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How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Software Engineer?

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Freelance software engineers charge varied amounts depending on their expertise. Entry-level engineers start at roughly $25 an hour, with senior professionals commanding a higher rate. With a vast array of over 20,000 engineers available to hire through Guru, there is an equally broad amount of choice to suit every budget! 

Companies looking to create their own software applications, replace legacy software with fit-for-purpose upgrades, or design systems aligned with their objectives and problem-solving requirements can hire software engineers to carry out projects both large and small, ad hoc or ongoing.

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

Many businesses confuse software-based professionals, but an engineer has a wide scope of knowledge and technical ability that surpasses most other roles. 

Is a software developer the same as a software engineer? In short, no–developers work on specific pieces of software to add new features or solve glitches. Engineers undertake big-picture projects, such as creating entire suites of application software, testing organization-wide software networks, or designing custom software tools to meet their client’s needs.

Some software engineers might offer software development, but a developer is more likely to have a specific niche area of proficiency and may be unable to deliver the oversight and systems knowledge an engineer can provide.

As computer scientists, software engineers are trained in varied programming and coding languages. They can build software solutions from scratch and use best practice principles of software engineering, development, testing, and design to create fully functional applications.

Skills to Look for in a Capable Software Engineer

Unlike other freelancers working in the software space, engineers must be communicative and collaborative, often liaising with teams and colleagues throughout a client’s business to get a firm idea of which features and functions would make their lives easier. For example, an engineer hired to build a new application for customers might consult with marketers, graphic designers, customer support teams, and sales managers to begin designing a framework to meet the needs of the brand and deliver the best possible customer experience.

Other skills to prioritize when short-listing freelance software engineers include:

  • High-level abilities in writing and testing code, including all the major programming languages
  • Proficiency in project management, engineering, computing, operating systems, and software development, as well as the capacity to liaise with in-house developers to meet core project deliverables
  • The capability to create new tools and functions, debug software, and develop scalable and agile apps

Most top-tier freelance engineers have at least a bachelor’s degree, although real-world experience and a proven successful project completion track record may be just as valuable.

Why Hire a Freelance Software Engineer?

The aptitude level a software engineer offers means their rates–per hour, day, or project–will be higher than a business might expect to pay another software professional without the same extent of talent and understanding.

On average, hiring an in-house software engineer costs just over $109,000 per year, based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2021. More specialist engineers with sector-specific accomplishments may earn far more than the median average.

Freelance software engineers offer the same breadth of accomplished know-how. Still, they are considerably more cost-effective and accessible for smaller businesses or those needing an engineer to complete a project as a one-off.

Rather than employing a permanent, full-time engineer, a company can browse qualified software engineers through the Guru network and review their portfolios, experience, and past client ratings, and make informed decisions about which freelancers best fit their requirements. Our profiles also list hourly or per-project rates and availability information to provide as much detail as possible to help hirers connect with the best-qualified engineers to complete their tasks to the necessary standard.

How to Find a Great Software Engineer

The first step is to compile a job description, which you can post for free through the Guru portal. The best descriptions explain the scope and expected duration of the project, the key aims, and an outline of the associated budget.

Freelancers can then respond with a quotation proposal, confirm they meet all the essential criteria, and reply to questions from the prospective hirer before they select the software engineer they’d like to move ahead with. Businesses can also filter software engineers by their parameters, such as all-time earnings, location, the size of the organizations they have worked with, and previous client review ratings!

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