Trying to hire developers for your startup is one of the biggest challenges faced by startup founders.
The task is made even more daunting by the fact that only 2.1% of professional developers are unemployed and actively seeking work.
Before we dive into the list of the 12 best websites to hire developers for your startup, I want to cover one important point:
“It’s crucial you have the right tools to vet potential developers for your startup.”
Normally a CTO or a custom software development company will advise you on this. If you’re managing your tech team yourself, however, I recommend bringing in a trusted unbiased tech advisor to help you make these decisions.
It’s also important to have some basic tech knowledge.
Don’t worry I’m not advising you to learn how to code.
You should, however, learn about the viable technology stacks and architecture for your product.
This way you’ll be able to easily follow the conversation with potential tech stakeholders – whether you hire freelance developers, a custom software development company or a CTO/technical co-founder.
Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo, is a great example of this. His ability to vet good developers led to him outsourcing his software development to a team of freelance developers in Pakistan. $60 and one weekend later (yes you read that right) and he had the core product for AppSumo in his hands.
With these tools, you’ll know you can trust the developers you hire to make vital tech decisions for your business, whether it’s building a prototype, MVP, fully-fledged product or website.
Finally, as with any potential stakeholder in your company (whether it’s advisors, investors or developers) always try and get a warm introduction. This will give you a significantly better chance of connecting with them vs. a cold emailing/messaging.
That being said, here’s the list of the 12 best online platforms to hire developers for your startup.
Full Transparency: This article does not contain affiliate links. Meaning neither I nor Altar.io receives any commission if you should choose to work with one of them.
To ensure this article remains impartial, I did not reach out of the following platforms when creating this list. It was created through research, personal experience and the experiences of colleagues & friends.
Github is the largest online community of developers. It’s where developers host and review code, manage projects & build software. With over 50M developers using the platform, it can be a great place to hire developers for your startup.
Here’s how you can leverage Github to hire developers for your startup:
Create an account
This may sound obvious, but, like many social/professional platforms, you can’t access it unless you create an account.
Run a New Search
This is where things start to get a little technical, and any basic tech knowledge you have starts to come in handy. There are three things to bear in mind as you begin your search on Github:
- Followers – The number of followers a developer has is a great sign of their experience, skill and reputation within the Open Source community. 2-20 followers are good. 21-75 followers are outstanding. 75+ followers are incredible; however, they will probably be tough to recruit.
- Language – What language do the code in? Does that language match your project needs. Remember, there’s no point finding an expert in Ruby on Rails if your project needs to be built in Node.js.
- Location – Unless you’re hiring for a remote role, where your developer is based is an important parameter to keep in mind.
With these things in mind, it’s time to begin your search.
Say I want to find Node.js developers in London with 20 to 50 followers. In Github’s search bar I would enter:
language:nodejs location:london followers:20..50
When the search returns the results, you will want to filter the search to users – it should look a little something like this:
You can use the sort feature to list them in order of:
- Recently joined
Once you have found a candidate, have a look at their projects & repositories to see if their skills align with your startup. I would also cross-reference this using LinkedIn to get a more complete picture of the candidate.
Many users will display their email publicly on their Github profile, so you can reach them directly. If this isn’t the case, I would again suggest using LinkedIn to message them or find their contact information.
Gun.io is a platform dedicated to helping entrepreneurs hire developers – both full-time and on a freelance basis.
One of the benefits of using Gun.io is they vet developers before allowing them on their platform – verifying their skills with code exercises and gathering endorsements from previous employers.
For you, this means a 20,000 strong community of viable developers right out of the gate.
It’s free to post job listings on Gun.io. If you hire a freelance developer you pay hourly rates with a minimum of 10 hours a week. If you hire a full-time developer, Gun.io will take a one-off charge equal to 15% of the developer’s negotiated annual salary.
Gun.io finds freelancers FAST, but what’s striking about their resource pool is the talent and sophistication. Being able to see my development budget maximized by the flexible skill set I can call upon makes the investment in Gun.io services well worth it.
Ian G. Technical Director & Gun.io customer.
3. Wellfound (Formerly AngelList Talent)
Wellfound has become one of the most popular platforms to use to hire developers, as well as all other disciplines that startups look for. The platform matches startups, angel investors and people looking to work in startups all under one roof. The platform has a social media-like dynamic and makes it easy for candidates to find your job openings.
To post your job on the platform you’ll need to go to Wellfound’s recruit page. Once you’ve signed in you’ll be prompted to fill out a form listing your company.
Once your account is set up you can publish job posts for free as well as a premium posting for $250 p/m. You can also contact them directly, and they will curate candidates for you.
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Upwork is the largest online community of freelancers. So it’s no surprise that it’s a fantastic platform to use when hiring developers.
Once you’re signed up, you can post your job on the platform. Freelance developers will then “bid” on your job. You can then use the platform to screen candidates and decide whether or not to invite them for an interview.
Upwork took a lot of stress off of growing with minimal resources
Tyson Quick, CEO and co-founder of Instapage.
5. Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow is one of the most popular developer forums online. It allows developers and industry leaders to share knowledge and learn from one another in the process.
Similarly to LinkedIn, Stack Overflow hosts a job board, where you can post adverts and hire developers.
You can also contact Stack Overflow to organise Enterprise solutions for your business, for a cost.
Dice is a dedicated job board for tech careers. They make it easy for you to hire developers for your startup.
Using their “for employers” section you can either post a job or browse through the resumes of over 2.2M developers worldwide.
Dice is my go-to for tech positions. The database is fresh and full of great candidates. I love Dice! It is a great Database; so well coded and so well kept up! Great job Dice Team!
Senior Technical Recruiter, Vector Talent Resources.
7. Working Nomads
If you want to hire developers to work remotely for your startup, you may find them through Working Nomads.
It is one of the most well-known job boards for the digital nomad community – attracting some of the best in software development.
This, however, comes at a cost. Prices start at $150 per job posting, with reductions available through bulk buying three or five job posts at a time.
Toptal is a platform with a large network of freelance developers, designers, product managers and project managers.
They too vet their developers, only putting the best of the best on their platform.
To hire developers on Toptal you’ll need to create an account. Then you can search for talent free of charge.
When it comes to hiring developers through Toptal there is a varied pricing structure. If you’re looking to hire a full-time developer through Toptal their pricing sits at around $2k – $3.2K per week.
It’s also worth noting that if you wish to hire through Toptal you’ll be required to place a $500 deposit to do so.
With Toptal, we are able to find talented developers in a matter of weeks instead of months. The quality of talent they supply is extremely high as the developers are able to immediately onboard and ramp incredibly fast
Zac Carmen, CEO of ConsumerAffairs.
Guru is another job board where you can post listings to hire developers for your specific needs.
The platform allows you to specify your search based on categories such as specialisation, location, ratings, prices, etc.
“Great customer support, low fee, easy to understand interface and solid payment protection with the SafePay system make working a delight on Guru! Guru really helped our business flourish.” – Solace Engineers Inc.
The next dedicated platform to hire developers for your startup is Upstack.
While on the surface, Upstack looks like they’re more focused on help you expand a pre-existing development team, they’ve helped numerous startups bring their products to life.
After you fill in a short application outlining your needs, Upstack delves into their global pool of over 650 people to vet the right developer for you with their rigorous “eight point hiring process”. Ensuring they have both the right hard and soft skills for your startup.
They also allow you to work with one of their developers for 14 days for free, to make sure their services are the right choice for you.
Lemon.io is a platform that is completely focused on matching developers with startups.
Their key value proposition is that they’ll match you with a startup developer in just 24 hours (or less).
They have a four-step process to vet the developers they work with. It starts with a Resumé review, followed by a screening call to assess soft skills and language proficiency. Then comes the hard skills check – to ensure they have the technical prowess to help you. Then there is a “final reckoning” with senior members of the team to ensure that the candidates are passionate about the “startup hustle.”
They say they’re more than a “usual freelance platform”. Instead, they call themselves an “exclusive community of startup sidekicks” there to “help you find that extra pair of hands to be the hero of your story”.
If you’re looking to hire developers for your startup, you can also reach out to us here at Altar.io.
We have years of experience building software solutions for both startups and large enterprises.
Over this time we’ve developed an extensive network of developers, as well as a structured process to find developers that have the best expertise for your project, tech stack and soft skills for smooth integration.
More than that, all of the developers we work with are based at our HQ in Lisbon. What this means for you is that they’re not hindered by communication issues and are working in a startup environment.
And there are more than a few reasons to source your talent in Lisbon.
You can reach out to us using this form, and we’ll get back to you and book an initial conversation so you can make sure we’re the right fit for you.
We are very happy to work with Altar.io. The collaboration goes far beyond a standard IT service: with Altar.io we have a sparring partner that challenges us in our product decisions and is truly passionate about the results developed. The level of professionalism and dedication is exceptional in this industry and we are eager to strengthen our collaboration in the future.
Philip Schoch, Co-Founder of Apiax.
If you want to hire developers for your startup, there’s at least one name on this list that will help you achieve this. Whether you’re looking to onboard full-time developers or if you’re looking to stay flexible and hire freelance developers or partner with a Custom Software Development Company.
Remember, hiring a team of developers on a full-time basis is a big commitment. Make sure you perform all the necessary due diligence to ensure they are the right fit before onboarding them.
Once you contract someone, it’s often difficult to have to let them go.
If you hire freelance developers or partner with a custom software development company, you’re able to be more flexible – only paying for software development when you need it.
If you choose to hire freelance developers, remember to ensure they have the right technical expertise to help you build your product – as you would with any technical partner.
Then, make sure they’re fully committed to your startup. The nature of freelance work is that freelancers can take as many jobs as they like. Make sure you choose someone who is able to commit the necessary time to your project – or it could end in disaster.
When partnering with a custom software development company, it’s also important to check that they have room in their schedule to commit to your project, as well as making sure they’re the right fit for you.
Check out these articles for more advice on partnering with a custom software development company and the reasons it fails.
If you’re still torn as to whether you should hire developers or partner with a custom software development company, this article explores the choices you have in more detail, to help you make the right choice for your startup.
Jamie is the Head of Content at Altar.io. With a background in Theatre and Marketing for the Arts, he’s now turned his attention to the Startup World, committing to creating valuable content for entrepreneurs with the help of industry leaders.