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Where are all the good Web developers?

Josh Althuser | Sept. 30, 2015
If you’re having trouble finding them, ask yourself: Am I a bad client, or am I looking in the wrong place?

You don’t know what you want or what you are doing

If this describes you, the really good Web developers will shun you. Building a website is a team effort. A developer may be able to do a lot of great things for you, but it’s your responsibility to give the project vision and direction.

Projects that lack proper guidance fall to pieces for a multitude of reasons. Often this leads to disputes and delayed (or even lost) payments. There are many red flags that a potential client is a potential disaster, and good Web developers have a keen sense for detecting the warning signs.

The job is to clean up someone else’s mess

This is a perfect example of how hiring a bad developer will come back to bite you. Most developers worth their salt want to build new things with their talents and are not interested in untangling some other joker’s compounded knots of code. If the job is to fix a broken code base that was built by someone else, you will be hard-pressed to find anyone qualified who is enthusiastic about taking it on.

You’re looking in the wrong place

Let’s say that you’re an ideal client and any Web developer would be lucky to work with you, but you’re still having problems finding one who fits. It seems as if the right developer is but an ephemeral daydream, a passing ghost, a fantasy. Do not despair. You’re probably just looking in the wrong place.


Confining one’s search to one’s immediate vicinity is a mistake that is less common these days. But it’s still important to drive the point home for a first-time client. Modern technology makes it easy to meet with people even if they are on the other side of the planet.

There are few people more naturally adept at making full use of this fact than Web developers. Online and cloud-based tools such as Skype, Google Docs, GitHub and countless more make it possible to do everything that is necessary for a development engagement remotely — be it engaging in live, face-to-face conversation; drawing up paperwork; reviewing deliverables; or launching the product. Remote work has skyrocketed in the last decade and is now well past the proving stage, with all kinds of companies (including Toptal, Automattic, and GitHub, to name a few) finding great success working with developers who are thousands of miles away.

In the pioneering days of remote online work, both the client and the developer had to take on significant risk in working with someone they could not physically meet or hold accountable, but the industry adapted and solutions to the potential pitfalls evolved. Today, companies exist like the aforementioned Toptal that offer a curated network of elite developers, employing a thorough screening process to ensure ability and accountability.


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