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Here is the issue. I am a senior developer, and one of the start-ups I designed the system (management system/database/web) a long time ago, have grown and need software updates.

I have left their system to another developer long time ago, but apparently he has left the job, and so they are asking me if I can suggest them where to find a new one.

The problem is that the company has no clue that the IT is not cheap. They expect multiple features to be added for 40$, so that's an issue. Actually one of the reasons why I left the project when I did. Lots of expectations, little pay, also I know those people outside work, so I decided to avoided stressing the nonwork-relationships and left the project gracefully.

Today they asked me for an advice, and I told them that the feature list they want is probably going to cost some if they'll get a senior developer for the job. So I guess their best bet is to find someone who loves coding and has just finished the school. Which would give someone a chance to code for money which is good for a student, and at the same time, allow the student to get some hands on experience.

Then again, the system is not exactly 20 line console program, there is an MSSQL database, ASP.NET web page and content management system with all the AJAX stuff and some other things. So student straight out of school could have some problems with that.

But, I thought about the issue some more, and I think that junior developer is a tricky deal, without mentoring, he can either screw up royally, or just do what's asked.

Also, it seems no one is coming to interviews at all, which is weird, or maybe not.

What should I suggest them?

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Is that $40, or $40/hour? You can't get a serviceman to your house for less than $100 –  kevin cline Jun 18 '11 at 23:58
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3 Answers 3

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They must understand that they are paying for quality. Either they are ready to spend thousands of dollars for a C# expert who may do the work correctly, or they would pay less but they must not expect too much quality.

I don't like your idea to suggest a person who just ended his studies. Two reasons for that:

  • A person without an important experience in software development may be able to make a good software product from scratch if he's very motivated and has a good level in development. But things are very different when it comes to modifying an existing product, especially if this product is not very easy to maintain. There would be lots of things a student will not understand, or do the wrong way, etc.

  • What does it bring to the student to work on such project except money? If I were a student, I would rather work for free for a prestigious company when I will learn how to do things correctly, instead of spending weeks or months maintaining an old (and maybe crappy) project.

So explain them the relation between cost - speed - quality, and let them choose two. If they choose cost over quality, you can't do anything. If they're glad, they will have what they expect. If not, the developer they'll hire will destroy the whole project.

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Hiring experts the only way to accomplish the entire project well. Not competent developers (usuallly low-cost ones) might be used for simple tasks delegated to them to free some experts' time to more complex assignments. –  Dmitry Pavlov Jul 9 '13 at 14:14
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I asked a similar question:

Best ways to recruit developers

There were a lot of great suggestions, but it sounds like your client needs to be realistic about the marketplace. If they are willing to hire a developer fresh out of college, then the project will cost less, but it will also have a longer learning curve for him and will definitely require intense QA.

Based on the project you described, that seems like a bad idea. If they can't afford more experienced talent, then they may have to evaluate other options, such as outsourcing (which obviously has its own downsides).

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Small companies should look for the 'proxy' company providing an access to remote developers from other countries. In this case you will get top well qualified programmers and no headache with taxation, paper work, etc.. Also a benefit that you could usually easily replace the developer (if you are not happy with him/her) with another one.

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Outsourcing your application is outsourcing it, regardless of where the developer actually is. It's not a bad idea, but it has much more management overhead than hiring someone internally, even if it has less resource overhead. –  Bobson Jul 9 '13 at 18:31
    
I think your note covers those cases when no process is used, or the process is not formal enough. If both - management and developers - use clear/well-defined process (like Scrum, kanban, or even waterfall), there is no management overhead at all as the efforts are the same. –  Dmitry Pavlov Jul 10 '13 at 10:21
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