How to Hire Web Developers: Tapping Into the Best Talent for Your Web Project

ScienceSoft provides all-around web development services since 1999.

Hiring Web Developers: A Summary

Hiring models

Possible hiring models: in-house employment, team augmentation, dedicated team.

Key steps

Key steps of the hiring process: defining requirements for candidates, screening & interviewing, hiring, onboarding, team building.

Talents

Talents required for a typical web development project: web architect or cloud architect, back-end & front-end web developers or a full-stack web developer (see #tips on how to choose), DevOps engineer, QA engineer.

Costs

Costs: depending on the hiring model (see below).

Hiring Models

The starting point of a web developer hiring process is a choice of a hiring model: in-house, team augmentation, or a dedicated team. The main difference between the options is who bears legal employment and administration responsibilities as well as how you pay for the services.

In-house employment

You legally employ each web developer and give them safe and comfortable workplaces with all necessary hardware and software. You also draw up a KPI system to continuously monitor your employees’ performance.

  • Employment and related legal paperwork responsibility – your company.
  • Management – your PM or team lead.
  • Payment developers’ salaries, which include payroll taxes and sick leave payments.

Best for: web development agencies or large companies with IT departments that have a constant and predictable flow of web projects.

Vendor outsourcing: Team augmentation

You temporarily hire a developer or developers from a vendor who has a large pool of seasoned web talents. The contractors join your team and work on your project as long as you want or need them to.

  • Employment and related legal paperwork responsibility – vendor.
  • Management – your PM or team lead.
  • PaymentT&M (according to developers’ hourly rates).

Best for: web development teams that face a tight web project deadline or skill deficiency.

Vendor outsourcing: Dedicated team

You hire a self-managed web development team from a vendor to work on your project. The progress is being made without any need for you to interfere in the processes so you can choose the degree of control that works best for you.

  • Employment and related legal paperwork responsibility – vendor.
  • Management – vendor.
  • Payment T&M (according to developers’ hourly rates).

Best for: any business in need of web development; companies with in-house web development teams that are too busy to work on yet another project.

If you are still unsure which model fits you best, feel free to read our list of in-house and outsourcing pros and cons.

Talents you need for a web development project

The size and composition of your web development team can vary depending on the type of your web project (for instance, web application or web portal), technology stack, and project scale. Here, we provide roles that are typically required for a medium-scale web development project.

Web architect (or cloud architect)

Designs the web application architecture (microservices, multi-tenancy, DDD, headless, etc.), configures cloud infrastructure (if required), oversees architecture compliance with the scalability, performance, and availability app requirements.

Back-end web developer

Delivers the server side of the application, sets up databases, performs API integrations.

Web designer

Creates all graphic visuals for the future web app interface while ensuring responsiveness (i.e. automatic adaptation of web design to different devices and screen sizes).

Front-end web developer

Fleshes out UI design mockups, prepared by a web designer; delivers the client side of the app.

Full-stack web developer

Alternatively to back- and front-end web developers. Performs responsibilities of both back-end and front-end developers.

Caution: Hiring a full-stack developer as an alternative to a back-end and a front-end web developer may imply higher risks for project quality.

DevOps engineer

Sets up the CI/CD pipeline, ensures deployment process automation and IaaC approach compliance (automated cloud server setup and configuration).

QA engineer

Creates and runs tests based on software requirements, logs testing results, verifies overall software compliance with the established quality standards.

Full-stack vs. Back-end & Front-end Developers

As full-stack web developers implement both the client side, the server side, and the database of a web project, they are usually equipped with skills belonging to any of the following stacks of web development technologies:

MEAN stack (or full-stack JavaScript)

JavaScript
MongoDB
Express.js
AngularJS
Node.js

Django stack

JavaScript
Python
Django
MySQL

Ruby on Rails

JavaScript
Ruby
SQLite
Rails

LAMP/WAMP/MAMP stack

JavaScript
Linux
Windows
MacOS
Apache
MySQL
PHP

LEMP stack

JavaScript
Linux
Nginx
MySQL
PHP

If you already know your stack and see it in the list above, the option to opt for full-stack web development may seem tempting. After all, it implies that you’ll hire fewer resources with more skills and even speed up your project due to full-stack developers’ ability to juggle front- and back-end development tasks. However, possessing a wide range of skills almost always comes at a cost of the level of proficiency in these skills.

Hiring a full-stack developer may cost less than hiring a front- and a back-end developers, yet this hiring decision may be riskier for the quality of your web project. Compared to full-stack developers, front-end and back-end developers zero in on their respective domains and possess outstanding skills for professional development of either the client or the server & database side.

Still, if fast delivery or reduced costs is your first-and-foremost priority, your best full-stack solution would be MEAN stack. It allows developers to quickly build scalable web or cloud-native applications and – due to being driven by the knowledge of JavaScript language alone – raises the chances of successful, quality development. When combined with the use of microservices architecture, this stack also provides an opportunity to later easily introduce updates and extensions in other technologies.

Not Sure About Your Web Project Technology Stack Yet?

ScienceSoft’s IT consultants are ready to analyze your web development project needs and suggest the most fitting stack for its implementation in a software requirements specification (SRS). With the SRS, you’ll know what type of web developers you need – and we’ll be ready to provide their services.

Tips for hiring web developers: Step by step

1. Defining requirements for candidates

All the requirements for future web developers can be divided into hard and soft skills. Hard skills are technical competencies (skills in programming languages, web frameworks, databases, etc.), while soft skills describe a general attitude and approach to work as well as communication and leadership abilities.

The technology stack listed in the software requirements specification (SRS) of your project is the basis for formulating hard skill requirements. The list of soft skills can be acquired from a team lead or a PM.

Note: Don’t chase after the illusionary ‘ideal candidate’ who fully corresponds to all the requirements. Stay realistic and highlight which hard and soft skills are compulsory for your project and which are desirable but not indispensable.

2. Screening and interviewing

The table below shows key responsibilities for screening and interviewing steps in all three hiring models. Mind that for team augmentation and a dedicated team, your initial step is finding a reliable outsourcing vendor and hiring them by signing a Service Level Agreement.

In-house hiring

Team augmentation

Dedicated team

Screening and high-level interviewing

Technical interview

The questions in the technical interview should cover the general understanding of a candidate’s technology focus (“Describe a web app where you would not use RESTful web services.”) and attitude to coding practices (“How would you introduce 5 CSS styles on a single web page?”). More in-depth code knowledge you can test in a technical task (“Demonstrate the difference between JOIN and UNION in SQL”, “Compare two objects in JavaScript without using external libraries”.)

Note: The more parties are involved in the technical interview, the better. PM, architect, team lead, even QAs – all these people can crucially contribute to the decision. Split the interview into 2-3 stages and don’t hurry. Choosing the top candidates from the start will save you a lot of time and money, required for repeating the entire hiring cycle again, in the future.

3. Hiring

With in-house hiring, a certain amount of HR and legal efforts will be spent on formalizing the employment for each new hire. In vendor cooperation, your hiring efforts are minimized as all legal and administrative liability for the talents stays with their direct employer. What’s more – you can scale up or down the augmented or dedicated team just by amending the main Service Level Agreement. No need for a long paperwork cycle each time your web project requires an additional FTE on the team.

The major task you’ll need to complete at this step, however, is setting up the vendor management processes. They will help you control payment dates and quotes, review vendor KPIs, as well as oversee compliance with the agreed-upon schedule during cooperation. By choosing a self-managed vendor, who can ensure transparent collaboration, you can minimize these efforts.

4. Onboarding

In-house hiring is sometimes considered to have the most natural onboarding because this is a traditional hiring model that many employees are simply used to. Still, new in-house employees do require active initial support (1-2 months) from a project manager and a team lead to get used to their new workflows.

To web developers for hire at outsourcing companies, the work in augmented or dedicated teams has become their own kind of routine. They are outstandingly flexible and can fully adapt to a new project in terms of <2 weeks, which can be even further accelerated in case of an on-site visit. So, if you have a tight deadline or want your new hires to jumpstart a web project, we suggest opting for vendor cooperation.

Once you establish a business partnership with a vendor, the vendor sets up two-way communication between your new hires on their side and all project stakeholders (as well as other team members, in case of team augmentation) on your side. This communication establishes the workflow and ensures the transparency of your future collaboration.

5. Building a team

It’s important to form teams with no more than 7 members, regardless of the hiring model, to avoid friction and miscommunication. Splitting a larger group into a few smaller ones and appointing a lead to manage them is the most effective strategy.

Although communication may flow more naturally among in-house web developers, they still need proper training to become a real team of experts who respect each other’s skills and responsibilities. Some of the best ways to achieve it are hosting supervised gamified activities and letting a team test the waters by working together on a minor web project.

If you simply lack time for both gamified training and test projects, your best choice is to hire a dedicated team. The administration and team-building processes of such teams lie fully with the vendor, so you’ll be able to get a cohesive team of web experts without any time investments.

Costs of hiring web developers

The costs of hiring web developers mostly depend on the hiring model.

In-house

Team augmentation

Dedicated team

Cost structure

Investment

Onboarding

Services reimbursement

Consider ScienceSoft as Your Outsourcing Partner

With over 22 years in web development and 32 years in outsourced software development, ScienceSoft offers team augmentation and dedicated team services.

Team Augmentation

Hire experienced talent to speed up development and get rid of skill deficiency or staff shortage in your web development team. We guarantee:

  • Onboarding in under 5 business days.
  • Fast and easy scale up and down (<1 week).
  • Proactive web and cloud architects, who are open to challenges.
  • Experienced front-end, back-end and full-stack developers.

Dedicated Team

Hire a self-managed team of skilled web developers to work on your project.

We guarantee:

  • Needs analysis by our business analysts with 5-9 years of experience.
  • Project launch in 1-2 weeks.
  • Services of talented web UI designers.
  • Team management by a full-scale Project Management Office.
  • Transparency in cooperation.
About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft is a software development company and IT consultancy headquartered in McKinney, Texas. We offer web development team augmentation and dedicated web development team outsourcing, thus assisting customers in launching, accelerating or streamlining their web projects. Backed by ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certificates, we always ensure compliance with all quality and data security standards.