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Cash-strapped startups often choose to outsource software development. However, these independent development firms interact with dozens of clients, which means that your business receives just a portion of their creativity. Innovation is throttled as your company’s growth becomes reliant on people outside your management.


In-house developers, on the other hand, devote their full attention to your projects. They can produce high-quality work faster, and they can fix bugs more efficiently. Having software customized to meet your company’s needs, whether it’s on the back end or customer-facing, enables you to address unmet needs and bring in more customers and revenue.


Four valuable characteristics to look for are:

1. Tenacity and mental toughness. 

Developers face challenges each day — great ones fight through roadblocks, while weak ones give up and turn to new projects.

2. The ability to work effectively with a team. 

Developers have to communicate with other developers. More importantly, developers have to be able to communicate with the people using the software on a daily basis.

3. The ability to seek and respond to feedback.

Developers have to be sensitive to how their software is being used by designing with the user in mind, rather than simply writing code that works.

4. Intellectual curiosity. 

Developers must have the drive to seek out and solve the problems your company will face.


Once you identify developers you’d like to work with, evaluate their experience. Check references, review past projects and assess how they perform on a technical challenge you assign them. I repeat: Assign a technical challenge. Challenges are critical for assessing technical proficiency prior to signing someone on full-time.

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