How to hire freelance Software Engineers in 2024

Updated on May 23, 2024
Platforms to find talented Software Engineers

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Kelly Wilson
Written by Kelly Wilson

Strategist and entrepreneur, with experience in hiring developers across various industries. Kelly has established herself as a trusted expert in identifying and recruiting top tech talent. She shares advanced tips on how to identify the right talent, create hiring strategies, develop your tech teams and much more.

Expertise: IT Recruiting, Tech, Marketing

Hiring skilled software engineers is essential for successful software development. Our comprehensive hiring guide provides valuable insights, tips, and a step-by-step approach to find and evaluate experienced software engineers. Explore top talent platforms, learn how to assess technical proficiency, and evaluate candidates' project experience. With our guide, you'll simplify the hiring process and find the perfect software engineering talent to drive your projects forward.

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Here are the top 5 sites to hire freelance Software Engineers:

Based on facts publicly available as of 01.01.2024

1. Toptal

Toptal is a leading name for top talents in the software development niche. Each talent undergoes a thorough screening process, which ensures high-caliber developers.

Only 3% of potential candidates make it to the Toptal final roster of developers. Freelancers pass various language skills, reviews, live screening, and test projects, which are more involved than the vetting processes of other platforms.

Connecting with world-class talents on Toptal can take less than 48 hours. Benefits include a flexible and scalable service with no strings attached. Reaching out to their tech industry experts gives you direct contact with a personalized freelancer with a 98% trial-to-hire success rate.

Key points:

  • Enjoy a risk-free trial for up to 5 days.
  • Completed over 60,000 projects for 25K+ satisfied clients.
  • Trustpilot rating of 4.8 out of 5.

2. X-Team

X-Team is another great website where you can hire a software developer or software engineer. They vet their candidates to ensure they have the right skill set before they’re made available on the site.

X-Team also supports its developers, funds their learning and growth, and gives them a remote environment that inspires and motivates them daily.

They’ve worked with some of the big brands such as Riot Games, Fox Broadcasting, Kaplan Inc., Coinbase, Google, Twitter, Beachbody and more.

Key points:

  • X-Team only handles contracts lasting 90 days or more.
  • Your dedicated account manager will assist you with any issues.
  • On-demand scaling optimizes your team’s makeup as needs change.

3. Gun.io

The primary focus of Gun.io is to help you hire the right software developer for your team. All the applicants at Gun.io are thoroughly vetted, verified, and ready to go.

Hiring a software developer or engineer from the website is a simple process. Register your account as an employer, set your project’s time scale between 1 month to 1 year, decide on a rate, and the team will send you candidates.

Key points:

  • Nashville-based Gun.io matches you with qualified global engineers.
  • Clients typically begin interviewing in five days and hiring in 14.
  • Hire engineers for a few hours monthly or 40 hours/week.

4. Hired

Hired works on similar principles as the other websites wherein the candidates get vetted before they can join the website. However, the platform offers further assessments for you to find the best software engineer even if you don’t know much about the industry.

Finding talent here is easy--you set your requirements, geographical location, language and experience level, and Hired’s algorithm will find the candidates for you. The whole process can take up to 25 days.

Hired is great for hiring a more permanent resource. If you’re looking for freelance software engineers who can be a part of your team for the long term, then Toptal and Gun.io are great options.

Key points:

  • Receive numerous benefits by choosing the annual unlimited subscription.
  • Source your own candidates or use Hired’s talent-matching option.
  • View each engineer’s skill assessment scores and work preferences.

5. Fiverr Pro

While Fiverr offers gigs for as little as $5, Fiverr Pro sets it up a few notches. Every software engineer on Fiverr Pro is thoroughly vetted and verified to ensure they deliver top-quality work.

Only freelancers with the highest feedback scores are allowed to join the Fiverr Pro program ensuring you get the cream of the crop.

Unlike Toptal and Gun.io, where you share the details of the job and the freelancers pitch to you. Therefore, it is important that you write a detailed job description to find the best software developer. It’s a little more work for you but still delivers quality freelancers.

Key points:

  • Fiverr Pro can match talent or you can source candidates.
  • Thorough vetting includes communication and technical skills, high-quality work, and client satisfaction ratings.
  • Access the Business Success Team for customer service needs.

Guide to hiring great freelance Software Engineers

Guide to hire software engineers

Software engineering is a rapidly growing field of development, and the demand for great software engineers is on the rise. With the right resources, finding talented freelancers can be an efficient way of augmenting your team quickly and with minimal investment.

Whether you’re an experienced hiring manager or just starting out, hiring freelance software engineers can be a fruitful endeavor if done correctly. Here's a guide on how to find trustworthy and skilled software engineers that can help bring your product ideas to reality.

What Is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is the application of engineering principles and practices to the design, development, and maintenance of software systems. It involves the process of developing computer software systems to meet specific needs. It includes activities such as analyzing user requirements, designing and coding software solutions, testing and validating these solutions, and maintaining existing applications. Software engineers also develop programs to increase system functionality, reliability, usability, maintainability and scalability for customers.

What Are Software Engineers and What Do They Do?

A software engineer is a programmer who is responsible for designing, testing, and evaluating software. They use their knowledge of computer programming to solve complex problems and create applications that meet the needs of businesses and their customers. Software engineers need to be proficient in multiple programming languages, know how to work with databases, understand user interface design principles, and have strong analytical problem-solving skills.

The programming languages depend on the industry they are working in and the software they are developing. However, the most common languages are:

  • SQL
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft C#
  • Git
  • DevOps
  • Java
  • Python
  • Linux
  • Oracle
  • HTML

Software engineers today are some of the most vital people in the economy. Tech hiring continues to gain momentum in the U.S. with software developers and engineers accounting for about a third of job postings.

The technology, telecommunications, and media industries will face a talent shortage by 2030. Besides, hiring an in-house engineers for short-term projects may be too expensive for you.

One solution to overcome the tech talent shortage is to find and hire freelance software engineers.

Top coding languages by industry

Depending on your industry, you likely want to find a software engineer who has mastered the corresponding programming language in this chart.

IndustryProgramming Language
IT & Cloud-Based SolutionsSQL

Software Engineers vs Software Developers

Event that often times, these two roles seem to be used interchangeably, it's important to know that there is difference between a software developer and engineer.

The main difference between a software developer and software engineer is in the scope of work that each performs. A software developer is someone who writes and tests code to create programs, while a software engineer designs large-scale systems. Software engineers have more responsibilities such as creating frameworks and architectures, designing algorithms, conducting system performance evaluations, creating specifications for systems, and providing advice on security measures.

When Should I Hire a Dedicated Software Engineer?

A company should hire a software engineer when it wants to develop new software projects or improve existing products. A software engineer will be responsible for researching, designing, coding and testing the application. They can help take your company to the next level, by building new features and taking on challenges that may require creative problem solving.

An expert software engineer can help you in the following ways:

  • Improve your existing product or service
  • Develop new features
  • Automating your processes and workflows to reduce costs
  • Increasing employee productivity and satisfaction
  • Increase your options for serving customers better
  • Enhancing security to reassure clients, employees, and partners

What Skills to Look for When Hiring a Software Engineer

What Skills to Look for When Hiring a Software Engineer

It's not only about coding skills. Software engineer candidates should be able to understand business goals and how they translate into technical requirements. He/she must also have soft skills such as strong problem solving skills, be comfortable working independently, and be able to work well under pressure. Additionally, during the interview process they should demonstrate excellent communication skills, be flexible, creative, and organized, and be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously. Some technical or engineering skills you need to include in your job description are:

  • Experience with web development languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript).
  • Experience with application frameworks (e.g., AngularJS, ReactJS).
  • Knowledge of database technologies (SQL, NoSQL).
  • Familiarity with cloud services (AWS, Azure) is also helpful.

How to Recruit and Hire Great Software Engineers

Are you looking to hire a software specialist who can help take your business forward? If so, try one of the following three options: full-time, part-time and freelance. A lot of businesses hire contractors because they are often cheaper than full-time employees. They also offer greater flexibility and don't require benefits or an office space.

How to Succeed at Onboarding Your Software Engineer?

Here are some onboarding techniques for your remote development team to promote a sense of camaraderie, improve performance, and reduce turnover:

  • Use remote-access software—Solutions such as documented platforms, conference agenda services, and video codecs can help the freelancer seamlessly engage in practical business activities.

  • Quick messaging services—Quick messaging technologies can help improve office communication and productivity. A communication strategy is critical for creating a collaborative environment.

  • Allow flexible working—Flexible work schedules and temporal zones will help promote professional habits, improve growth performance, and make freelancers more content.

  • Plan regular video calls—Teleconferencing will help resolve many issues with supervising your remote engineering team. Video calls encourage interaction, ensure business objectives are clear, and help get the freelancer’s opinions when getting feedback.

  • Clarify project scope—Set up specific expectations for clean-cut communication. The objectives will help you focus on what the freelancer achieves versus how long it takes them to accomplish the same.

  • Provide resources and support—Assign a coach to guide new team members from their first task and to check in regularly. Provide links to templates, tools, and systems they may require during the onboarding process.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Software Engineer?

Junior software engineering role earns an average annual salary of $65,000 by November 2022, mid-level experts with five to nine years of experience earn over $85,000, and senior ones $100,000.

According to a BLS report the annual wage for software engineers is $105,071. However, the salaries depend on education, experience, industry, and location. The more experience the talent can demonstrate, the more competitive salary they can request.

Tips for Writing a Software Engineer Job Description

A solid job description helps you hire software engineers who deliver value to your company. Consider finding a detailed hiring template that fits your industry.

Begin your description by outlining the project you are hiring for and its scope. Express the goals and projected deadlines. Then, go into applicable experience, skills, or certifications.

Share how your team communicates and collaborates. Clearly mention if most of your correspondence occurs during the business hours of a certain time zone.

Also, some freelancers thrive with lots of team meetings and interaction. Others do their best work with detailed written instructions and less frequent check-ins. Provide insight into your team’s communication style and expectations.

It is also helpful to provide a peek into the team’s general culture and personality. Such details are an easy way to weed out those who would not be a good match.

Finally, be transparent about your budget and payment terms. This includes any performance bonuses you offer. However, just give a simple breakdown in your software engineer job description. You can discuss them in more detail during the in-person interview.

Common Interview Questions To Ask When You Are Looking To Hire a Software Engineer

Well-thought-out questions help you hire software programmers and engineers who are a good match. The interview should go beyond the basics about certifications and experience. You learn these details from a resume and the applicant’s portfolio.

Use this time to determine a compatible culture match and learn the individual’s working style. The following questions are ones we find to be effective:

  1. “How do you ensure that your code is reliable and high-quality?” You can get a realistic idea of how the candidate tests and reviews code, as well as how they document that for your team.

  2. “Can you walk me through how you overcame the technical challenges you faced on a recent project?” Discover the applicant’s problem-solving skills and their approach to challenging situations.

  3. “From your standpoint, what are the most important considerations when designing scalable software applications?” Find out how the individual factors in the need for software to be able to accommodate your organization’s future growth.

  4. “Please share a time you had to compensate for an unforeseen emergency and how you minimized any problems.” This question can provide an even deeper look into how organized and adaptable the candidate is.

  5. “How would you explain [mention a complex coding subject] to stakeholders or team members who have little technical knowledge?” Find out how well the software engineer can express complex concepts to the team and get buy-in on important requests.

These questions are only a starting point when you are ready to find a software engineer. Ask others what questions they find to be successful in singling out the top candidates.

Of course, if you want to simplify the process, work with a company that does the bulk of vetting for you. For example, Toptal makes hiring easier by carefully vetting applicants with behavioral assessments and only allowing the top 3% onto their platform.

Where to Find Software Engineers For Hire?

In today’s day and age, the need for software developers and engineers is high because it is impossible to build a long-term successful brand without a great online presence. Hiring process can be frustrating but not being able to find the best talent can cost you valuable resources.

Assessing whether someone is good for your project or is he thoroughly vetted is a lot of work that takes up time that can be better used somewhere else. This is why there are websites and platforms that can help ease your hiring process.

Finding a great software expert shouldn’t be as difficult as finding a needle in a haystack. There are great matching services such as Toptal that take care of the initial work of interviewing and vetting the candidates. Depending on your needs, they recommend the top software engineer making your hiring process a breeze.

Dedicated and qualified talent spend a lot of their time on sites such as these to hone their skills so their talents can be a great use to your company.

You can also consider going for more general marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr if you want to save costs but invest more time finding, vetting, interviewing potential hires.

Ultimately, your choice will depend on multiple factors such as:

  • How quickly do you need to hire an engineer
  • What kind of experience and qualification should they have
  • Whether you’re qualified enough to assess their skills
  • How important is quality to you
  • Whether you’re looking for local or remote workers

The best sites to hire freelance software engineers above and tips for picking the ideal candidate will help you locate talented programmers that meet your business or project requirements.

Hiring Software Engineers FAQs

Are Software Engineers in Demand?
Rapid technological advancements and the world’s migration to digital solutions mean talented software engineers are in high demand. These individuals have specialized knowledge and business acumen that can help companies remain relevant, reduce expenses, and increase brand awareness and profits.
Why Should You Hire a Software Engineer?
While software developers typically work on individual software programs, a software engineer’s scope of responsibility is more in-depth. Software engineers create a customized, comprehensive structure for complex software systems for large companies. A competent software engineer evaluates your problems and requirements to design, develop, and implement software solutions. Their intricate systems can facilitate your enterprise’s many functions cohesively. Software engineers can add value to your organization by:
  • Developing new features
  • Improving your current systems and offerings
  • Automating workflows
  • Enhancing security
For creative, effective solutions to your multiple challenges, consider hiring a software engineer.
How Do I Hire Software Engineers?
You may choose to hire a part-time, full-time, or freelance software engineer. Hiring a qualified freelancer can save money on associated payroll costs and overhead. Software engineers should possess in-depth knowledge of the following:
  • Planning software development
  • Software development life cycle
  • Integration and compatibility with existing systems
  • Systems-level problem-solving skills
  • Multiple programming languages
After determining your budget, timeline, expectations, and the scope of your project, you can either create a job post or search for candidates using top sites. If you choose a remote engineer, ensure you have an effective communication structure in place.
Where can I find freelance Software engineer developers?
Some of the best platforms to hire are:
  • Toptal
  • X-Team
  • Gun.io
  • Fiverr
  • Hired

See the complete list of sites to hire Software engineer developers.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Software Engineer?
If you plan to hire a software engineer, average annual salaries range from $52,500 to $205,000. The national U.S. average is $139,952 per year, equaling $67 per hour. Factors including years of experience, skill levels, and location help determine reasonable compensation amounts.
What is software engineering?
Software engineering is the process of developing, designing, deploying and maintaining software applications. It involves design principles, tools, techniques and methods that are employed in the development cycle of software applications. Software engineers work on a variety of tasks such as analysis, design, testing and maintenance in order to deliver perfect software solutions. They use various programming languages, databases, operating systems and other technologies.

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