IT Strategy

How Startups Can Hire and Retain Best Software Developers

As a startup owner (no matter what your background is), you should be well aware that today’s competition is tough and lingering with product launch to the mass market can kill your company. But you also understand the risks of introducing a buggy and poorly developed software product, don’t you? Therefore, you tend to build a dream team of senior developers to create a truly disruptive and flawless solution. And that is where the main failure factor actually underlies: you hire “rockstar” developers for USD $100K per annum each who require a 4-day working week, conference budgets and paid vacation each three months, and who don’t care about your product vision and will drop you off with no regrets once they receive an offer from Google or Facebook.

But do you know that:

  • Paying through the nose for tech resources will eventually shrink your development budget and leave you no room for business development and appropriate product marketing?
  • High employee turnover will result in huge overheads related to staff replacement, delays in meeting milestones and delivery?
Do you have challenge finding senior software developers within home country?

Some experts such as Avi Flombaum from The Flatiron School in New York (that offers intensive Ruby on Rails learning program) suggest that startups stop hunting for “ninja-rockstar” programmers and hire junior software developers instead. While it may be a good solution for startups with very basic software development needs, it can be a real project killer in case of a complex software solution aimed at different screens and suggesting frequent features and functionality upgrades, and fast response to volatile business and market conditions.

Read about software development company in Chicago.

Complex software projects require senior skills to make sure end users will get a beta product with minimum errors and inconsistencies. So, having at least business critical tasks assigned to experienced programmers is a must for innovative startups that want to live long.

Even if we assume you have enough assets to afford few really good senior IT guys for your software development team, you may, however, face another big issue - not so many senior guys will be eager to join your team! Let’s face reality - senior guys prefer to work for big companies! Period.

Although stability, salary and perks that no startup can offer are important factors attracting experienced software engineers in big companies, what they value even more is an ability to work in a big team with other senior guys. It offers good opportunities for ongoing on-job learning, professional networking and knowledge exchange in real time. So, a senior software developer for hire can become part of a corporate diaspora and get endless options for self-development such as visiting and speaking at local and global IT conferences and seminars, attending workshops with the industry gurus, and many more.

Also, when working in large companies, software developers have time to reflect. Since startups live in a very hectic and fast-paced environment, it may feel your whole lifetime is squeezed in every single day. Since big companies usually move in a slower and more consensual way with no or minimum risk taking, developers are more laid back and less subjected to occupational stress and burnout.

However, as a startup, you still have some good possibilities to attract and hire quality IT talent while simplifying recruitment process and minimizing turnover risks. Want to know how? Please check out our new Essential Guide: 10 Steps for Startups to Attract and Retain Best Software Developers.

And what's your step #11?

Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals.