Can’t program? Where to find the best talent?

The other day on of our readers Joey sent us an interesting email, about an issue he is facing taking his idea to the next level. As this is a frequent question, we thought we’d share it here.

Joey wrote:

I am a young entrepreneur, and I stumbled across this site today.
You have a great thing going on here.
I have a question, simple to ask maybe more difficult to answer.
I have a lot of my layout done in the physical realm. I’m an idea person. I
play music and I’m busy savvy.

Where do most of these website start-ups find their programmers?
Its hard to believe the idea people themselves are all computer-savvy.

I’m very passionate, full of enthusiasm, and have a partner who is an amazing
computer person. She’s very busy though right now,
so I need to find trustworthy and passionate programmers to work with me as

An answer would mean the world to me!
Thank you for this website ;),

There are many stumbling blocks to starting a web projects, and unless you come from a technical background you will need to either find partners for a joint venture, or look to hire a freelancer or agency to build your website or project (you can also buy a few books and start learning, but we’ll focus on some practical approaches for the time poor).

Finding a joint venture partner is an ideal way to minimize your risk, and is an excellent way to get your project kick started. The best place to get started is in your group of friends, work colleagues, or by checking out the forums available for your topic.

In a joint venture partnership, each member can focus on their core speciality, and because you will be sharing revenues there is an incentive for all parties involved to contribute. The advantage here is that you won’t have to invest in web development, design, SEO, marketing, PR which means you could launch a project much sooner, and at lower cost than if you were flying solo.

Another popular option available is to hire a freelancer. You can either hire a local professional by placing an ad in a local paper, or you can use websites such as Elance.com, gumtree.com, or sitepoint.com. Look out for design contests, and users with a high post count or recommendations.

You can also attract some great talent by targeting your local colleges and universities, students are always on the lookout for after study work, or work experience to pad out their CV’s.

There are many skilled professionals specialising in every area, which you can hire on a hourly or project basis which can provide you with some great work at low cost. Elance is a great starting point, as you can review each provider’s CV, and view feedback from previous projects.
Make sure you consider the provider’s expertise, the feedback received, as well as the location where the provider is from. Also, be prepared to spend more time micro managing, and reviewing when dealing with non English natives, or bargain basement quotes!

Another option available is to use an agency, although this is usually a more expensive option, agencies can provide many additional skills to the table, and their experience can prove beneficial for growing your Start-up. Alas not all agencies are born equal, so make sure you always ask for references from happy customers.

One Response to “Can’t program? Where to find the best talent?”

  • Andy Wright:
    March 15th, 2009
    3:26 pm

    This is a must read article on “How to recognise a good programmer” http://bit.ly/1s29po this blog also has several other really insightful articles.

    The budget you have available will have a huge impact on which options are realistic. Personally I would steer clear of outsourcing — as this can be very risky if you are not technically minded, and fairly risky if you are IMHO.

    You didn’t mention what language you’re developing in, so it’s difficult to recommend specific sites. I would recommend posting this question on http://stackoverflow.com/ but provide more detail about the specific skills you require.

    I’d say the single most important thing you need from your team is passion!

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