Best Practices

How To Hire Developers For Startups – A Definitive Guide

Updated on
March 26, 2024
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Here’s the brutal truth. It’s extremely difficult to hire developers for a startup, particularly an early-stage one. With a bare-skeletal structure, a startup is sometimes run by a one-man team and in no position to compete with established companies in terms of perks and salary.

Even if it does, developers often pursue their careers at established organizations, where the conditions and benefits are more stable and provide room for growth.

But fret not. In recent years, many early-stage startups have turned to an alternative recruitment form. They outsource their development needs to 3rd parties. Companies like Slack and Whatsapp are popular names that outsourced their development when they were just starting out.

Hiring developers as an outsource team has become a norm in the industry. According to the 2023 Clutch survey, 83% of small businesses said that they would increase and maintain their spending on outsourced business services in 2023. In the coming years, the size of the IT outsourcing market is anticipated to grow even more. According to The Business Research Company Report, it will grow to $171.5 billion in 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1%.

With all these facts and predictions, it looks like outsourcing stays the gas pedal for businesses, including small and medium-sized ones. If you want to stay ahead of competitors, you should definitely consider hiring developers for your startup.

In this article, we’ll give you a guide on how to hire developers for a startup, how to overcome the challenges of hiring, and how to save up costs by hiring the right talents.

hire developers for startup

7 Steps To Hiring Developers For a Startup

When you need to find programmers for your startup quickly, an action plan should be prepared in advance. It spares you the time of going through rounds of pointless interviews or, worse, hiring the wrong candidate.

Here’s a quick 7-step guide to help you hire developers for your startup project:

  1. Specify your business needs
  2. Determine the employment model
  3. Choose a country to hire from
  4. Find necessary specialists
  5. Verify the expertise
  6. Conduct interviews
  7. Start the job
7 steps to hiring developers for a startup

Step 1. Specify your business needs

Every startup is unique, including the type of hire you must make. Take your time to ponder why you need to get an IT developer on board. Are you kickstarting a new app idea and need developers to quickly develop an MVP? Or are you looking for iOS developers to bring an app to the Apple marketplace? Chances are you are in search of web developers for creating a user-friendly website. Defining why you need tech hires is the first thing to do.

Some startups may already have a core development team working on their software but may need additional experts familiar with new technologies. For example, you may have a few software developers but no data engineers. Others may have no tech specialists at all. Whatever the case, outsourcing the required jobs is a suitable option.

Your list of requirements will dictate the type of engineers you need. It’ll give you a better idea of where to start searching and how much you’ll need to pay for their service.

Step 2. Determine the employment model

Once you’re clear with your business needs, you’ll need to decide on the type of employment model for the outsourced developers. That’s right. There is more than one option available.

If you’re working on a small project, you’ll want to consider the project-based model. As a client, you entrust the entire software development process, from initial planning to the final release, to an outsourced team. This model suits projects that have pre-defined requirements, and developers are paid a fixed price. However, there’s a lack of flexibility as it doesn’t suit projects with evolving requirements.

If you’re yet to have a concrete idea of what your app or website will be like, you’ll want to go for the dedicated team model. As the name implies, you’ll be assigned a team of developers who work exclusively on your project. The developers will be contracted to your startup for a specific period. This type of cooperation provides better flexibility: You can communicate your ideas directly to the team and receive quick feedback. There are also no limitations on making changes during development.

Now, if you already have an in-house team, you’ll want to go for the third option, the extended team or, in other words, staff augmentation. It’s more of filling the skill set gaps by outsourcing to IT specialists. Your in-house team is in charge of coordinating the development, while the outsourced developer takes on the specific tasks.

Step 3. Choose a country to hire from

It’s important to hire remote developers for startups from the right country. Some countries are cheaper than others, but factors like a language barrier and a timezone are concerns. Ideally, you’ll want to outsource to developers who could communicate in your language, are good at what they do, and don’t come at an exorbitant price.

Here’s a comparison table of some of the best countries to outsource software development to, including pricing tags, pros, and cons.

Country Price range Outsourcing pros Outsourcing cons
India $18-$25 English fluency, affordability, quality work Cultural differences, time zones, security concerns due to data breaches
Ukraine $25-$50 Tech education, cost-effectiveness, business culture compatibility Time zone differences with the US, possible language nuances (not common)
Poland $45-$80 EU benefits, stability, high skill level Noticeably higher costs, time zone differences with the US
Brazil $30-$55 Large talent pool, cultural vibrancy, tech growth Language nuances, economic volatility
Vietnam $10-$25 Competitive pricing, tech industry growth, government IT support Lack of English proficiency, cultural/business differences

The ideal outsourcing destination in Eastern Europe. You can hire an IT developer for $30-$50 per hour and get good results. The best price/quality ratio! Uptech has been recognized among the top 1000 Global Service Providers in 2023 by Clutch. Uptech developers work from different corners of the world; one part of our team works from Asia, and another part from the EU.  

Step 4. Find necessary specialists

Before you can hire a developer for your startup, you need to find the candidates. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to search. You could end up liaising with employment agencies, which can be costly and may not always fulfill your requirements.

For startup owners, it’s better to search on your own. Talent marketplaces like Upwork, Freelancer, and Guru are the best places to start if you’re looking for developers who work with different collaboration models. You can decide whether to pay by the hour or per tasks assigned. Such platforms allow you to filter candidates by skill sets, which helps bring the right experts to your team. Further in the article, we will provide a more detailed overview of talent marketplaces for you to consider.

If you wish to work with a dedicated team, check out sites like GoodFirms, Clutch, and SoftwareWorld. Clutch allows clients to leave reviews on IT development agencies they’ve engaged with, so it’ll be a great place to start finding reputable agencies. SoftwareWorld provides listicles of top IT development agencies according to type and region.

It also happens that this article is published by an experienced IT development agency that may solve your hiring needs. Feel free to get in touch with the editor with the types of developers you’re seeking.

Step 5. Verify the expertise

Whether you’re hiring freelancers or an IT development agency, you need to diligently check out their background. You’ll need to ensure that they have the expertise as claimed and can handle your project.

If you’re hiring through platforms like Upwork and Guru, browse through the reviews left by other clients for the freelancers. Ask for a list of projects that they’ve accomplished. It helps you to filter out candidates that are missing vital skills needed for your project.

Take the same approach when you’re hiring an IT outsourcing firm. Read through the testimonials given by past clients, and if possible, talk to them for direct feedback. Browsing through the company’s profile on LinkedIn can also reveal much about its reputation.

Here’s the feedback from our client – Emanuel Possnert, Сo-Founder of EaTable – a foodtech company in Sweden.

Also, review the fresh testimonial from another Uptech client, Belsien Thomas, the Senior Director of Engineering at Aspiration.

Also, you can visit the company’s site and read through the use cases. At Uptech, we always share our work, including details like the tech stack, the time it took us to create a product, challenges we faced, and ways we mitigated them.

Another great way to check the expertise is to check out sources like Dribbble, where developers and designers share their projects and design concepts. The same goes for Behance.

Besides expertise, you also need to ensure that the developers possess soft skills like communication, teamwork, and being anticipative. Much of the success relies on clear communication between you and the developer. Ensure that language isn’t an issue, and there’s a common platform to exchange opinions.

For instance, while working on Nomad — a real estate platform for renting and buying houses — we emphasized continuous communication and collaboration with the client. This approach wasn't just about staying connected; it was about working as a unified team to move swiftly and efficiently. And that’s the approach we use in every project we work on.

When hiring a dedicated team of developers for your startup, you get good teamwork, transparency, flexibility, and fast results. The developers should be self-organized and capable of tackling issues independently. The candidates must be proactive in making suggestions and reporting issues without being prompted.

Step 6. Conduct interviews

How do you ensure that the candidates have all the hard and soft skills for the job? Nothing works better than holding an interview. Have the candidates talk about their experience working on previous projects. You can learn whether they are passionate about what they’re doing.

Want to get to know what questions to ask at the interview to hire the best app developer for your business? Read our article

Make a list of questions to evaluate the candidates’ responses when placed in tough positions.

Run through the questions with each candidate and compare the responses. It helps in choosing the best candidates who perform well under pressure.

Step 7. Start the job

When you’re satisfied with the shortlisted candidates, you can then award the job. Ensure that both parties mutually agree to the terms stated in the contract. Provide clear requirements on what needs to be done and issue the start work order to the developer.

Primary Motivations for Startups to Hire Professional Developers

The specifics of startups require flexible and cost-effective solutions that should also be delivered quickly. While online website builders or no-code app builder solutions might be an option, you won’t get much without developers in most cases.

Here are valid reasons for you to hire developers for your startup.

Motivations for Startups to Hire Professional Developers

Tech stack knowledge

What are Python and Ruby On Rails? The former conjures up a giant snake for most startup owners, while the latter sounds like a jewelry brand. For developers, they are part of the technologies used to build software.

It’s quite common that startup owners have little or no knowledge of software development. Their job as entrepreneurs is to turn ideas into problem-solving software and not figure out how to do programming.

Therefore, a startup must recruit the right developers familiar with the tech stack needed to build a certain solution.

Fast growth

Around 62,000 apps were released to Google PlayStore in November 2023. That’s how competitive the app market is. For a startup, you’ll want to get your idea out there quickly, test it out and refine it. It all has to be done at rocket speed.

If you’re banking on trances of funding for your startup, you’ll need to have something to show to the investors. And that means building an MVP.

You’ll need a team of developers if you want to make quick progress as an early-stage startup. Even if you’re a talented programmer, you cannot get distracted from managing business development as it would divert your attention from other areas of your business.

Budget adherence

Cash is the lifeblood of early-stage startups. Whether you’re bootstrapping or armed with capital from investors, you need to be meticulous in your expenses. And that includes hiring developers.

You have no choice but to be stringent in your selection process. It’s a matter of picking the right candidates who will get the software to the market with as few hiccups as possible. This means choosing a developer with substantial experience, particularly in building apps or websites related to your niche.

The pressure of making the right hire within the limited budget is felt when the bargaining power is not in your favor.

hire developers for startup

Strong team

You can’t operate with a skeleton structure for long. Even if you’re a good multitasker, there’s only so much you can take on in a startup. You’ll soon need to delegate tasks to your team members, including matters related to IT development.

Therefore, you’ll want to hire a developer for your startup that shares your goals and values to build a team of developers as you move forward. It’s better to have the team handling the development from the start than bringing them into the startup at a later stage.

A strong team is one that’s familiar with the product and business processes. That’s the idea that drives startups to hire developers.

Challenges of Hiring Developers for a Startup

Every startup owner wishes for a dream team of developers to turn their ideas into working applications. However, they have to face the harsh reality of recruitment, which often brings unwanted challenges to their startups.

These are the common complaints when hiring developers for a startup.

Challenges of Hiring Developers for a Startup

Lack of local talents

The world is getting more digitized. Large and small businesses scramble to move their operations online. This causes a surge in demand for IT professionals. Unfortunately, the growth in local IT talent falls short of the surging demands.

New startups are often at the losing end when scouting for candidates in the market. Talented developers are quickly snapped up by large corporations. When you have a small pool of candidates to choose from, hiring developers for a startup becomes a tedious and expensive process.

You can’t recruit people just for the sake of filling up the team. As a result, you’ll have to wait months or years before landing the right person. That’s a timeline that’s unacceptable for the fast-paced world of startups.

Retention benefits competition with large corporations

Even if you’ve landed some promising IT developers on your team, there’s no guarantee that they’ll stick with you long enough to complete the project. Not when so many large corporations are poaching them.

It’s all fair game for big companies to tempt developers with perks that are way beyond the capability of budget-tight startups. At the end of the day, you’ll need to match the benefits offered or lose good developers that you’ve brought in after much effort.

Losing people in your team disrupts your schedule and can put you back for months. If you intend to re-hire, you must also fork out additional expenses for job ads and interviews.

Security issues

When hiring software developers for a startup, especially with an outsourced team, one of the greatest challenges is security and all related concerns. The key aspect here is that you must ensure things like data privacy, intellectual property protection, access controls, communication channels security, and compliance standards adherence. And if we talk about developers working remotely, you must mitigate cyber threats risks, and other vulnerabilities.

As for Uptech, understanding these challenges and our commitment to security can be further explored in our Privacy Policy, where we detail how we handle personal information, ensuring transparency and trust.

Cultural and time zone differences

Again, if the developers you would like to fire for your startup come from a different country, you may face such obstacles as cultural background and time zone differences. These things can greatly impact communication and, as a result, project timelines. It’s important to navigate cultural nuances and find common working hours to make everything work, which can be quite difficult depending on the circumstances. We have some more material covering potential difficulties in outsourcing and ways to overcome them.

At Uptech, we do understand the need to address these issues and we have been successful in doing this with our clients. In terms of security, we conduct regular audits to safeguard your startup’s reputation and assets. When developing healthcare software, we always follow all required regulations, e.g., HIPAA security laws. In a dedicated article, you can read more about ways to develop HIPAA-compliant software based on our experience.

On top of that, we have expertise working with clients of various cultural backgrounds, so we know how to create a harmonious working environment. Our developers create their schedules keeping in mind slots for overlapping working hours so that you always have a chance to communicate with them.

Benefits of Hiring Remote Developers for Startups

Instead of hiring in-house developers, many startup owners outsource or choose to augment the development team by hiring remote developers. Here’s why.

Benefits Of Hiring Remote Developers For Startups

Tech talent availability

When you’re hiring developers for a startup as an outsourced team, you’re no longer constrained to the local pool of talents, which can be quite limited. Instead, you’ll have the luxury of choosing the best IT developers from around the globe. For example, Eastern European countries like Ukraine have a large pool of talented developers to choose from.

Outsourcing not only brings you the best of talents but also spares you from the long-term commitment of a permanent hire. With the risks faced by an early-stage startup, it’s reasonable to engage developers on a project basis.

Faster recruitment

Hiring for full-time positions requires more considerations than deciding to hire remote developers for a startup. With the former, you’ll need to consider if the candidate has both the hard and soft skills to fit in the startup for years to come.

However, outsourcing to a remote developer is much simpler. All you need to consider is whether the particular developer has the required skill sets to take on the current project. You don’t have to worry about whether he/she will fit into the company’s long-term plan.


To build a functional software solution, you’ll need expertise in different areas. For example, you’ll need an Android and iOS developer to build a native mobile app. You’ll also need a backend developer to develop the backend software.

With remote outsourcing, you can choose developers with the skills needed to get the job done. There’s no worry about long-term financial commitment as the contract is only for the project. Besides, you can bring in more developers when there’s an increase in the workload.


Being thrifty is a virtue much needed for a startup owner. You’ll want to make every expense count, and that’s where outsourcing IT development fits in. Unlike a full-time hire, you’re not obliged to pay fixed salaries, allowances, equipment, software, and training.

Outsourcing is also economical when you’re based in a country like the US or UK. Hiring local IT experts is expensive compared to outsourcing to developers in other countries. For example, you can hire developers in Eastern Europe for a rate between $25-$50, and Asia for $18 -$40. What’s important is there isn’t any difference in the deliverable’s quality.

how to find developers for startups

Relevant expertise of developers

The chances of building a successful product increase as you hire developers with relevant experience for your startup. By outsourcing, you can choose developers who have developed similar software. It prevents rookie mistakes, which can affect the development timeline.

The global pool of IT developers consists of profesionals who specialize in different fields. You get to pick the best lineup to build your app/website with minimum fuss. These experts need little hand-holding and get to top speed right from the start.

hire developers for startups

How Uptech Helps Startups With Their Development Needs

Uptech has a longstanding history of supporting startups in their quest to onboard skilled developers for their projects. We have a proven process that guides startup owners through identifying their needs to executing the idea itself.

We start by gathering the client’s requirements and evaluating the project's complexity. Our team then turns the requirements into executable tasks. The tasks are broken down into parts and assigned to our team of developers.

Once we have a solid plan, we’ll hold an extensive discussion with the client. When both parties are satisfied, we commence the project on an agreed schedule with a formal contract.

Our team prioritizes clear communication and actively shares ideas and feedback with our clients. This approach was particularly effective during our project with the Aspiration team. Aspiration is a financial firm dedicated to ethical practices and designed to serve all. To help them build the product they wanted and ensure that every party was on the same page, we engaged in daily discussions and fostered a collaborative environment. Our client also pointed out the exceptional quality of our work. All of this was the key to our mutual success and the results we delivered.

Once we have a solid plan, we’ll hold an extensive discussion with the client. When both parties are satisfied, we commence the project on an agreed schedule with a formal contract. 

Our team is known to be proactive in providing ideas and feedback. This is evident in our collaboration with the Yaza team. Yaza was coined as a social app that lets friends share places of interest through a visualized map. However, it lacks clarity on what problem it is solving.

We conducted a market and customer validation exercise and found out that it is best suited for the real estate industry. Based on the results, Uptech proceeded to build Yaza in the determined direction.

We at Uptech are no strangers to incorporating AI technologies within projects. In our collaboration with Hamlet, for example, we simplified text summarization using AI, making it more efficient for users to get quick summaries from texts and PDFs. We integrated a smart AI tool, particularly the tech-davinci-003 model, into Hamlet's system, focusing on user-friendly design and effective technology use.

How to hire developers for startup

Teamed up with Sommo, Uptech also developed, an AI app that quickly generates diverse AI avatars from selfies, catering to social media users. Our agile development approach enabled the rapid launch of, achieving impressive milestones such as 100k users and over 50 avatar styles within just a month.

How to hire developers for startup

In another AI endeavor, Uptech helped create TiredBanker, a platform that analyzes investment data from S&P 500 companies using GPT-4, for more informed investment decisions.

hire developers for startup

5 Common Platforms to Hire Developers for Your Startup

Truth be told, there are a great number of sites to use for developers’ hiring purposes. While some may not provide the exact searching functionality, they can be used to check out your future hires’ expertise and feedback. We’ll list a few popular tech talent destinations for you to consider.


GitHub is one of the biggest hubs for developers, hosting over 50 million users for code sharing, project management, and software creation. Logically, you can find developers for your startup here. With the right approach, though.

To get started, sign up on GitHub and get acquainted with the platform's search system. For your convenience, there are search syntax tips available within GitHub docs.

Search with specific criteria in mind: if you're looking for Python developers in New York with 10 to 40 followers, you'd type – language:python location:"New York" followers:10..40 – in the search bar, then adjust the results to show only users.

You can also search by the development company name. For example, to find Uptech there, search "org:uptechteam" and look through the results. Further, you can evaluate found profiles by examining contributions and projects, and use LinkedIn to get a fuller view of their professional experience.


Upwork is a leading marketplace for freelancers, making it an excellent choice for startups looking to hire developers. Once registered, you can post your job, prompting freelance developers to offer their services for it. In this way, you can screen candidates through their proposals and profiles on the platform and identify the right specialists to invite for an interview.

Upwork is great because it doesn’t require any tech background from you or special searching skills like the previously mentioned GitHub.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a platform for developers to share their knowledge, get help with technical quotations, and work collaboratively. As the platform states, it's the place for “empowering the world to develop technology through collective knowledge.”

It's a great place for startups to find skilled developers. You can see how good someone is by looking at their answers in threads and how they solve problems. While it's not a job site per se, you can still find talented people there by getting involved in discussions or reaching out to users who seem like a good fit for your project. is a platform tailored for entrepreneurs looking to hire developers. It offers both full-time and freelance options. What makes appealing to people in need of hiring specialists is that the platform assesses developers through coding tests and endorsements from past employers, ensuring you access a pool of over 20,000 qualified developers.

Posting job listings is free, and if you opt for a freelance developer, you'll be paying hourly rates with a commitment of at least 10 hours a week. For full-time hires, charges a one-time fee of 15% of the developer's agreed annual salary. Quite straightforward.


Dice is a specialized job board focused on tech careers. It's created in a way that makes the process for startups to hire developers quite easy. Through their "for employers" section, you have the option to post job openings or explore an extensive database of over 2.2 million developer resumes globally.


Early-stage startups have it tough when it comes to hiring developers. In this guide, we've done our best to provide you with various strategies and platforms for hiring developers for a startup. Of course, we’ve emphasized the importance of a detailed hiring process because, you know, without it, success is doubtful. Besides, now that you know the benefits of tapping into global talent pools, the process isn’t that scary.

But please keep in mind the need for clear role definitions, thorough vetting, and the advantages of remote work arrangements. By utilizing specialized job boards and platforms, you can effectively find and onboard the right specialists to drive your projects forward.

But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of hiring developers for your startup, drop us an email on your hiring needs, and we’ll be glad to assist.


How to hire a software developer for an idea?

To hire software developers for your idea, start with a clear vision. Here are a few essential steps to take:

  1. Define your business requirements
  2. Select the hiring model
  3. Pick a hiring location
  4. Identify required experts
  5. Assess their skills
  6. Carry out interviews
  7. Initiate employment

Where to hire software developers?

To find software developers, you can explore the following platforms:

  • Freelance Platforms: Upwork, Freelancer
  • Code Communities: GitHub, Stack Overflow
  • Professional Networks: LinkedIn
  • Tech Job Boards: Dice,
  • B2B Review Sites: Clutch, GoodFirms
  • Portfolio Sites: Behance, Dribbble

How much does it cost to hire a software developer for a startup?

The cost of hiring a software developer for a startup can vary widely based on factors like experience, location, and project scope, to name a few. For example, you can go with a staff augmentation model and hire freelance developers as an addition to your existing team. Engineers from India typically charge $18-$25 per hour while specialists from the EU, say Poland, will be more expensive, offering $45-$80 hourly pricing tags.

If we talk about a dedicated team, costs can range from $2,500 to $10,000+ per developer per month, depending on location and expertise level.