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What are platforms you use to find top quality freelance developers?

I've been using oDesk/Elance for years, and have found that hiring developers on that site ends up being as expensive, if not more so, than hiring a local talent at US market rates. The convenience of low-cost development is entirely outweighed by the added need to micromanage even the "5 star" rated developers due to their lack of knowledge of development best practices or often just lack of talent.

What would really be great is an online platform with a pre-vetted pool of developers such that quality/talent is not an issue and I can focus more on specs and end-user requirements. Any suggestions?

27 Replies

Jake Carlson
0
0
Jake Carlson Entrepreneur • Advisor
Software Development Manager at Oracle
Toptal etc might work for you.
Scott Orn
0
3
Scott Orn Entrepreneur
Startup CFO Consulting at Kruze Consulting
I'm biased because I'm an investor in Elance, but I really love it & Odesk. So much amazing talent out there on those sites.
Shingai Samudzi
3
0
Shingai Samudzi Entrepreneur
Founder & CEO at ProjectVision
@Scott, I don't doubt there is talent on Elance. With respect to developers on that site, though, I think the open bidding system makes it really hard for developers for put the time and energy to be passionate about their work and give it high quality attention. They make money on volume, and so the best talent is either over-booked or just constantly working and hard to connect with.

Also, due to lack of proper vetting of developer skills, you place the burden of skills assessment and recruiting onto the hiring party, who is usually a startup or SMB and lacks real expertise. A project for a mobile app might get 30 or more bids, 90% of which are copy/pasted proposals that barely address the requirements stated in the job. I don't want to have to spend hours of very limited time interviewing that many people trying to figure out who really has a skills fit and who is just bidding regardless of whether they can actually do the job.
Hai Habot
0
0
Hai Habot Entrepreneur • Advisor
Growth | Business | Marketing
I hear you, this is a common pain...

Codersclan provides a vetted community of top developers and a dedicated team that follows up on every project to make sure the work was delivered.

Toptal is a bit different but in most cases provides good results
Dan Oblinger
10
0
Dan Oblinger Entrepreneur
Founder at AnalyticsFire
Singai,

I think Toptal has a pretty high density of good people, but they will be in demand, so keeping them is tricky.

I don't agree with Scott's comment that there is "Alot" of talent, on Odesk. Indeed the vast majority on Odesk are not very good. Still you do have alot of data to work with on Odesk. if you go for the most expensive guys, lots of 5-star reviews, and you look for the very highest scores on their RubyOnRails test or such, then you can find good people. (I hired a guy that scored #2 in the o-desk world for rails, and he was very good! 'till he was snapped up by Google Brazil.) Still if you *do* find a good person on Odesk, you need to lock them up full time ASAP. otherwise someone else will do that, and the next time you ask them for work, they will be busy. These days I do not use O-desk/Elance. (I go directly to smaller firms, as you can see below). But for most of our work here is the process we use:

This is the process we just used to hiring a scary good dev in Russia:

(1) an ad on Stack Overflow, $500
(2) triage the resumes coming back (using some data entry folks in the Philippines. $4/hr)
Spreadsheet of data on 600 resumes -- plus explicit we searches, or querying the person to get all data
(3) followed by automated online programming testing (we use Codility.com) $350/mo (we just used one month)
(4) finally we code with them. (I have an 8 hour programming assignment all written up, so I can just email it. and look at the commit-logs and repo they create afterwards)
This is an optional step. we pay $30/hr for that time, so that is $240 per person.


This is an intensive approach, but it yields great people. way better than odesk, and then you own them in a way that you do not, when they connect thru odesk. (plus you are paying a chuck to odesk every month too)

===
Oh yes, and we still back fill with folks that we get at $40-$50 / hour from consulting firms in Poland or Belarus. Those firms take a cut similar to o-desk, but you are in a better position. For example we ramped up one of our projects, and added a guy from NetGuru (in Poland). The guy was just not cutting it. We made a comment or two, and then founder looked at his commits in our Code repo, and saw the issues, and pulled his hire off of our project, he did not charge us for that time spent, and then he had one of the other founders (and killer programmer) fill in, until we found our replacement. (he was not terrible, he just was not operating as a Senior dev would)

On O-desk/Elance you do not have that kind of relationship with the parent company. So even if you find a good worker there, you cannot scale that worker in a crunch, you are just getting another random worker off o-desk of unknown quality. With a smaller firm you are negotiating directly with the owner of that firm.

you can connect w. me if you want names of specific firms there.... I have a bit of experience with just a couple of them.


Cheers,
dan



Sonal Banka
0
0
Sonal Banka Advisor
Founder at TechBizCFO,Inc
I completely agree with the poor quality of freelancers available at odesk/ upwork/Elance, there is no quality control and even after spending hours there is no guarantee you will find a quality freelancer to work with. I tried these platforms and found it a complete waste of my time and since time is money, I decided to engage a development firm which is certainly expensive but I am sure they will do the work promptly and right way.


Joe Walling
0
0
Joe Walling Entrepreneur • Advisor
Experienced software developer, software architect, owner of custom software development shop
There are many good developers on Upwork (new name for Odesk). I hire many developers from that site. There are also many poor developers and those that will not put in the time or finish the project, so if you don't know what you are doing, you can lose a lot of money and find yourself with an unmaintainable product.

As mentioned by Dan, you must have a good process in place for validating them. This validation process takes time and money. Also note that the developers from some countries tend to have a better understanding of the business logic than others. While I am not going to call out any specific countries, I will say that one popular country that US companies tend to outsource software development to do a horrible job on anything complex. I have gotten some great software developers that are much more cost effective than most US based developers. Note that I still keep a mix of US and outsourced developers and prefer working with the US developers, but I can't always fit them into the budget.

One of the ways I make my money is by being able to find these awesome developers at a good cost. If it were as easy as putting up a bid on a job site and picking a developer, I wouldn't be able to stay in business as a US development shop; but since most attempts at off shoring fail, I manage to do well.

If you want some tips, PM me and I'll be glad to send them your way.

Best Regards,
Joe
Joe Walling
1
0
Joe Walling Entrepreneur • Advisor
Experienced software developer, software architect, owner of custom software development shop

Since I have had requests for more info, I dug up a book I was working on that covers this topic. It is not complete but should cover this question well. If you download and read it, I would really love feedback and any questions that I should be answering in the book but am not. Or, if you disagree with my approach, I always love hearing other point of view.

You can download it from http://wallingis.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/SoftwareSuccessSecrets.pdf. If you are only interested in this portion, jump to page 21.

Some day I hope to complete the book, but the paying work always seems to take priority.

Best Regards,
Joe

Sonal Banka
2
0
Sonal Banka Advisor
Founder at TechBizCFO,Inc
@Joe, Just finished up reading you book, Please complete and publish it for the benefit of all non-technical people like me out there.
Ken Queen
0
0
Ken Queen Entrepreneur
Income For Baby Boomers
I think one of the best places for hiring and I have used the other ones mentioned ishttp://www.onlinejobs.ph/

It's a Philippines website and it's the world's 3rd largest English speaking Country.
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