What to do when you cannot find a developer

I get asked pretty much daily for help finding a developer for organisations or individuals. I can see why, Rewired State is crammed full of them as is Young Rewired State – but we are not an agency and these developers are not ‘ours’ they are part of a network of devs who love hack events.

However, what I can do is pass on a bit of advice on what to do when you cannot find that individual ninja you are seeking.

Firstly, I am going to assume that you need a website built, (if you want an app, simplest thing to do is find one of the many agencies that specialise in app building and pay them money). To achieve this webby dream you are after a developer who will build the whole thing for you, you are even offering proper money and are still struggling to find anyone? (Obviously if you are trying to do this on mates rates or for equity then you need to move on and find another thing to do in life). OK…

So rule number one: forget that plan, it is rare as hen’s teeth that you will find such a developer to help you do everything

If I were you here is what I would do:

  1. Write a list of every person who will come to your website
  2. Write down what each of those people are going to use it for
  3. MoSCoW the list
  4. Write a brief for your website, ask Google how to do this, you will get many answers like this I know the web brief includes you writing up the list of people who will use the website, but to my mind this needs to be done in the very first instance, to focus your mind before writing the brief
  5. Educate yourself a bit in the world of developers: StackOverflow definition of the difference between a back end and front end developer is a good place to start, roam about from there
  6. Now you can start looking for someone or a group of people to help you. Rarely will one developer be able to do everything for you. My advice at this point is to speak to someone like Thayer Prime, now that you have a clear idea of your needs and what you want to build, Thayer will help manage your expectations of cost and the best route to the right team – she is amazing.
  7. Another trick, if Thayer is busy, is to look at your friends’ websites and find ones you like or elements you like and see who built them – if you can’t find any friends then have a look at other peoples’ websites and choose some you like – again, try to track down the builders
  8. Write your copy. Using jumpchart with your front end dev/designer is a good place to begin. Copy breaks websites, you must nail this at the same time as the website is being crafted

When our shiny new Rewired State website is live, you will be able to see the fruits of building something this way, the site you see live now is the result of not doing it properly – even with, and maybe because of, having access to some of the world’s most high-class developers.

Final word of advice, if the website is the digital manifestation of your baby, your special project that is the pinnacle of your working or philanthropic life so far: accept that building it is going to be a bit like marriage: full of compromise, huge highs, desperate lows, frustration as well as satisfaction – but you need to be committed to it and find another half who gets it.

That’s it, hope this helped.

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