Why is it important to learn how to outsource programming the smart way? The reason is simple. Unless you have a computing background, outsourcing programming or any kind of IT outsourcing is almost an exact science. Get it wrong and there could be grave ramifications for your business or company.

But, before we get into the details of outsourcing programming, let’s delve a little bit into the what and why of outsourcing – for those that may not have a full understanding of this concept.

If you already know all about outsourcing, please skip this part and scroll down to Ways to Outsource.

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The Case for Outsourcing

Put simply, outsourcing is economic efficiency at work. It’s about getting value for money.

To get value for money, you must; describe your project in concise terms, have in mind the skill set the programmer(s) needs to deliver a final product that conforms with the brief and, have a fairly good idea of the fee range so as to get a fair price without compromising on quality.

In recent years, outsourcing has received a bad rep from people who, in my opinion, don’t quite understand its benefit from a purely economic point of view. Whilst some will argue that outsourcing takes jobs overseas, in reality, it encourages efficiency. Consumers globally benefit from lower prices of goods and services. From a business point of view, it makes perfect sense to deliver a product or service at the lowest cost and highest quality.

Thus, for outsourcing to be successful, a business must achieve a reduction in costs while at the same time get better quality or maintain the same level of quality.

In fact, the case for outsourcing can be summarized in three points as follows:

  1. Outsourcing non-core functions frees up time and resources so that you can focus on core functions, such as marketing and business development, that impact on your bottom line .
  2. Outsourcing has considerable cost advantages. Wage differentials between countries have existed for centuries. A service that costs an arm and a leg at home may be cheaper overseas because of an abundant skilled labor force. For example, software programmers in the US have some of the highest salaries in the world whereas programmers in Asia and other parts of the world that are becoming ICT hubs such as East Africa, are much more affordable.
  3. When you outsource, you tap into a global pool of talent. Often, but not always, this results in much higher quality work at a lower fee.

Ways To Outsource

So, where do you begin?

There are a number of ways to outsource programming, each with its advantages and disadvantages.

Freelance Websites

There are numerous online marketplaces where freelance workers from all over the world register to find work. At these sites you can find high quality programmers at an affordable fee – sometimes at dirt cheap rates.

But, and this is the biggie, identifying a good programmer at an online marketplace is a daunting task. You can check their portfolio, ask for references and still end up with a dud.

Why?

For a number of reasons; first, an unethical freelancer can easily fake a portfolio or claim another programmer’s online portfolio. For example, a web programmer can claim to have worked on the back-end of a site and you have no way of verifying such a claim. References can also be “cooked”.

At the same time, some freelancers are notorious at sub-contracting work. There have been documented cases where outsourced work ends up being performed by a third or even fourth programmer – with each person on the chain taking a small markup.

There is also the problem of defining what you want in accurate terms. Remember, programmers are a technical bunch and you may end up speaking different languages. Some programmers also assume they know what you want much better than you do. So you have to be careful you aren’t receiving a canned product.

If you still think you are up to the task, the following are some of the leading freelance sites which specialize in outsourcing programming.

Upwork (formerly oDesk)

This is the leading online marketplace in the world. It came about as a result of a merger between Elance and oDesk. Over 2 million companies globally outsource work on Upwork (formerly oDesk). There are over 8 million freelance workers registered at the sites and the combined annual fees paid through the site in 2013 was $750 million.

Freelancer.com

Freelancer is listed on listed on the Australian stock exchange and comes in second in terms of revenue and usage. It has grown to become one of the leading online marketplaces within a relatively short time having only been established in 2009. Freelancer has been on a buying spree in recent years. Some of the competitors they have acquired include; Scriptlance, vWorker (formerly RentACoder.com) and digital marketing community and marketplace Warrior Forum.

Read more about Upwork (formerly oDesk) vs Freelancer

PeoplePerHour.com

PeoplePerHour is based in the UK and has also grown fast over a relatively short period of time. One of the reasons for the site’s impressive growth is their “hourlie” feature. This allows freelancers to post a short pitch about a service they can offer within a specified period of time and fee. For example, “I can Code a Simple Mobile App in 3 Days for $100”.

This way a buyer can purchase the service immediately without having to create a project and enter a description –  a big savings for anyone who knows what they want and is pressed for time.

In addition to these big three online marketplaces, there are other smaller one’s such as Guru.com, getacoder.com and fiverr.com.

Direct Recruitment

recruit programmingAnother way to outsource programming is to recruit directly. You can do this by placing advertisements on sites like Craiglist or your local newspaper. Responses are usually in their hundreds and sifting through the applications to find the right match can take some time.

When hiring directly, you also need to deal with legal aspects and contracts, read traps in software development contracts for a guide on how to avoid this.

Alternatively, you can outsource this job to a recruitment agency – assuming you have the budget for this because it doesn’t come cheap.

Get Help with Code

get help with codeAre a you a programmer and are simply short of time to complete your code? Maybe you have self-taught programming skills and you simply want someone to complete a piece a code for you. If that’s the case, then you can always get help with code online. In most cases, you can get this service free by posting your code at a coding forums and asking for help. The online coding community is friendly (for the most part) and some philanthropist will usually post a correct version of the code or point out the error for you to fix.

The main disadvantage with this is that you can’t post code you want to remain proprietary. Once it’s out there, anyone can use it.

If you are interested in looking into this as an option to outsource programming, try the following leading forums for help with code; warriorforum.com, stackoverflow.com and forums.digitalpoint.com.

Take the Headache Out of Hiring Programmers

At this point, I’m sure your realize that there are inherent dangers in all of the ways listed above.

Like I stated at the beginning of this article, outsourcing programming is almost an exact science. You can’t afford to get it wrong. If you want to stay safe, we recommend Hubstaff’s Staffing Services.

Why Hubstaff?

Three reasons:

  1. Top quality – We only work with reputable programmers that are vetted. We have freelancers in our database with a wide range of programming skills that include; PHP, Java, .NET, C++, Python, Ruby on Rails, shell, SQL, ASP, Visual Basic and many more.
  2. Low rates – We have already negotiated low rates and the most flexible programming terms for you.
  3. No wasted hires – We have done the leg work to find top talent and weed out the rest.

How We Do It

Simply submit your project to us. There are no fees for doing this and once we receive your project, we immediately begin searching for a suitable programmer whose skill set and experience matches your requirements. And, it is totally free to submit a project.

We quickly find a match and introduce you to them. All pertinent details including; resume, LinkedIn profile, contact information and company name are shared with you.

You then schedule a call, talk to the programmer, agree on deliverables and get started.

The Best Part

When you outsource programming through Hubstaff, you get to use our world class time tracking and project management software. This allows you to see what your hire is doing in real time.

The tracker logs time and screen shots from the freelancer’s computer and uploads them to a workroom on our site. Anytime you want to check on the progress of work, you simply log in from any Internet enabled device anywhere in the world.

You can also set budgets so that you aren’t over invoiced and your credit card is charged every Monday for work done.

Are you ready to outsource programming the smart way?

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Image credits: Recruit Holdings Co.,Ltd via Wikimedia commonsJava source2 via Wikimedia commons