How to hire software engineers
Whether your goal is to develop a mobile app, build a dynamic SPA (single-page application), or create a domain-specific language (DSL) for your enterprise software, a software engineer can help you take your software project from conception to completion.
So how do you find the right software engineer for your needs? What follows are some tips for finding top software engineering consultants on Upwork.
How to shortlist software engineering professionals
As you’re browsing available software engineering consultants, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the freelancers you may want to interview. You can screen profiles on criteria such as:
- Technology fit. You want a software engineer who understands what you are trying to build and which languages, frameworks, and other technologies are required.
- Developer workflow. You want an engineer who can slide right into your developer workflow (e.g., project management tools, test suites, version control systems).
- Feedback. Check reviews from past clients for glowing testimonials or red flags that can tell you what it’s like to work with a particular software engineer.
How to write an effective software engineering job post
With a clear picture of your ideal software engineer in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
Job post title
Create a simple title that describes exactly what you’re looking for. The idea is to target the keywords that your ideal candidate is likely to type into a job search bar to find your project. Here are some sample software engineering job post titles:
- Software engineer needed for a fintech app
- Seeking full-stack software engineer (LAMP)
- Software engineer needed with DevOps and Agile/Scrum experience
Software engineer project description
An effective software engineering job post should include:
- Scope of work: From progress reports to well-documented code, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience working with certain industries, software, or technologies, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Software engineer job responsibilities
Here are some examples of software engineer job responsibilities:
- Manage the software development life cycle (SDLC) of a product
- Design and develop software test suites
- Monitor system performance
- Optimize development and deployment processes
Software engineer requirements and qualifications
Be sure to include any requirements and qualifications you’re looking for in a software engineer. Here are some examples:
- Application-specific programming language (e.g., Java for Android development)
- Programming paradigms (e.g., object-oriented design)
- Software development methodologies (e.g., Agile, Scrum, XP)
- Familiarity with the SDLC (from requirements gathering to deployment and maintenance)
- Code documentation
Software Engineer FAQs
What is software engineering?
Software engineering is the application of engineering principles to software development. Ever wonder what the difference is between a software engineer and a software developer? The software engineer is a software developer who also uses engineering principles to carry your software project through the software development life cycle. Software engineering consultants help businesses build well-documented, powerful software.
Software Engineering Tips and Best Practices
Don’t repeat yourself; automate
According to the DRY principle, “Every piece of knowledge or logic must have a single, unambiguous representation within a system.” In other words, if you find yourself repeating the same piece of code over and over again, chances are high that you could refactor it into more-efficient code.
It turns out that the DRY principle can also be expanded beyond the code to the entire SDLC. If there’s something you find yourself doing repetitively, such as configuring your cloud resources, there’s a good chance that it’s worth investing a little extra time in automation tools to make your life easier (e.g., automating server provisioning with Ansible playbooks).
Consider DevOps—it’s more than a buzzword
With the way hiring managers and marketers throw the term around, you’d be forgiven for thinking DevOps was just a buzzword. But DevOps is more than a buzzword; it’s a culture in which the lines between the traditional roles of software development and operations (system/network/database admins) are blurred to achieve continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). In practice, that means using the right combination of automation tools for your project to enable teams of developers and operations staff to collaborate more effectively. It’s not something you can achieve overnight, but taking small steps such as using a remote code repository such as GitHub or automating the more tedious aspects of your server provisioning with Chef can go a long way toward making your life easier.
Test smart and test often
Encourage unit tests during development and regression testing before deployment. A well-documented test suite that grows with your application will ensure you’re able to update and maintain your application with minimal downtime and disruptions. It’s better to catch code-breaking changes before you push a build to production.
Consider adopting TDD (test-driven development), an Agile development methodology that involves writing code iteratively in three steps:
- Red: Write a test for a software feature that fails
- Green: Write the minimum code needed to pass the test
- Refactor: Rewrite your passing code to best practices
Not only will TDD help you maximize your test coverage, but it will also encourage your development team to write well-documented, modular, reusable code.