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How Small Businesses Can Hire Software Engineers

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Many small companies wishing to hire a software engineer find that the average costs and salary expectations are simply too high, putting this level of software expertise outside their financial reach. One of the best alternatives is to hire a freelancer with competitive hourly and project rates from the broad network of accomplished professionals available through the Guru freelance network.

Today, we’ll look at some key questions early-stage businesses might need to consider, answering common queries such as whether a software developer is the same as a software engineer, how much it costs to hire an engineer, and how to find the ideal candidate for your project.

Picking the Right Software Freelancer for Small Business Tasks

Software engineers and developers are often confused, and there are overlaps, such as using programming and coding skills to build or augment software and creating new apps to meet commercial specifications. However, these two roles aren’t the same, and the contrasting knowledge between a software engineer and a developer is significant. 

Engineers manage or create entire systems and IT infrastructures, from testing and evaluating software performance to designing and developing custom solutions. A software developer can solve problems, improve efficiencies, and create new software or apps, but is the comparable builder who uses the architect’s plans to construct a property to their design, so to speak.

Software engineers ensure that any apps, features, or tools a business introduces into their systems are fully supported by the underlying structure of the software suite. While a software engineer generally offers software development services, the opposite doesn’t apply. This is because a developer has a lower level of expertise and focuses on specific tasks rather than whole-system design, testing, and development.

Average Costs to Hire a Software Engineer

Software engineers offer hourly rates starting at $25. However, you could potentially pay many times that for a senior engineer with an impressive portfolio and long track record of providing services that exceed their client’s expectations. Before choosing an engineer, we recommend that you:

  • Narrow down your objectives: What matters most to your project? Are you working with a fixed budget, or do you need an engineer to deliver the most exceptional quality, regardless of their fees?
  • Consider timings: How long, realistically, do you have before your app or software engineering requirements become urgent? Are you prepared to pay a premium for a freelancer who can start work immediately?
  • Write down the deliverables: If you need a piece of software to perform a function, solve a problem, or improve efficiency in an area of your business, it helps to keep a record of your requirements to help engineers understand the focus of the project.

Businesses might hire entry-level or junior software engineers to complete more straightforward jobs, achieving lower costs by agreeing to a per-project rate. Alternatively, they can hire an engineer and pay them per hour, which is often a billing structure used for shorter or quicker tasks.

Conversely, a company might wish to hire the most skillful freelance software engineer possible, irrespective of rates, to develop a sector-leading application or software solution to provide them with a competitive edge. If you are unsure of the baseline costs or hourly rates linked to freelance software engineers with the skills you require, you can browse the Guru database free of charge or search for specific abilities to review freelancer profiles.

Advertising for a Small Business Software Engineering Project

Compelling, detailed job posts attract the most attention, and the more information you can offer about your requirements, the more appropriate the proposals and quotes you receive will be. Hirers don’t need to write lengthy specifications, but should ensure their Guru job post includes the following:

  • The competencies, experience, and talents you need your software engineer to have
  • An overview of the project, complexity, and anticipated duration
  • Information about whether the job is a one-off, ad hoc, ongoing or long-term collaboration
  • Your budget, where relevant, and any non-negotiable timeframes

Small business owners aren’t necessarily expected to be familiar with the technical jargon used in software engineering. Still, they should clarify the nature of the project–whether it involves designing and developing a new app or software platform, replacing outdated company software, or managing a large transition project. It’s also useful to explain a bit about yourself and your company, such as the sector you work in, as this can appeal to software engineers with previous expertise working with other clients in the same field!

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