November 18, 2021

How to Hire a Programmer Online

These instructions only help for small 1-2 person single projects. If you are looking to develop a real lasting relationship for a long term project this advice is not as applicable.

  1. Determine what you want built
  • Do you want a wireframe of an app built, an MVP, a full fledged ready to go to production app? You need to decide this before hiring someone. No matter what it is, I recommend you have exactly each part of your app defined with how you want it to look like and what features you want to have.
  1. Have some sort of sketch/design
  • Use Sketch or Figma but you don’t have to. Go ahead and draw it out on paper. My first, and one of my most, successful projects was built this way.
  • What you should sketch/draw out depends on what stage of product you want built. For instance if you are building out a full production app I would have everything drawn out, with colors and layout, and all the functionality that you need for each page of the website/app. I also like to include annotations and notes for every page that will help out the developer/designer. If you are building an MVP, overall layout is less important than specifications and functionality.
  1. Know the limits of the project so you know the limits of who you are hiring
  • No matter what you are building you should know what the person you are hiring is good at. If you are hiring a developer to build an website then they will probably focus on most of the backend. If you are building an MVP then they can probably handle some of the layout stuff with a front end framework like bootstrap. It probably won’t look great but that is not the point of an MVP. If you are building a full fledged app more often than not you’ll have to hire 2 people or usually a team to handle it. One other option is to hire a designer to build everything out which can then be handed off to the developer.
  1. Know your own limits
  • If you know how to code then it will be easier to evalute if a person is a good coder. Ask them for code on other projects they have worked on or their github profile. If you know how to design evaluate them based on prevous designs they have done. Etc. It is a lot easier if you know the basics of whatever skill you are hiring for.
  1. Figure out where you are going to hire
  • Sites I have mostly used are:, but these are more old-school’. There are a lot of newer sites and job boards.
  1. Determine your budget
  • Take a look at similar projects and programming languages to determine a price. For example, a python or general javascript programmer is much cheaper than a react native or kotlin programmer.
  • You may need to adjust your budget if you find you aren’t receiving good applicants.
  1. Determine a time frame of your project
  • Now that you have determined your budget you need to determine a time frame. Got one set? Good! Take 10% off your budget and say in the project description that you will give them the 10% as a bonus only if they finish it within the time frame.
  1. Create a project posting
  • Things you will want to include:
    • Project Description
    • Budget
    • Time Frame
    • Programming language/skills required
    • Whether or not they will be working with someone else
    • Include the phrase: Send me the word Elephant in your initial reply so that I know you have read the project description”
  1. Interview your applicants
  • This is biased but I have definitly had a better experience with Asian and Eastern European programmers than ones from other countries. European and Americans are generally the most expensive to hire.
  • Always ask to see their previous work and/or code if applicable
  1. Set milestones
  • Once you have picked someone always, always set milestones for the project with an appropriate amount of the budget to release with each milestone. So for example I will do:
    • Initial Features/Pages - 30% (Make sure you define exactly what is included in this)
    • Next set of Features - 30%
    • Bug Fixes - 30%
    • Final Product - 10%

And thats my guide. I’ve used it for almost 100 projects on and at least 10 more on Let me know if this is helpful.

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