Outsourcing software development is an excellent solution for companies looking to expand their business into digital products and services and for companies looking to scale existing in-house development teams.
Whether there are concerns over developer quality, communication challenges, or the possibility of IP theft, it pays to approach the developer hiring process with great diligence. If you’re wondering how to find the right solution for your business in a way that minimizes these risks, it's a good idea to check out Developers For Hire so you can get personalized results and find the right developers to take on your project.
Even without the specific risks mentioned above, finding skilled web developers is always a challenge due to the strong demand for skilled software developers worldwide.
That's why we've also provided you with a comprehensive list of marketplaces and agencies that will help you find outsourced software developers based on your project needs, timeframe, and budget. You can also read our guide on everything you need to know about outsourcing software development.
Here are the top 15 solutions for hiring outsourced software developers and outsourced software development companies:
Best Talent Marketplaces For Outsourcing Software Development
Compared to hiring a full team via an agency, hiring software developers from a talent marketplace offers the best value proposition for most companies. Talent marketplaces offer you the ability to flexibly staff up-and-down, remove a layer of project management that can add significant cost, and better integrate the external developers into your core team.
Below, we’ll explore the top talent marketplaces for hiring outsourced software developers before taking a look at development agencies.
Toptal is one of the oldest talent marketplaces for software developers (operating since 2010) and is the gold standard for hiring remote software developers. Toptal prides itself on screening for the top 3% of development talent worldwide, including many developers based overseas. Given many of these developers are both based internationally and set their own rates, you can find excellent value when hiring via Toptal without sacrificing on quality.
Toptal will work hand-in-hand with you to find the right talent for your project. If you’re looking for additional project support, Toptal’s staff can pair you with project managers, product managers, designers, and finance experts to complement the developer talent you’ll find in their network. While offering better value than some of the other options listed, the strong customer support and top quality of developers will place hiring via Toptal at the higher end of budget ranges.
- Top 3% of development talent
- Responsive talent matchers
- Strong customer support
Gun.io finds, vets, and staffs engineering talent on technical teams around the world. The service lets you hire full-time, part-time, for a “quick project” (where the team starts and finishes a single project), or “freelance-to-hire,” where you work with a freelancer on a temporary basis with an option to hire later on.
The company sets out to offer the best technical talent in the U.S. with 90% of engineers based in the States. While helpful from a communication standpoint, unfortunately this also means you’ll lose out on the cost benefits of outsourcing to overseas developers. There have also been complaints over added layers of project management when hiring via Gun.io, which further contributes to higher costs compared to other options without a huge value-add.
- Freelance to hire
- Primarily U.S.-based engineers
Upwork is the largest talent marketplace on the web, offering seemingly endless professionals ranging from software developers to freelance content writers to accountants and more. This shotgun approach to hiring means you’ll be able to find nearly anyone on the platform often at budget rates, although controlling for quality may become a tedious task. If you have the time and technical experience to thoroughly vet candidates on your own, Upwork can be a great solution to finding quality talent cheaply; if you’re more time-constrained or less experienced working with developers, it may be worth it to pay for a more curated hiring process. Upwork allows you to hire software developers on a short-term, recurring, or full-time basis.
- Largest talent marketplace
- Wide range of talent
Gigster is an invitation-only network of developers, project managers, and designers with credentials ranging from Olympiad winners to literal rocket scientists.
The bulk of Gigster's network is in Silicon Valley (70% is U.S.-based), which will result in higher costs compared to options with a more diverse set of developers. Criticism of the company’s sales team suggests that the client base isn’t as robust as that of other marketplaces, which may make the platform a less-than-appealing destination for truly top developers.
- Invitation-only network
- Silicon Valley connections
Hired is a tech-focused freelance marketplace that features candidates in 50+ roles ranging from software engineering to DevOps to data analytics in 14 cities worldwide. With strong reviews and a speedy time-to-hire (Hired promises you’ll have your developer up-and-running within 25 days of beginning their process), Hired is a solid option for companies looking to hire quality tech talent quickly.It’s worth noting that, unlike many of the other marketplaces on this list, the Hired talent does not work remotely. This means that the service is only available to companies located in select cities, and that you’ll miss out on cost savings and quality benefits that come from hiring developers out of less competitive job markets.
- Tech-focused platform
- Select cities
Ask any developer and you’ll hear that Stack Overflow is one of the most important resources to developers online, with its software engineering-focused questions-and-answers touching on nearly every topic in computer programming. Off of this brand recognition, the company launched a talent marketplace for employers to search for their next engineering hire. Their job board allows for access to developers from all over the world, leveraging machine learning to put your job in front of developers with relevant skills.
While this platform offers access to excellent development talent, it’s extremely hands-off relative to the other options here–there’s no staff to guide you through the hiring process, making it absolutely necessary for your hiring manager to understand the ins and outs of screening, hiring, and managing remote developers.
- Q&A library
- Job board
Freelancer allows you to post a job you need completed and receive competitive bids from freelancers within minutes. The open platform allows you to browse samples of applicant’s work and read their profile reviews.
While this transparency is commendable, talent screening is minimal so you’ll end up spending a lot of time sorting through candidates who may not be great fits. That said, this is a decent option for companies with a minimal budget and excess time on their hands.
- Lots of options
- Variety of skill levels
Best Full-Service Outsourced Software Development Agencies
While many of the talent marketplaces like Toptal and Gun.io permit you to higher full teams of developers, perhaps you’d rather have the development process handled completely externally with as little internal oversight as possible. This path permits your company’s full-time employees to maintain focus on more central business objectives with the drawback that this will typically cost more than hiring your development team à la carte. If this makes sense for your company’s goals, check out some of the full-service software development agencies listed below.
- End-to-end development
- Multiple programming languages
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Appventurez is a Delhi-based development firm focused on end-to-end design and development for both web and mobile. The company boasts 139+ applications across multiple domains along with supplementary services such as business analysis, UX and UI design, quality assurance, testing, and project management. Expect projects to begin around $5,000 USD.
- Value-based option
- 130+ projects completed
Theodo is a New York, Paris, and London-based agile software development company focused on rapid development of web and mobile software. The firm’s 200+ developers have served clients ranging from McKinsey to Harvard Medical School and are proficient in languages including React, React native, Node.js, Python Django, and D3.js for Data Visualization. While the firm’s credentials are impeccable, expect to pay top dollar for these services.
- Rapid development
- Top credentials
Jelvix is a Ukraine-based custom software development firm that specializes in digital transformation and software innovation. Founded in 2011, Jelvix goes above-and-beyond the normal scope of development agencies by offering business process analysis along with full-cycle quality assurance and technical support. As their focus is on enterprise clients, projects begin around $50,000 and go up from there.
- Ukraine-based company
- Enterprise focus
Bitbean is a New Jersey, U.S.-based custom software development agency that offers software consulting, product strategy, UX design, software/web development, and enterprise software solutions. Bitbean has successfully completed projects with enterprise clients such as Walmart, CVS, and United. If you want to check out some of their work, the agency offers case studies through their site.
- Enterprise clients
- Software consulting
With 12+ years of experience in IT, IndiaNIC is a India- and U.S.-based development company focused on mobile app development, web development, UX/UI design, mobile games, VR apps, IOT solutions, and wearable tech. The firm has experience working with smaller startups to enterprise clients; a select number of previous clients can be found on their site. With strong reviews, IndiaNIC could be a good option for companies looking for an end-to-end development solution.
- U.S. and India
- Startups to enterprise clients
Tkxel is a U.S.-based firm founded in 2008 that serves enterprise, growth companies, and startups across a variety of specialties including (but not limited to) app development, devops, Salesforce solutions, and data science. Check out the company’s Success Stories for a glimpse at how they’ve plugged into drive value for previous clients. Expect projects to begin around $10,000 USD.
Infinite Open Source Solutions (IOSS) is a development firm with offices in India, Italy, and Germany that focuses on mobile app development, blockchain app development, cryptocurrencies, and CMS development, among other areas. With 50+ highly skilled IT experts, the IOSS development team has received positive feedback for their speed of execution and cost effectiveness.
- Global presence
- Fast and efficient
What To Remember When Outsourcing Software Development
Choosing the right place to outsource and hire from depends on a variety of factors, chiefly hiring budget and execution timeline. You’ll want to make sure that the developers or development agency has experience in the specific project that you’re seeking out, whether that’s a mobile app or a digital transformation, and you’ll want to make sure the developers are well-versed in the language that any existing code has been written in.
Prior to engaging any services, it’s worth checking out reviews online from sources like Trustpilot, Glassdoor, or any relevant industry publications. Things to keep an eye out for include the number of years of experience of the developers and, in the case where you’re evaluating an agency, the founding year (the longer the agency has been around, the more trustworthy they are).
If you don’t know where to start, check out Developers For Hire's quick questionnaire that will walk you through the process of finding outsourced software developers.
Ultimately, which company you outsource to depends on a multitude of factors, such as:
- How quickly you need to complete your development project
- How much experience you have hiring and managing developers
- Whether or not you're equipped to test technical skills
- The number of developers you need to bring on
- Whether or not you're open to remote workers
- What your budget constraints are
- How important quality is to your project(s)