work on the backend, while others work on the front end.

There's a middle tier, a full-stack, desktop, web, mobile, and so on.

A Brief Overview of Developers

  • The Architect Role


It's a senior developer who understands the major cloud providers and is familiar with CI/CD.

Additionally, the system's architecture is scalable and cost-effective, with the ability to create automated, efficient, robust, and rollbackable release pipelines.

Key Responsibilities

Architects are in charge of creating a complex solution that meets the needs and goals of the company.

They also lead the team, conduct code and design reviews, and guide and assist various developers throughout the development process.

Frameworks Used

Architects who are well-versed in their development team's backend and frontend frameworks.


  • The Role of Backend Developer


A backend developer's job is to oversee the server-side of the development process.

From managing databases, scripts, and architecture, a back-end developer creates bridges between the database and the platform that the user can access.

Key Responsibilities

They are in charge of designing, implementing, and writing the solution's logical code.

A backend developer is also responsible for the solution's overall performance and scalability.

Frameworks Used

Backend developers work on four significant aspects of development.

  • Server
  • Database
  • Programming Language
  • API

They program these functions using technologies such as PHP, Java, and Python.

Furthermore, they should be familiar with MongoDB, SQL, SQL Server, Redis, and MySQL in terms of databases.

Hire backend developers for startups who are familiar with Nginx, Apache, and Microsoft IIS for server management and monitoring.


  • The Role of Frontend Developer


A frontend developer works on the solution's client side.

This implies that they are in charge of the visuals and aesthetic appeal.

A frontend developer is responsible for how the user interacts with the application or website.

Key Responsibilities

A frontend developer creates interactions and experiences with a digital solution.

They can't work with machines; instead, they must communicate with people.

Assume you're looking for programmers to work on hybrid or dual solutions for iOS and Android for a startup.

They'll need to be well-versed in cross-compatibility and device-specific layouts in this case.

Frameworks Used

HTML, CSS, Angular JS, React, and Ionic are the most common technologies and frameworks used by frontend developers.

Because a front-end developer is also responsible for design, they must have prior experience with prototyping and mockup creation tools.


  • The Full-Stack Developer Role


When you're looking to hire, you'll also come across full-stack developers for startups.

A full-stack developer is familiar with both frontend and backend technologies.

These are the CSS and HTML experts, as well as ASP, PHP, Node, Python, JSON, and other technologies.

Key Responsibilities

Because a full stack developer is familiar with both the client and server sides, they will be responsible for completing the tasks expected of both types of functions.

Everything, from creating stunning user interfaces to ensuring highly effective and quick API connections.

Frameworks Used

A full stack developer has a lot of options when it comes to frameworks.

However, in order to write this guide on how to find a programmer for your startup, we've compiled a list of the most important, useful, and reputable frameworks they employ.

The most popular are React JS, Node JS, Angular, Django, Flask, jQuery, and Ruby on Rails.


  • The Role of Mobile Developer


We have mobile developers if you're looking for a programmer for your startup.

Interestingly, you would not have heard of a mobile developer if you were starting a business before the turn of the century.

Mobile developers, on the other hand, are now in charge of developing mobile-based solutions.

They can be for any platform and device.

Windows, iOS, or Android are all possibilities. That's why, earlier, we concentrated on determining the platform on which your solution will run.

Because you can only choose the right person to develop that product if you have the right medium to enter the market.

Key Responsibilities

The primary responsibility of a mobile app developer is to create native applications with platform-specific features and functionalities.

Assume you're creating a mobile-only app for your e-commerce store that will work across all operating systems.

You'll need to know where to look for programmers with experience in mobile development for your startup.

Mobile developers will have a better understanding of the requirements, execution, and implementation because they are working from a technical standpoint.

Frameworks Used

Objective C, Swift, and Java are some of the most popular development platforms and frameworks used by mobile developers.

Aside from that, hire developers with experience in Xamarin, PhoneGap, and Flutter for your startup.


So, we've made it to the final leg of our conversation about how to hire programmers for a startup.

If you're struggling with information overload, we've condensed the core subject matter listed above into a few bullet points.

  • To begin, learn about your product and determine why anyone would want to use it.
  • Determine who your target audience is and create a solution that speaks to them.
  • Make a strategy or a roadmap that includes a timeline and a budget.
  • Make a list of the essential features and integrations you'll require. Finding the right programmer for your startup is critical.
  • To help them develop a better perspective, understand and share your value proposition with every potential candidate.
  • Then, before hiring for your startup, learn about different types of programmers.
  • Even if you don't know everything, you should have a basic understanding of the technologies, frameworks, and their roles.


We'll look at the sources to scour candidates in the next section on how to find programmers for your startup.

No, looking in the local paper or on Indeed isn't enough to find true talent. Let's look at some unique areas that will aid you in your search for a great developer.

Where to Look For Talent

Step 3 – Where to Look For Talent

This is the most important part of how to find a startup software developer.

According to a CB Insights report, 23 percent of startups fail due to insufficient teams.

Working alone also takes 3.6 times longer.

Before you hire developers, think about both of these factors. This means you can't work alone, and if you do, make sure it's a good one.

To progress, you must recognize the value of a developer for your startup.

Your digital solution is a dream of yours, and you've worked tirelessly to amass the resources necessary to realize it.

As a result, you can't just tell anyone about your dream. No! For a startup, the most comprehensive hiring structure is required.

Offline Hiring Avenues

Offline Hiring Avenues

Let’s look at how to find a software developer for a startup offline.




This is where you can catch a glimpse of the developers at work.

To find a good programmer for your startup, go to as many meetups as possible.

You may not always be able to find someone who shares your enthusiasm.

Meetups, on the other hand, are still a good place to get recommendations.

Request a referral from people you meet for an excellent and energetic developer with a passion for startup development.

Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces have become a hotbed of creativity and zeal.

You might be able to find your ideal developer here, who may or may not be working on his own project.

As a result, in addition to meeting an ideal programmer for your startup, you may also meet your co-founder.

If not, you can hire a freelancer who is willing to commit and has the necessary skills to help you succeed.


Hackathons are also great places to meet developers.

These events, on the other hand, make more sense to people who have a thorough understanding of development.

As a non-tech founder, you can tag along with a technical friend or simply ask around for recommendations.

Hackathon recommendations and references are extremely impressive and credible.


You'll get two things from formal corporate events and conferences.

• The most up-to-date industry information, technologies, and trends.

• Developers who are familiar with these trends and can work with new technologies.

Overall, conferences give you access to the best talent pool when it comes to hiring programmers for your startup.

You can also participate as a speaker at these conferences and get noticed by the developers.

They can approach you directly if they are sufficiently inspired by your idea or product.


What better place to look for new talent than at a university?

Furthermore, the opportunistic environment available in startups encourages new graduates to get started as soon as possible.

As a result, you can go to universities as a recruiter. Get to know the up-and-coming programmers.

One of the best ways to find young and energetic programmers for your startup is to use this method.


Following these offline resources, programmers may be found learning and growing alongside one another in courses and training institutes.

Online Talent Sources and Pools

When offline systems fail to assist you in finding the best developers for your startup, you can always turn to the internet.

However, you'll need a keen eye and a strict elimination policy in this case.

Because if you expect to meet ten people at a conference, you can expect to meet close to 100 people online.

In addition, because of the pandemic, the majority of conferences and events are taking place online.

As a result, online resources appear to be the best option for finding a programmer for your startup.



Social Media

Social media has turned into a panacea for all of our ills.

It makes no difference what you require; you will be provided with one.

Go to social media for love, help, support, laughter, food, entertainment, skills, study, or talent.

In response to our question, you can find a programmer for your startup if you know where to look.

Pitch your business and idea on social media, or write a blog post about your need.

If you're looking to hire developers for a startup, you'll get a lot of responses.

Include Facebook, LinkedIn (87 percent), Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms.

You can also use these channels to promote your product and then use the job postings to attract talent.

Job Portals

Upwork, Toptal, Crossover, Hired, and Guru are all good places to look for a programmer for your startup, but you must know how to use them.

Different portals offer unique advantages and features.

If you need someone for a short period of time, Upwork is a great option. Use Toptal for people who are looking for a long-term commitment.

These websites will assist you in locating mostly freelancers.

Furthermore, because you are creating a product from the ground up, it is preferable to hire someone on a regular basis.

Consider Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, and Craigslist for this.


You're probably wondering where you can find a software developer from here.

The community is what allows communities like Stack, Github, Mashable, Angelist, and Overflow to thrive.

These platforms provide access to a large number of talented people.

Furthermore, each of them has a dedicated profile that you can review to learn more about their expertise and experience.


User-operated groups and channels are useful in messengers like Slack, Discord, and Telegram. (A pro tip: use Telegram promotion to hire guys from Eastern Europe.)

As a member of these channels, you will be introduced to a number of people in your niche.

These groups can help you with a variety of "how-to" questions as well as finding a programmer for your startup.

If you have a question about the development process, post it in the group and you will receive an answer.


We're now on to the interview portion. This is the most important aspect of hiring programmers for a startup.

4th Step – Begin the Interview with the Candidate


Begin the Interview with the Candidate

You'll be sitting with a large stack of resumes gathered from both online and offline sources before conducting the interview.

As a result, the first task is to shortlist these candidates based on the following criteria:

  • Experience (Academic plus Practical)
  • What do they do
  • Number of jobs
  • Companies they worked in
  • Products they have helped develop
  • Plaudits and Recommendations (for online portals, check the reviews given by other clients).

You can also use a pre-employment skills test to help you shortlist candidates. You could, for example, ask candidates to take a React skills test (or whichever languages & frameworks are important to the role). Then you'd choose to interview only those who scored well on the test.

These considerations will provide you with a half-answer to the question of how to find programmers for your startup.

Both offline and online methods will work well for conducting the interview.

If some candidates are hesitant to come in for a face-to-face interview, have your online setup ready.

PS: Include this in your job description to broaden your search for the best developers for your startup.

Coming to the interview for hiring programmers for startups. You need to be familiar with two types of aspects.

  1. Soft Skills
  2. Hard Skills

Soft skills include the overall personality and presentation of the individuals.

Significant attributes you should consider:

  • Communication
  • Punctuality
  • Active Listening
  • Comprehension
  • problem-Solving
  • Team Adaptability
  • Learning Attitude
  • Creativity

Technical and subject-specific knowledge are referred to as hard skills. In this case, the candidate may be able to outsmart you. So, think about what you're asking and how you're asking it.

Attributes include:

  • Database management
  • Network Security
  • Development
  • Knowledge about languages, frameworks, and the latest technologies
  • Situation analysis
  • Damage control
  • Bug reporting
  • UI/UX
  • Storage Systems Management

Are you getting confused?

Don't worry; we've got a solution to help you figure out where to look for programmers for your startup.

You must correlate hard and soft skills to understand how to find a software developer for a startup.

Under both of these headings, the qualities possessed by the shortlisted candidates complement each other.

A candidate with good listening skills and comprehension will be able to comprehend the requirements more quickly.

Similarly, being punctual demonstrates commitment, which leads to the job being completed with precision, fewer errors, and on time.

It is difficult for you to assess the candidate's hard skills as a non-technical person.

There's nothing wrong with it, either. There is a limit to how many hats one person can wear.

The solution we propose is to hire a Chief Technology Officer or CTO.

A CTO, as the name implies, has the necessary skills to assess a candidate's technical abilities. In addition, a CTO can assist in the establishment of a proper software development tracking process, which is critical for your company's future growth.

Having a CTO on board will help you find a programmer for your startup.

But, do you need a full-time CTO in your office?

Almost certainly not!

A CTO isn't just another name on your payroll. However, he or she must act as a co-founder in your company.

The CTO you hire should be enthusiastic, act as a leader, support your mission, and be willing to change as technology advances.

In addition, the CTO will assist you in determining how to hire a programmer for a startup.

  • Hire a part-time CTO: Until your team is complete, consider bringing on a freelance CTO or hiring someone part-time.

Working with a part-time CTO is the best option for a startup.

  • Hire a company that provides CTO services: Companies are now acting as CTOs, particularly for startups.

They have a team of tech-savvy employees who assist non-tech startup founders in finding the right developers.

Examine the CTO's experience, network, technical knowledge, certifications, and communication skills, among other things.

By the end, you should have a fair idea of whether a candidate is a good fit or not. Whether you include multiple interview rounds or other filtering techniques is entirely up to you!

Hiring Programmers for a Startup FAQs

Why having at least a few developers on the team is a good idea?

Having more than one developer on the team is very beneficial when doing code reviews, and obtaining a second viewpoint on issues. Developers have the option to double-check their work and point out any errors.

Developers can be hired in a variety of ways. They are reachable through LinkedIn. Contract with programmers who work remotely. If your team believes they can quickly train and get the freshmen to perform the necessary work, hire college graduates.

How much does a website programmer charge?

The average hourly rate for web designers is $75. The average cost to set up, design, build, and create content for a basic website is $6,760. A business website may cost anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000. This sum also accounts for client training and maintenance.

How do I find a programmer?

  • Do not solely rely on first impressions.
  • Adopt a systematic interviewing procedure.
  • Give potential team members a reason to apply.
  • Request inquiries from candidates.
  • Keep the length of your test assignments to a minimum.
About the Author
Daniel Luke
Daniel is a web designer and developer. He has been a developer for the last 10 years working with various WordPress themes that allows him to compare and contrast different themes, understand the strengths and weaknesses to develop factual, real-world reviews. He is also a mobile app developer and technology reviewer. Over several years, he has developed his own mobile apps, both on Android and iPhone. This hands-on specialisation in mobile and web development allows him to be an authoritative voices when it comes to technology reporting.

One more thing... Did you know that people who share useful stuff like this post look AWESOME too? ;-)
Please leave a useful comment with your thoughts, then share this on your Facebook group(s) who would find this useful and let's reap the benefits together. Thank you for sharing and being nice!

Disclosure: This page may contain links to external sites for products which we love and wholeheartedly recommend. If you buy products we suggest, we may earn a referral fee. Such fees do not influence our recommendations and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

Author(s) Featured On:  Inc Magazine Logo   Sitepoint logo   CSS Tricks logo    webdesignerdepot logo   WPMU DEV logo   and many more ...