How to Find a Programmer For a Startup and a Company

Updated 10 Nov 2022

18 Min



Finding a programmer is an extremely challenging but crucial process, as the future software’s quality fully depends on the competence and experience of a chosen specialist. Needless to say, that a prevailing part of total expenditures comprises the development services. That is why the question “where can I find programmers for my project?” becomes highly relevant when it comes to product building. Therefore, if you want to create top-notch software, you should take the hiring process responsibly and search for programmers thoroughly. Especially with no tech background to verify them.

So how to find a good coder if you’re not a programmer?

We created this guide to give you an idea of how to find programmers for your startup or a company by the end of 2021. What to pay attention to, where to find programmers for hire, what are the employing options, and how to verify developers’ skills, even if you’re not tech-savvy. Keep on reading!

Reasons to Start Looking for Programmers for Companies and Startups

Let’s begin our research by observing the digital market statistics by the end of 2021 and its perspectives to highlight the significance of keeping up with the IT industry for every business despite its scale and niche.

According to Statista, the global IT market is valued at about $4.24 trillion in 2021. The forecasts are promising as well: this industry will predictably reach $4.74 trillion in 2022. Consequently, technological devices are handy for an immense number of users, especially within an uneasy global situation. Thus, the pandemic has caused switching to a digital lifestyle, which is advantageous for established businesses and startups to expand their audience.

Moreover, it’s vitally significant for startups to achieve success during the first month after being founded, as business profit relies on the quality of the offered product. So it’s a great way to avoid failing by thoroughly discovering how to find a computer programmer for a startup. Competent tech-savvy experts will provide you with an individual approach to your project. What’s more, you should find coders for your startup who will not only demonstrate excellent performance but will comprehend the aims and solutions your business offers for further promotions and advancements.

The Global IT Spending

IT market worldwide

Primary Steps to Take Before Looking for Programmers

Finding a programmer may be tricky, even if you’re a CTO of a big company. Not to mention non-tech people, especially startup owners.

Many specialists make software for different platforms with different programming languages and frameworks. And before rushing and grabbing just any programmer, you must figure out what precisely you need.

Start with answering these helpful questions to find programmers for your startup who will meet your requirements:

  • What’s your target audience?
  • How will your app stand out from similar solutions?
  • Who are your competitors? What unique features do they have?
  • Are you going to earn money with your app? How?
  • What features (payments, search, authorization via Twitter or Facebook) you want to implement?
  • Do you want an app for iOS or Android?

We've explained how to choose platforms and analyze competitors in our guide on how to create an app.

Programmers work on ideas. They may understand your project but not be familiar with the market. So you have to find a programmer and provide the market insights you’ve gathered.

At Cleveroad, we pick startups from an idea stage: do competitive research, help with documentation and business planning. But having a solid idea is still required.

Depending on your business’s industry, goals, and your software’s aims, you should define what solutions to include in the product. The functionality and integrations vary due to the chosen business niche. To illustrate, if you want to build a marketplace solution, your product should essentially comprise payment gateway integration for purchases, chat to message sellers, and an opportunity to sign in with existing social media accounts for higher user convenience.

Ideally, you should also come up with the following aspects to find a programmer for your project:

  • A list of core and unique features of the future app
  • List of platforms to cover: mobile, desktop, wearables, TV
  • UI design of the future app

Now let’s proceed to steps useful for finding a programmer for your project.

How to Find Programmers for Your Startup and Not to Fail

After defining your project requirements, you should clarify them for the software vendor. The more details you provide, the more precise view of the final product the hired specialist receives. Knowing your detailed requirements, you’ll quickly find programmers with competency in your specific domain and knowledge in development peculiarities of particular type’s projects.

Here are some tips on how to find the right developer specifically for your case:

Step 1. Make a List of Features

No matter where you decide to find programmers for hire and which option you choose, freelance, in-house, or outsource, they’ll ask you to provide a list of app features.

You may split the list into two parts:

  • Features to develop first (MVP) for reducing time to market
  • Advanced features for winning more users in the future

MVP stands for developing minimum viable product. It means you include only must-have features. For example, if you're making a video streaming app, you need a search screen, video playback page, a page on which users choose billing plans. Other features like the skip intro button or the coming soon page can be developed after gathering user feedback.

Our Business Analysts can also help you turn your list of features into a specification that contains every piece of information about the project.

Project specification example

Before finding a programmer, prepare the documentation

Step 2. Define Platforms

Another determining factor of how to find programmers for a startup is choosing platforms your app will run on: web browser, mobile (iOS, Android), desktop (macOS, Windows, Linux), wearables (Wear OS, watchOS), or smart TV (Android TV, Tizen, WebOS)

And look up the technology. For example, if you’re making an Android app, find programmers that know Kotlin or Java. Want to cover iOS? look for Swift or Objective-C programmers.

Same thing with other platforms:

  • Web frontend: AngularJS, React, Javascript, HTML5 & CSS
  • Web backend: PHP, C#, NodeJS
  • Desktop: Java, C#, Python, C++
Programming languages by types

How to find a programmer? Specify the platform you want to cover

To speed up the process, delegate the task of finding programmers for a startup to a software development company. Name the platforms, and the company will put together a team that will work on the project.

A little tip: if you want to save time and money (crucial for startups), go for cross-platform development. It’s beneficial to find programmers to hire who write code once, then apply it to multiple platforms—mobile, web, desktop.

Our developers use such a progressive framework as Flutter. It works for a number of platforms, and Flutter-powered apps run as well as native apps do.

Flutter-supported OS

Want to make a cross-platform app? Find a programmer who knows Flutter

If you want to try Flutter, you need to find coders experienced in iOS/Android app development, Dart programming language, and Flutter SDK itself.

Step 3. Find a UI Designer

If there’s no user interface (UI) design, programmers have nothing to work on.

Design isn't a secondary thing for pretty looks. It's an overall style of the app, including color scheme, fonts, buttons, and widgets the user will use. UI/UX designers carefully pick those elements, and think about how they affect the perception of the product.

Often, they start with wireframes, prototypes, and mockups, schematic layouts of the future design. Then design the product screen by screen, showing what happens after a user clicks on each UI element.

How app wireframes look like

Wireframes show how users would interact with the app

Then design the product screen by screen, showing what happens after a user clicks on each UI element.

Designers and programmers need to work together. Developers may ask them to make another set of icons, clarify colors or sizes, or add a missing placeholder. If you're going to work with a freelance designer, make sure they won't go on vacation after finishing your project design. Or you'll have to look for another one, and fast.

It’s much easier to work with an in-house or offshore team. In-staff designers may have finished working on your product, but they still support programmers, answer questions, draw missing elements. Even if your offshore team's designer went on a vacation, their colleagues or a Team Leader wouldn't keep the developers waiting. The team structure’s benefit is the opportunity to build products with no delays even in such cases.

Design concept

First, find a UI/UX designer, then find programmer for startup

Where to Find Programmers: Freelance vs. In-house vs. Outsourcing Companies

Let’s now cover the ‘where to find a programmer’ options, and it’s time to expand the topic.

There are three main hiring options:

  • Freelancers: individual programmers (usually found on platforms like Upwork/Toptal)
  • In-house developers: employees of your company that work from your office
  • Outsourcing companies: a company you delegate the development to, located in another country

Let’s talk about each of them.


Need to find a computer programmer to make a landing page, quickly fix something in an existing app, or integrate PayPal payments? Freelancers are perfect for that.

The problems begin when you want to find coders for a startup and build a complex product from scratch with a team of freelancers. They don’t communicate with each other, so you’ll have to be one hell of a manager to keep everything under control.

Advantages of working with freelancers:

  • Lower cost. You can find cheap programmers on freelance websites with the rate $15-20/per hour.
  • Good for simple one-time tasks. Freelancers can help with fixing bugs and minor updates.
  • The large pool of specialists. Freelancing websites help you to find programmer of any expertise- from JavaScript to Scala.

Drawbacks of working with freelancers:

  • Narrow specialization. You’ll need to hire at least two freelancers to cover iOS and Android, plus a UI/UX designer.
  • No guarantees. If you find developers for startup in freelance, they may quit your project anytime with no verification of the end result.
  • Time management complexities. If it’s 10AM where you live and 8PM where the freelancer lives.
  • Interviewing issue. You need to be tech-savvy enough to verify their skills.

You should also carefully check resources where to find coders, when it comes to cooperation with freelancers.

You can see the US-based freelance developers’ cost per hour below:

DeveloperMinimal hourlyAverage hourlyMedian hourlyMaximum hourly











Full Stack




















In-House Team

With an in-house team, you find local programmers and gather a team that works from your office. It's the best option if there are years of work ahead and you want to keep everything under control.

But finding programmers and gathering such a team brings a row of rawbacks, too, especially in terms of costs. There are some extra expenditures that this option essentially comprises, so the price for such services sometimes goes through the ceiling. First, you have to not only find programmer for startup, but a bunch of other specialists (UI designer, QA, DevOps) interview, and train them, which is extremely time-consuming.

Next, you pay for the office rent, furniture, equipment, taxes, insurance, any repairs or maintenance, not to mention sick leaves and vacations. It costs a lot if you live in the US or Canada.

Advantages of assembling an in-house team:

  • Cultural fit. In-house developers tend to pay more attention to the specific needs of the company.
  • Face-to-face communication. You and your team have the same working hours and work from one office.
  • Quick changes. It's faster to change something in a project or check an idea with programmers.


  • Cost and time. You not only spend time to find programmers near you, but have to pay a competitive salary to programmers, and cover expenses like rent, taxes, software, hardware.
  • Staff turnover. Your employees may quit, and finding a replacement will take time.
  • Lack of local talents. It may be tough to find a programmer for your project if you’re living in a small town.

Here’s the average salary of US programmers in Seattle, WA, to compare all the options and find out where to find programmers for a project at an adequate cost:

DeveloperAverage salary (annual)





Full Stack








Outsourcing Company

Basically, outsourcing means you’re delegating the development of your software to a company located in another country. For example, it’s when you live in the US but find programmers for startup that live in Germany, Poland, or Estonia.

Pros of working with an outsourcing company:

  • Get a full team right away. No need to puzzle over the question “how do I find a programmer?”, as the full team is ready for cooperation, including all specialists, from UI/UX designers to QA testers and DevOps.
  • Start at any stage. With the ready-made specification, wireframes, or just an idea.
  • Everything is formalized. Companies prepare documentation, sign a contract, and constantly approve the work with you.
  • Organized development process, controlled by a Project Manager that reports the progress to the client.
  • Tech specialists with different skills and technologies: iOS, Android, Flutter, frontend, backend.


  • More expensive compared to freelance developers (cheaper than in-house development, though).
  • Cultural gap. True for some east companies from India or Asia.
  • Slower communication compared to an in-house team (need to make an individual schedule of meetings).

Yet, due to the high accessibility, brand-new technologies, and highly-developed communication skills, these obstacles can easily be overcome, making outsourcing companies the most cost-efficient and beneficial option.

The final choice always depends on the type of product you're making. Want to make a couple of changes in an existing app? Find a programmer that works as a freelancer. Have enough resources to cover an in-house team and project that requires 24/7 monitoring? Go for in-house development. And if you want to combine affordable cost with good quality work and a team provided right away, outsourcing development is the best option.

Here are the top 10 resources to find programmers for project and check their rates, reviews, and expertise:

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • ITFirms
  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • LinkedIn
  • Upwork
  • Youteam
  • Dice

Let’s observe hourly rates in various regions to understand where to find programmers for startup.

DevelopmentUnited StatesGermanyEstonia





















How to Find Programmers for a Project: Interview Tips

Depending on the scale and complexity of your project, you will need to search for a programmer with a certain expertise level. The interviewing process may differ for developers of various competence levels due to the tasks they fulfill. Let’s begin with classifying developers by their expertise and experience:

  • Junior developers. They can efficiently fix moderate bugs, operate the admin panel and its tools, and work with the backend server to define and get rid of existing issues. Yet, their code should be thoroughly checked.
  • Middle developers. These specialists have already obtained experience in a couple of projects and can work both alone and in teams. Their capabilities include splitting wide-scale tasks into narrow sub-tasks, making up testing schedules, detecting major bugs in code, and checking script thoroughly. They periodically require mentoring as well.
  • Senior developers. Those are highly competent experts able to cope with the tasks of any difficulty, manage and check the work of less experienced teammates, and find the most efficient way to obtain the final project aim.

However, the professional and productive programmer of any expertise level has to possess certain personal and professional skills. Note that if you are looking for a programmer on freelance resources or gather in-house employees, this task falls on your shoulders. In contrast, when outsourcing your project,

Let’s divide the interview process into two sections:

  • Checking hard skills: related to specific technical knowledge (programming languages, frameworks)
  • Checking soft skills: personality traits (communication, time management)

Both are important if you want to find programmers that’ll finish the work properly.

How to Evaluate Soft Skills

As mentioned above, these skills include personal traits that define how a person copes with a heavy workload, manages time and task fulfillment, and with which approach. Furthermore, they determine how the potential employee will operate in a team environment. Here are some questions worth asking to find the programmer with well-developed soft-skills:

  • How do you change your schedule when something unplanned happens?
  • How do you prioritize your work if you have several pending deadlines?
  • How do you keep up the motivation when working on a project you have no interest in?
  • Do you have multitasking skills?
  • What are your stress management techniques?

One more thing: if you are looking for programmer who works as a freelancer, check what previous clients say about this specialist. Often, clients pay more attention to a person's soft skills, such as cooperation or response time.

Clutch feedback example

How to find programmer? Check what their clients say

You may check these details in the review section on the programmer’s page. Or contact their clients and talk to them directly.

How to Evaluate Hard Skills

Hard skills are indispensable in the challenge of how to find coders for your startup and depend on the type of programmer you want to hire. They refer to the level of professional competence and define what technical tasks an expert can fulfill. iOS, Android, frontend, backend, or Flutter, all these programmers need different skills.

We’ve already described programmers’ hard skills according to their specialization:

Most companies have a CTO whose job is to find a programmer and evaluate their tech skills. But not all startups do.

There are a few tips to find programmers for project by evaluating the tech skills of a programmer, even if you have little to no tech background.

1. Ask a programmer to help you

How to find a programmer for the startup? The best way is to get help from someone who knows a great deal of programming and has good people skills. It may be a former colleague or a good friend of yours.

2. Download the apps they've made

Most software development companies have a portfolio of apps on their website. Find programmers online by looking through it, check if there are products similar to what you want to make, and download a couple of apps on App Store or Google Play to see how they work.

3. Ask about additional services

In addition to solid development, ask whether your tech partner ensures quality testing, code reviews, security protocols, and DevOps services.

4. Check their programming portfolio on GitHub

Check GitHub; it also offers programmers for hire online. In addition, GitHub exposes all the git commit history, and it's a good sign if your candidate has a project they grow over time. Rather than a single commit with a "here's the code" message.

Code samples on GitHub

Where can I find a programmer? Don’t forget to look on GitHub

Hard Skills Interview Questions: Examples

We’ve also prepared a few lists of interview questions you may use to find a programmer with excellent hard skills:

Again, if you inquire how to find programmers for your startup with no programming experience, it's better to ask more experienced developers to watch over the interviewing process.

Why Hire Programmers at Cleveroad

Cleveroad is an outsourcing software development company with more than 10 years of experience, during which we’ve successfully accomplished 170+ successful projects. We offer a broad spectrum of product building opportunities and the following benefits:

  • Great experience in a wide range of industries, such as logistics, healthcare, and education
  • Clear and transparent conditions with clients, partners, and employees, which is a crucial aspect in building excellent products
  • Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signing on request
  • Fast development process meeting all the deadlines
  • The complete team comprising essential specialists
  • A team of top-notch QA engineers ensuring the high quality of your product
  • Post-release support, maintenance, and promotion services for our customers
  • A thorough consultation from our Project Managers regarding your project

Besides, we work on projects of any size and complexity, so you can find programmers for a startup or for expanding an already existing app with one of our three adjustable cooperation models:

  • Dedicated Team, a partnership model implying an agreement between the customer and software vendor, who provides software development experts to the client on long term conditions.
  • Fixed price, by which the customer pays a fixed amount of money for a defined scope of work. The total cost is known before the development flow begins, with no extra expenditures required.
  • Time & material, highly adaptive cooperation model which is suitable when the amount of work and requirements are undefined and may change during the product creation. As a result, a client pays for the effort and time spent on the project fulfillment.

Suppose you're starting out just from an idea. In that case, we have a bunch of additional services like SWOT analysis, UX prototyping, helping with a list of MVP features, and preparing project specifications. In addition, we provide Flutter development services for those who want to cover two platforms (iOS+Android) for the price of one.

Projects We’ve Worked On

The best way to get acquainted with a company is to look through their portfolio.

Here are some of our recent projects:

Blockbuster streaming app

Blockbuster, a multi-platform video streaming app

Looking for programmers?

We have 140+ software engineers and help you choose the ones required for your project

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Study the options. Are you going to hire an in-house programmer? Outsource development? Or ask a freelancer to help you?
  2. Check resources like Upwork, Toptal (freelance), Indeed, Glassdoor (in-house), or Clutch, GoodFirms (outsource).
  3. Check programmers’ portfolios on resources like GitHub.
  4. Interview your programmers: pay attention to both hard and soft skills.

Depends on the type of programmers you want to hire.

  • You can hire freelancers on resources like Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, Freelancer
  • In-house developers: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or Dice
  • Outsourcing companies: Clutch, GoodFirms, ITFirms

Hard skills questions differ depending on the technology and programmer’s qualification. Here’s the list of common question to test soft skills:

  • How do you change your schedule when something unplanned happens?
  • How do you prioritize your work if you have several pending deadlines?
  • How do you keep up the motivation when working on a project you have no interest in?
  • Do you have multitasking skills?
  • What are your stress management techniques?

If you’re a startup, it’s better to work with an outsourcing software development company. They often provide additional services for startups like SWOT analysis or business planning, and have cheaper prices compared to in-house employees.

You may find them on Clutch, GoodFirms, ITFirms.

Depends on their specialty. For example, iOS developers need to know Swift or Objective-C programming to create apps. Android programmers use Kotlin or Java, web: AngularJS, React, Javascript, HTML5&CSS (frontend) or PHP, C#, Node.js (backend).

To find a programmers for a starup, you should prepare:

  • A list of core and unique features of your product
  • List of platforms you want to cover: mobile, desktop, wearables, TV
  • UI design of the future app
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