When Should I Hire An In-House Web Developer?

It’s a question faced by almost every startup founder: Do I need to hire an in-house web developer (i.e., a programmer)?

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But just because it’s hard to find a web developer doesn’t mean you should settle for anything less than a perfect match for your startup.

The trick is finding someone more motivated to build an excellent product and grow something from the ground up than reach for the salary and stability of larger corporations. Keep these three ideas in mind when evaluating potential web developers for hire:


  1. Look for a well-rounded web development skill set. An in-house developer or team must have all the skills needed to develop your product. A great in-house team should understand not only the primary code base for the product you’re developing, but also how other technologies interact with your product. This peripheral view of the technology landscape is important for effective development.
  2. Evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Ask your potential hire specific questions: Can you set and meet your own deadlines? Do you prefer to work alone or with a team? Do you specialize in front-end or back-end development? What’s your competency level with both? Make sure you’re getting someone who not only has the skills you need for your project, but also complements and balances individuals that are already part of your team.
  3. Prioritize creative vision. Tech-minded people tend to think analytically, and as employers, we often focus on technical skills. But you should look for someone who also has a creative vision. At the end of the day, someone who balances technical needs with business drivers will be able to create a superior product.

Before you begin interviewing candidates, look inward at your company. Understanding where your project lives in the market, in the technology space and in general will further define your needs and bring clarity to your best development option. Once you know what you need and what you can afford, you can make the decision to hire in-house and evaluate qualified developers.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Alex Friedman is the co-founder and president of Ruckus, a full-service agency, tech partner and accelerator that is devoted to helping businesses grow. At Ruckus, Alex has been at the forefront of developing technology for nearly a decade, advising entrepreneurs and growing brands and Fortune clients alike. Connect with @alexruckusny on Twitter.

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