Identifying where to hire experienced software developers is a critical first step in kick starting any new project. The significance of having top-tier developer talent on board cannot be overstated — even the most revolutionary idea may stumble without the right hands on deck.
But as the demand for skilled software developers escalates, the current talent shortage leaves a gaping hole in the market, with over 900,000 positions waiting to be filled. What is the way out? Search in places that many companies still overlook.
With 12+ years of experience in the industry, Surf has helped hundreds of clients by providing its expert developer talent, boosting existing dev teams and helping companies realize their ambitious projects. We have a well-tuned flow of hiring and cultivating top-tier developers in-house. In this article, we’ll explain — and compare — the optimal strategies how and where to hire developer talent for your new or existing project:
- Agency marketplaces
- Freelance marketplaces
- Staff augmentation services
- Job boards
- And more!
Best places where to hire software developers or dev teams compared
Before diving into each platform, let’s quickly review the go-to spots for companies to hire software developers or dev teams and see what sets them apart.
Listing websites [Surf recommends]
Platforms like Clutch and G2 compile client reviews about various companies — any development agency worth its weight is likely to maintain an active profile there. For instance, we at Surf uphold a visible presence on Clutch, DesignRush, and many other listing sites.
These platforms typically feature agencies you can hire rather than independent developers, which is a good fit for complex projects and long term partnerships. Companies are categorized by specialty, size, location, developer numbers, and other factors, making it easy to filter and find the exact type of agency you’re looking for.
- Trustworthy developers: companies are verified
- Transparent: independent client reviews and case studies available
- Highly-engaged: possible to hire managed services with full cycle support and high levels of involvement with your project
- With mostly premium pricing agencies listed, this option can be costly
Where to hire developers: freelance marketplaces
These huge marketplaces are a good place where to hire developers on-demand — Upwork alone has over 18 million registered professionals — with transparent upfront pricing and contracts.
This can be a great option for companies that are working on short-term projects. However, be mindful that screening practices vary from service to service. This means that the quality of developers you hire can be hit or miss.
- Lower cost: some freelancers will offer rate below $25/h
- Transparent: upfront costs, contracts, and, usually, a service or money-back guarantee. Most marketplaces will also handle the payment through their platform.
- Fast: not uncommon to find developers within the same day
- Project-based model suits more to small jobs or projects
- Finding top-quality developers can be quite a roulette
- Require hands-on approach: you are unlikely to receive help with project requirements, roadmaps, and other crucial pre-production artifacts
- In many cases, a freelance developer will not be as involved with your project as a full-time employee, which might be a downside if your tasks require a creative approach and complete dedication
Dedicated team and staff augmentation services [Surf recommends]
Certain development agencies can help to hire a dedicated dev team specifically for your project, or temporarily augment the existing in-house team with the missing roles.
This option offers the highest level of flexibility as the developer team is handpicked to align with your needs and budget. The agency handles the recruitment process, roping in freelancers, part-time developers, and in-house staff as necessary.
An experienced project manager affiliated with the agency typically leads this dev team, guaranteeing seamless client communication and taking responsibility for achieving project objectives.
- Customizable approach suited to medium to high complexity projects
- Strikes a balance between cost and quality
- Gives the client control over the involvement level
- On the pricey side of this list
- Requires due diligence: the skill of project and product managers provided by the development partner can make or break the team
Hire developers on job boards
If you have in-house resources and your priority is to be completely involved in the hiring process, it might be a good start to post your offer on several developer job portals, such as:
In addition to these job boards, there are specialized services, too. For example, AngelList focuses on working with digital startups, and Remotive and WeWorkRemotely connect digital nomads with location independent companies.
The upside of this approach is that, usually, posting a job advertisement is free. On the other hand, you might have to purchase premium features for a successful search: top position in searches, ad highlighting, access to more resumes or increased visibility.
However, this option doesn’t come without downsides. Since anyone can apply to your position, expect to receive a barrage of job applications, and without quality control your HR team will waste a lot of resources separating suitable developers.
- Completely free or cheap.
- You keep control over the entire recruitment process.
- Requires a lot of work: no filter of incoming developer applications quality.
- Your job post competes for attention with a multitude of likely similar posts.
- Varying time to hire: it is not unusual to find a developer in a matter of days, but sometimes it takes a while (20-30 days) to fill a position.
Finding talent directly in developer communities can be a more straightforward way to hire developers than using a job board — especially if your company already has a presence there and time is not an issue. Being able to engage in specialized threads can help to hire developers with rare experience and skill sets.
Popular platforms in this category include:
All of them are straightforward to use. Just set up a profile with up-to-date details on your company if you don’t have one already, post a brief job description and be active in ongoing conversations.
By the way, some of the forums provide specialized pages for developer talent hunting, more or less similar to job boards — like Github Careers.
- Your job ad will be seen by a highly targeted audience of active developers.
- You can contact prospective employees directly, saving time and money on commissions and fees.
- There are no guarantees of successful hiring. After all, developers visit forums to share knowledge and learn something new in the first place, not to find a job.
- Requires the company to have its own HR department, since every developer application has to be screened and evaluated.
Platform types compared
Keep in mind that all platform types come with their own unique offerings and caveats. There is no one-fit-all solution, but to help streamline your quest to hire developers, we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each approach:
Now that we’ve explored the types of platforms where to hire developers, let’s compare different websites across three categories: listing platforms, dedicated team agencies, and freelance marketplaces.
Listing platforms: 4 websites compared
If you want to hire a development agency — someone skilled enough to handle medium to high complexity projects — listing platforms should be your first stop. Here are four platforms where you can initiate your search.
Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews platform that connects businesses with the best-fit agencies or consultants they need to tackle their next big project. It is renowned for its extensive directory of IT services and solutions providers, including software development companies.
Businesses can find developer talent by browsing through the directory using various filters, such as the type of service, location, and budget, to hire a suitable service provider or developer. The platform also posts curated lists. For example, Surf was recently included in the list of 100 fastest growing companies in 2023. Compilations like these can help you find developers that stand out or further verify your choice.
- Verified reviews and detailed ratings
- Covers a broad spectrum of IT services and software development companies
- Lists and achievements simplify searching
- Doesn’t offer direct hiring: contact and negotiation are conducted outside of the platform.
DesignRush is a B2B marketplace that connects businesses with professional developer agencies, categorized by their areas of expertise. Similar to Clutch, it features a comprehensive directory of agencies to hire, but it has a particular focus on design-oriented firms, including those specializing in software development.
Companies can explore listings that are divided into categories like mobile app design, website development, and more. Each listing provides a detailed overview of the agency, including its portfolio, key clients, and reviews. While platforms like Clutch offer a broad spectrum of IT services, DesignRush specializes in agencies known for their design prowess, making it an excellent choice for visually driven projects.
- Categorized listings making it easier to find specialized design agencies
- Provides a detailed overview of agencies tailored to showcase portfolios and client reviews
- May not be the best choice for non-design focused projects
G2 is a peer-to-peer review platform where businesses can discover and review different technologies that keep their businesses running. While it’s not a hiring platform in the traditional sense, it provides an extensive list of companies, including development agencies.
Companies can browse through different categories and make decisions based on user ratings, reviews, and comparative data. Unlike Clutch or DesignRush, which focus on connecting businesses with service providers, G2 was originally created to focus on software solutions. Despite that, many reputable agencies maintain active profiles on the platform, including Surf.
- Achievements and popularity matrixes help to compare companies
- As one of the most popular listing platforms, G2 provides a lot of choices
- Not designed for hiring software developers or agencies directly
GoodFirms is a B2B research and review platform that helps businesses hire the best software development agencies and IT companies. It’s renowned for its strong research-oriented approach, focusing on the quality, reliability, and ability of the listed companies.
Companies can navigate the extensive directory using a variety of filters and make their selection based on detailed company profiles, client reviews, and the unique GoodFirms scoring system. Unlike many other listing platforms, GoodFirms presents a thorough performance analysis of each company, giving an in-depth insight that can be valuable for decision making.
- Research-oriented approach provides deep insights into listed companies
- Unique scoring system
- Not as popular as Clutch or G2, with more limited choices
Dedicated dev teams and staff augmentation services: 6 vetted providers compared
Select this option if you want to tap into the knowledge of companies that specialize in assembling and managing new development teams or expanding current ones.
Being 1 of the first three Google-certified development agencies, Surf ranks among the top 9 Flutter developers globally. The company excels in leveraging the latest technologies, creative strategies, and cross-industrial expertise to develop modern, secure, and fast solutions.
Throughout its 12+ years in the industry, Surf has partnered with an array of companies, from large enterprises like Mars and KFC to innovative Y Combinator startups.
Ideally suited for medium to large businesses across diverse sectors, Surf emphasizes long-term relationships and complex mobile and web products needing unique solutions. With Surf’s outstaffing services, you can supplement your dev team with the skills you currently lack or assemble a dedicated team from the ground up.
- Location: Delaware, New York, and Washington D.C., USA
- Specializes in: Native and cross-platform (mobile and web) development, product design, support and management
2. Droids on Roids
Droids on Roids is a development company heavily focused on mobile development and design for both native and cross-platform applications. This developer promises a unique model, combining a team of professionals with a commitment to transparency and control.
With over 12 years in the industry, the company has racked up a ton of experience. Their reputation is solidly backed on Clutch, too, boasting 64 reviews and an average 4.9 rating.
However, the profile shows they are more experienced with midmarket and small businesses where enterprises account for 20%.
- Location: Wrocław, Poland
- Specializes in: custom development of mobile cross platform and native apps
BlueLabel is a NYC-based mobile development company. They’ve collaborated with high-profile companies like Bloomberg, Tide, and Google to create top mobile experiences and apps. Their case studies also indicate their competency across multiple verticals, from e-commerce to media.
However, their NYC base comes with premium pricing, with rates reaching up to $149/h.
- Location: New York, NY, United States
- Specializes in: mobile app development, design and immersive experiences
4. EB Pearls
EB Pearls is a development company with the primary focus in creating native and cross-platform apps, and they also offer services for website development and DevOps. Operating through multiple models, EB Pearls utilizes dedicated teams and in-house approaches.
- Location: Sydney, Australia
- Specializes in: Mobile development of native and cross platform apps
5. Digital Silk
Digital Silk is a digital marketing and development company that focuses on growing brands online through custom campaigns, websites and apps. Although you can hire the team purely for development or design projects, we feel that their work really shines when development and full-cycle marketing or branding services are combined. However, this comes with a premium price tag, averaging around $125 per hour.
- Location: New York, NY, United States
- Specializes in: Combining development services with digital marketing and branding
6. Andersen Inc.
Andersen Inc. is a software development company also based in New York. Unlike BlueLabel’s focus on creative solutions or Surf’s innovative approach, Andersen Inc. is a developer that gravitates towards enterprise and B2B solutions.
The company provides both dedicated teams and staff augmentation, operating with a vast pool of over 3,000 specialists. While this enables them to easily match talent to various projects.
- Location: New York, NY, United States
- Specializes in: enterprise and B2B solutions
Operating since 2011, DICEUS is a custom development company that specializes in creating enterprise and large-scale solutions, placing significant emphasis on turn-key recruitment, IT staffing, and team augmentation.
Like Surf, DICEUS enjoys positive reviews on Clutch, while their website features notable case studies of B2B mobile apps in multiple verticals. The website also emphasis their proficiency in multiple technologies, including enterprise-oriented programming languages such as Java and C#.
- Location: Wrocław, Poland
- Specializes in: development of enterprise solutions
Where to hire developers – freelancers: top 4 Freelance marketplaces:
These platforms should not be dismissed if you have ironed out your project requirements, are in need of short-term assistance, or are working on a smaller-scale project.
Upwork is a global freelancing platform where businesses and independent developers connect and collaborate on projects. It is one of the largest freelance marketplaces and is widely recognized for its diverse developer pool.
Upwork offers both fixed-price and hourly jobs, and it provides tools for employers to monitor the work in progress. The platform also offers a work diary that keeps track of freelancer’s working hours and work completed.
- Vast talent pool
- Robust and secure payment system
- User-friendly interface
- High competition
- Fees can be high, particularly for small projects
Hired is a niche recruitment platform geared towards connecting top-tier software developers with potential employers. The platform stands out due to its reverse recruitment mechanism, with developers creating profiles that companies pursue and send interview requests if they find a good fit.
To facilitate optimal matching, Hired employs AI algorithms that factor in preferences and skills of both parties. Another unique aspect of Hired is its transparency in the recruitment process, including up-front salary details to eliminate negotiation hiccups.
- Offers tailored matches
- Transparent approach to job details and compensation
- Smaller pool of candidates
- Developer cost is higher due to exclusivity
TopTal is a global remote company that provides a freelancing platform connecting businesses with software developers, designers, and business consultants. The platform is well-renowned for its rigorous screening process that accepts only the top 3% of freelance talent. This ensures that employers have access to a network of highly skilled, professional freelancers.
To find a match, companies describe their project and TopTal introduces them to candidates from their network. Additionally, there’s a trial period to ensure that the client is fully satisfied with the chosen freelancer. This rigorous, curated approach is designed to bypass the hassle of sifting through countless applications, which is common on broader platforms.
- Curated pool of talent
- Reduced risk through trial periods with new hires
- Higher costs due to the elite nature of the freelancers
- Limited pool of candidates compared to some platforms
Fiverr is a global online marketplace that operates on a gig basis, with freelancers, also known as sellers, offering a packaged service (a gig) at a defined price.
Employers, or buyers, can browse through these gigs and hire the developer that fits their needs. The platform has a straightforward and intuitive interface, making it easy to hire developer gigs based on price, delivery time, and seller ratings and reviews. This simplicity, combined with a wide range of talent and price points, makes Fiverr a popular choice for many businesses.
- Wide range of talent and services
- Transparent pricing and clear gig expectations
- Quality of work may vary due to the large pool of freelancers
- More suitable for one-off projects rather than long-term engagements
Conclusions and what’s best for you
Having explored various platform types, we clearly see that there are numerous ways to hire software developers for your project. But which one best fits your needs? Let’s review, once again, the 3 main ways.
- Listing websites: ideal for medium to large projects seeking long-term partnerships, complex projects, and to hire agencies vetted through verified reviews.
- Augmented team services: perfect for medium to large projects aiming to outsource talent recruitment and dev team management while maintaining the close collaboration provided by development agencies.
- Freelance marketplaces: suited for smaller projects, isolated tasks, and short-term commitments with developers you hire.
The abundance of options can be overwhelming — we get it. That’s why our team at Surf is ready to assist, whether you need a full-cycle development partner or IT staff augmentation service. We’re prepared to help you hire experienced software developers for your project!