How to Find Programmers for Your Startup and a Company

Updated 27 Jun 2024

16 Min




How to find a programmer? Needless to say, choosing reliable tech experts in such a diverse market of IT services overloaded with offers may be quite challenging. That is why the question “where can I find programmers for my project?” becomes highly relevant when it comes to assessing the creation of a software solution.

We created this guide to give you an idea of how to find programmers for your business, regarding what to pay attention to, where to hire a computer programmer, what are the employing options, and how to verify developers’ skills, even if you’re not tech-savvy.

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 questions to find programmers 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?

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

At Cleveroad, we pick startups from an idea stage: do competitive research, and 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:

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 to understand how to find programmer.

6 Steps on How to Find a Computer Programmer For a Startup

After defining your project requirements, you should clarify them for the software vendor. The more details you provide, the more precise your 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 of development peculiarities of particular type’s projects.

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

Step 1. Think of features you want to add

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

How to find a programmer: Project specification example

Step 2. Decide on platforms your app cover

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: Tech stack example

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. Why to use Flutter? It works for a number of platforms, and Flutter-powered apps run as well as native apps do.

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

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

Step 3. Find a UI/UX 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, showing what happens after a user clicks on each UI element.

How app wireframes look like

How to find a programmer: How users would interact with the app?

Finding a computer programmer and a designer is essential for this step, as they 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, and 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.

Step 4. Define programmers’ skills and experience

Clearly outline the technical skills and experience you need in a programmer. Think about specific programming languages (e.g., Python or JavaScript), frameworks (e.g., React or Django), and tools (e.g., Git or Docker) that are essential for your project.

Consider the level of experience you’re looking for – whether you need a junior, mid-level, or senior developer—and any industry-specific knowledge and niche that might be beneficial. By defining these criteria, you can better attract candidates who are the right fit for your project.

Step 5. Find a programmer

When it comes to finding a proper expert for your project there is another question: “where do I find a programmer, and what platforms to use?” First of all, use online job boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Stack Overflow Jobs to post your job listing. If you’re open to remote or contract work, explore freelance platforms such as Upwork and Toptal. Networking is another thing that may appear highly effective. Try to attend industry meetups, conferences, and hackathons to meet potential candidates.

However, if none of these options appear suitable, don’t overlook the option of utilizing nearshore software development as this may become a significant strategic move. These companies have a large pool of skilled programmers and can provide candidates who are pre-vetted and experienced in the technologies you need. This can save you time and ensure you find the right programmer who fits your specific project requirements and tech stack.

Step 6. Evaluate and hire candidates

Screening candidates involves a few important stages, and let’s examine them below:

  • Review CVs and portfolios to create a shortlist of those who meet your criteria
  • Interviewing candidates to gauge their problem-solving abilities, technical knowledge, and how well they might fit with your team’s culture
  • Evaluate programmers' practical skills and performance by conducting technical assessments

Again, evaluating programmers tech proficiency may be challenging if you don’t have particular knowledge yourself. In this case, a trustworthy IT outsourcing company can be a great ally.

They can help you select the right candidates based on your project requirements and the technical skills needed. These companies often have refined selection processes and deep industry insights, making it easier to find candidates who not only meet your technical needs but also fit well with your company culture and project goals.

Finally, hold a final interview to discuss the candidate’s approach to projects, teamwork, and long-term goals. Make your decision based on a combination of their technical expertise, compatibility with your team, and alignment with your startup’s vision.

Need to find a programmer?

Contact us. Within 24 hours, we’ll provide you with CV’s of the first experienced candidates whose experience and tech proficiency will align with your business goals and requirements

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

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.

Looking forward to hire a freelance programmer for a startup and coordinating them to build a complex product from scratch can be challenging. Communication gaps require strong managerial oversight to maintain control.

Advantages of working with freelance programmers:

  • Lower cost. You can rent programmer on freelance websites at the rate of $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, when considering how to find a coder in freelance.
  • 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 can see the US-based freelance developers’ cost per hour below:

US-based freelance developers’ rates:

DeveloperMinimal hourlyAverage hourlyMedian hourlyMaximum hourly


$41 - $60

$61 - $80

$61 - $80

$81 - $100


$41 - $60

$61 - $80

$61 - $80

$101 - $120

Full Stack

$61 - $80

$81 - $100

$81 - $100

$141 - $160


$41 - $60

$81 - $100

$61 - $80

$141 - $160


$41 - $60

$61 - $80

$61 - $80

$101 - $120


$41 - $60

$61 - $80

$61 - $80

$101 - $120

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. However, this option often involves additional costs, causing prices to sometimes soar. You'll need to find and interview a team including a programmer, UI designer, QA, and DevOps, which is very time-consuming.

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 a team have the same working hours and work from 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 a programmer for startup near you but have to pay a competitive salary to programmers and cover expenses like rent, taxes, software, and 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 coder 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:

In-house programmers' salaries

DeveloperAverage salary (annual)





Full Stack








Outsourcing company

Outsourcing means you’re delegating the development of your software to a company located in another country. For example, if you live in the US but find programmers for startups that live in Germany, Poland, or Estonia — that’s called offshore outsourcing software development. With such a tech vendor, you are free of worries associated with how hire a programmer for a startup.

Pros of working with an outsourcing company:

  • Get a full team right away. The full team is ready to quickly onboard to your project, 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.
  • 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).
  • Potential cultural gap
  • Slower communication compared to an in-house team

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

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

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

Hourly rate of computer programmers from diferent regions

DevelopmentUnited StatesGermanyEstonia





















How to Find Programmers for a Project: Interview Tips

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.

Darya Yukhymenko

Darya Yukhymenko

Delivery Manager

Present candidates with hypothetical scenarios involving sudden changes in project scope or technology stacks, and discuss how they would adapt to these changes. This helps gauge their flexibility and resilience.

How to evaluate hard skills

Hard skills 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 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. When looking for programmers, you should go 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: GitHub

Hard skills interview questions examples

We’ve prepared lists of interview questions you may use to find a programmer with needed 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 12 years of experience in providing IT services for businesses across various industries, including Healthcare, Logistics, E-commerce, FinTech, E-learning, and more. During practice, our specialists accomplished over 170 successful projects for companies around the world.

Our programmers are qualified professionals in their field, proficient in a wide range of languages and technologies. Here you can find specialists to work on your iOS, Android, or cross-platform solutions, as well as web applications built with modern technologies and approaches.

Here's the review of one of our clients about experience of cooperation with our programmers. Furthermore, you're welcomed to check this review by yourself on our Clutch page.

Alejandro Paschalides

Alejandro Paschalides

CEO & Co-Founder, Cognate Language Learning

Thanks to Cleveroad, we had a successful launch, and we were very happy with the product.

We also have practical experience in developing blockchain-based projects, AR/AI apps, cloud platforms, and IoT-based solutions. With our help, you will be able to turn your app idea into reality. Our team is always ready to go beyond the ordinary and create something truly unique.

You can find programmers for a startup or for expanding an already existing app with one of our two adjustable cooperation models:

  • Dedicated development team is a cooperation model when you hire a complete software development team that exclusively works on your projects on a long-term basis
  • IT staff augmentation services allow you hire skilled professionals to work on your project individually or augment your current development team to deal with certain short-term tasks, supplementing it with additional expertise.

Suppose you're starting out just from an idea. In that case, we have a bunch of additional options like SWOT analysis, UX prototyping, PoC/MVP development services, and preparing project specifications.

You’re welcome to check our portfolio to see what projects our programmers worked on across the domains and assess their professionals' deliverables by yourself.

Hire programmers for your business

With over 250 software engineers on board, we are ready to provide you with highly qualified programmers who’ll fit with your project's requirements, and align with your budget and timelines

How to find a programmer?
  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.
How do I find a programmer?

Here are 6 essential steps to keep up with to find a programmer:

  • Step 1. Think on features you want to add
  • Step 2. Decide on platforms your app cover
  • Step 3. Find a UI/UX designer
  • Step 4. Define programmers’ skills and experience
  • Step 5. Find a programmer
  • Step 6. Evaluate and hire candidates
How much does it cost to get a programmer?

The cost to get programmer depends on cooperation model you choose:

  • Freelancers typically charge $20-$150+ per hour based on experience,
  • full-time employees you hir for an in-house team earn $50,000-$150,000+
  • Outsourcing internationally can lower rates to $15-$50 per hour
Where can you find programmer?

While seeking to hire a proficient coder, there are three most commonly utilized methods:

  • Hiring freelancers: independent programmers
  • Hiring in-house developers: employees of your company that work from office
  • Reaching out to outsourcing companies: a company you delegate the development to, located in another country

Depending on the type of programmers you want to hire check out the following platforms:

  • Freelancers: Upwork, Toptal, Fiverr, Freelancer
  • In-house developers: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or Dice
  • Outsourcing companies: Clutch, GoodFirms, ITFirms
Where can I find good programmers?

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

  • Clutch
  • GoodFirms
  • ITFirms
  • LinkedIn
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • Upwork
  • Youteam
  • Dice
How do I find a startup coder?

To find a startup coder, it’s highly recommended to reach out to an experienced outsourcing software development company. Usually, these companies have a wide pool of IT specialists with diverse tech expertise, and are much more affordable to hire then gathering and maintaining an in-house team. You may find relevant outsourcing software development companies on Clutch, GoodFirms, and ITFirms.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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