The rise of eCommerce and ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS), means that software development is more closely integrated with the marketing and service offerings of a company than ever before. This has led to an expected increase in demand for software engineering and development of 22 percent between 2019 and 2022.
While software engineering outsourcing is always a possibility (with some saying Covid-19 has led to a pick-up in IT outsourcing), there are distinct advantages in having software engineers or software developers in-house, within the organization, to manage the overall project and process.
In this article, we explore these benefits, and provide 12 practical tips for businesses unsure about how exactly to hire a software engineer.
1. While there are demonstrable benefits for many companies in having developers in-house, many companies do not know how to hire a software engineer.
2. The benefits of hiring a software engineer include regular software testing, input of experts, project and program management and efficiency.
3. For businesses unsure how to hire software engineer we suggest the following tips: Be flexible, interview with real-life development tasks, hire quickly, consider international candidates and remote hiring, and offer stock as part of compensation.
4. Many companies can benefit from engaging a PEO or staffing agency to take care of hiring software engineer.
What Is a Software Developer?
There are a range of important software-related skillsets which are slightly different. When hiring for the role, and putting together a candidate profile and job description, it is crucial to have a clear idea of exactly what you want when you set out to hire a software developer.
A software developer is an ‘end-to-end’ software professional. Their focus is to oversee the entire software creation lifecycle. This includes ensuring that the final product is fit for end-users. While they will have technical programming and coding skills (e.g., Java, Python, C++), their skillset is broader and always considerate of the end-user.
Often software developers will have a focus or niche within software development, such as mobile applications, front-end, or back-end development.
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What Is a Software Engineer?
Often the terms ‘software developer‘ and ‘software engineer’ are used interchangeably. And this is how we treat the terms in this hiring guide.
However, in order to ensure the best hire possible, it is important for companies to understand how the terms can be used distinctly.
A software engineer applies engineering principles in creating software. They also utilize the coding and technical skills that a software developer does. They place more of an emphasis on the technical side, and less of an emphasis on process, compared to a software developer.
Software engineers, as with software developers, will often have a particular focus. Common specialties include:
- Back End. This is a focus on aspects of software that are not visible to the end-user;
- Front End. This is a focus on the user interface, including layout, appearance and user experience;
- Full Stack. This means competence in both back-end and front-end;
- Security. This means looking out for the software’s potential security flaws, and building in fixes;
- DevOps. An approach to software creation that emphasizes a symbiotic relationship between development (‘dev’) and operations (‘ops’).
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Software Engineer?
There are a range of benefits that apply to hiring a software engineer. These include:
How to Hire a Software Engineer: 12 Tips
If unsure how to hire a software engineer or software developer, we suggest the following 12 tips:
Video: Top Interview Techniques for Hiring Software Engineers
In the video below, a top tech recruiter explains what software engineers can do to ace their interview.
How to Hire a Software Engineer with a PEO or Staffing Agency
Whether hiring internationally or locally, instead of directly hiring a software engineer, another option is to engage a third-party firm that specializes in employing a global workforce.
Where the firm specializes in temporary and contract hiring, the term ‘staffing agency’ is sometimes used. Where the firm also offers ongoing employment they are commonly known as a Professional Employer Organization (or ‘PEO’). Where that firm hires internationally, it is often known as a global or international PEO.
The benefits of a third-party firm doing the hiring can include:
Frequently asked questions
As the terms ‘software engineer’ and ‘software developer’ cover a broad variety of roles, and international hires are common, it is impossible to give a precise figure.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that the median salary for software developers in the U.S. (the closest category to ‘software engineer’) is $110,140 per year or $52.95 per hour.
According to international freelancing marketplace Upwork (covering freelance software developers and engineers all over the world), the median pay for software developers is between $15 and $30 per hour.
Hiring costs will differ substantially depending on:
- whether employees or contractors are sought;
- whether recruitment is outsourced;
- whether a PEO or staffing agency is used; and,
- the specific technical competencies and level of seniority expected.
You can either recruit and hire a software engineer directly, or engage a recruitment or employment firm to do it on your behalf.
For smaller, and more contained projects it can make sense to hire an independent contractor/freelancer rather than an employee. For more substantial or ongoing projects it is better to employ a software engineer or use a PEO solution (see above).
The most recent data from Glassdoor shows that the average time to hire was 40.8 days for software development engineers. This was the 6th longest time-to-hire of all professions.
An in-depth 2015 study of hiring times across IT-related specialties showed a range of 12.3 days (for a web designer) to 35 days (for a software engineer).
These long hiring times can present an opportunity for firms with the capacity to hire more quickly than others.
Hiring a software engineer or software developer in-house can have a lot of advantages for businesses that depend on tech, or have tech as a key part of their product or service.
For businesses unsure how to hire a software developer, we recommend the following:
- Be open to flexible skillsets;
- Test candidates with real-life development tasks;
- Hire quickly;
- Consider international candidates;
- Where possible, incorporate equity into compensation packages.
Businesses should also consider the benefit of hiring a third-party firm (such as a staffing agency or a PEO) to hire employees. on their behalf.
Horizons helps companies recruit and hire software engineers all over the world. Contact us today for a no-obligation discussion.