help me understand how and where to freelance a software dev project
April 15, 2019 10:34 AM   Subscribe

I am considering launching a product. i have the complete marketing profile etc ready and am confident of it. i need to now have it developed (is that all?). i want to freelance a developer for this. help me with the challenges (AKA what don't I know that i don't know?)

my questions:
  1. where should i post this project to find a freelancer (project is based in USA, florida)? I am looking for well informed or personal experience opinions (from either hirer or hiree, and "stay aways" are good as well as"this site rocked" suggestions)
  2. how do i describe and obtain this work without jeopardizing the idea on the open market?
  3. the project is only windows 10 and uses specialized (but well documented and publicized) video and audio output cards. does this add special challenge?
  4. i have graphical illustrations of the software and narrative of function. what else do i need?
  5. let's say this works, i get it built and sell it. is it relatively simple to then hire someone to transition management of the code internal (as opposed to freelance)??
  6. what about development languages? should i bother trying to learn and be sepcific? is there a best practices general language now? how do i approach this?
i have loads of experience developing and launching products in a well developed company, but never on my own. things like software languages where solved by people i trusted within a corporate structure.... so that's why these are my main concerns!

feel free to offer other relevant knowledge that i am missing (As relates to the actual development process). I am very comfortable with PLM, and the marketing and sales of these products, as well as the industry i aim to enter (dominate!).
posted by chasles to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
let's say this works, i get it built and sell it. is it relatively simple to then hire someone to transition management of the code internal (as opposed to freelance)??

You should plan to have a long-term relationship with your developer, at least until the product is mature enough - which won't happen until it spends enough time in the hands of real users. Will you be adding features after launch?

Ideally, your medium/long term code maintenance person should be involved in the project as early as possible.

There is also the risk that your freelancer (knowing they'll be out after the project is done) goes for the quick and dirty solution every time and leaves you with a pile of code that nominally works but is really unmaintainable / not extensible.
posted by each day we work at 11:26 AM on April 15 [3 favorites]


how do i describe and obtain this work without jeopardizing the idea on the open market?

You can ask the developer to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before providing your idea.

However, in reality, ideas aren't worth anything without execution. Your idea is unlikely to be unique.

let's say this works, i get it built and sell it. is it relatively simple to then hire someone to transition management of the code internal (as opposed to freelance)??

I would expect that your contract would stipulate that you always own the code that was written under contract.
posted by meowzilla at 12:25 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


If you already work with developers at an established company, is there some reason you couldn't talk to one of them about this? Maybe not to write the actual code, but to help you find someone who will, and to supervise them to make sure their code isn't garbage?
posted by kevinbelt at 1:11 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


Make SURE to budget for Q&A.

I'm currently working on a project much in the way you're looking for someone to develop, and we're seriously lacking a Q&A person - someone who only tests the product to make sure updates don't break anything. The client is busy selling the product, I'm busy writing code, things fall through the cracks.
posted by jedrek at 1:11 PM on April 15


how do i describe and obtain this work without jeopardizing the idea on the open market??

You don't need to give a lot of detail in an initial solicitation. You've said that you need a Windows 10 program that has video and audio elements. That's probably enough information. You'll also need to be able to provide information about the scale of the project. When more information is required, you will have the developer sign an NDA.

let's say this works, i get it built and sell it. is it relatively simple to then hire someone to transition management of the code internal (as opposed to freelance)??

I mean, it's difficult to hire qualified software developers and they're very expensive. I don't see anything about your situation that would make it even worse than normal.

i have graphical illustrations of the software and narrative of function. what else do i need?

You need to anticipate that there will be *a lot* of additional detail that your developer will need, and that to some extent the application will not come out the way you picture it. You should anticipate that your developer will tell you that some of your ideas are unworkable or better approached in a different way. Sometimes they'll even be right! Sometimes they'll do exactly what you asked and yet it will not be what you want. Software development, unless your app is very simple, typically involves a lot of cycles of feedback and refinement.

what about development languages? should i bother trying to learn and be sepcific? is there a best practices general language now? how do i approach this?

This is the kind of thing where you're not going to be in a position to make a good decision. Your developer should be able to choose appropriate tools to develop this application. If you really want it to be Windows 10 only, you might expect C#, but again, your developer, based on their experience and the unique contours of your project, will be able to make this call.
posted by chrchr at 1:19 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]


not to threadsit... adding some information.

the existing relationship with company/developers is not in play, nor able to be. non starter.

question re which language was more about: should i for some reason dictate that in my solicitation...

thanks for the other answers. hopefully more coming related to modern gig economy hiring of a freelancer and what that marketplace is etc..
posted by chasles at 1:20 PM on April 15


question re which language was more about: should i for some reason dictate that in my solicitation...

You mention your project will involved specialized video/audio hardware. How will you talk to it? Look at what APIs the hardware manufacturers offer. This being 2019, it's a fair bet they offer a .net API or can be accessed via some generic API built in to .net, so C# (being the .net workhorse) should be enough and any of the .net languages will probably do.

However, if the stuff you're planning to do is more esoteric, I wouldn't be surprised if you turn out to need something more such as C++.

In any case, it's worth it to find someone who has worked specifically with audio/video hardware before and won't be reinventing the wheel or googling for how-tos half the time. An experienced coder not familiar with the specific domain should be able to figure it out correctly anyway, but they don't come cheap either.
posted by each day we work at 1:03 AM on April 16


My answer to question 2, 5 and 6 is “do not hire a freelancer.”
Here is the truth: You do not have a product, you have an idea for a product. This is a crucial difference. You literally do not have a product without the involvement, and most importantly, the buy in of a (specialist!) developer.

Compared to a business partner a freelancer will not care about the quality and longevity of the code. You don’t sound like you’re a developer if you’re even asking about what language to use. This is particularly relevant to question 6. Freelancers just do “the job” to get paid. How are you going to judge the quality of the code?

I have been involved in and seen companies launch apps using freelancers and inevitably when it needs its first upgrade or a pivot it requires so much refactoring of the code because the new developers had no idea wtf the previous developers were thinking they may as well have redone a whole new app considering the cost and time. And this is for iOS apps where you can’t move without running into an app developer so you’d think there would be like, standards (lol). You’re asking about a smaller pool of candidates.

Developer Buy In is also how you protect your product. There’s nothing stopping a freelancer from changing your idea just enough to build their own thing, and probably faster and better than what they did for you.

I’m not even saying 50/50 or even 51/49, but a significant enough stake for your developer to care is something I would seriously consider if I were you.
posted by like_neon at 3:51 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


Backing up what like_neon says... I’m a developer (web, not Windows) and building something from scratch is a very different prospect for a developer than maintaining or updating something that already exists. Even if the original developer has done a good job, the prospect of picking up someone else’s code, working out its idiosyncrasies, and working with that is not especially appealing... you don’t know what horrors might be hidden, it will always feel like someone else’s code. Quite aside from the fact that maintaining/updating is less interesting/exciting than starting from scratch.

So, ideally you want the person building it to be someone who’s willing to stay with the project over the medium/long term (assuming it’s successful). They’ll have more incentive to write sustainable code, and will be in a better position to maintain and upgrade it in future.
posted by fabius at 8:18 AM on April 19


« Older Is it acceptable to use this as a source in a book...   |   Recovering a password from the Instagram App Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments