How to find the best Node.js developers for your team?

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Today, Node.js is one of the most popular backend technologies and the backbone of many innovative software products. It allows for fast and scalable software development and uses JavaScript – the lingua franca of the web world – under the hood. No wonder so many companies are doing their best to find good Node.js developers. In today’s article, The Software House will share some of its experience when it comes to growing a proper Node.js team.

Are you looking for Node.js developers? At The Software House, we’ve been growing our own Node.js department for 2 years and now we have a strong team of specialists working on a variety of Node.js projects for our clients (see some of our Node.js projects).

During these years, we’ve realized how hard it can be to find experienced Node.js developers. And this why, now, we want to share the know-how with you.

Firstly, we’re keeping close tabs on the Node.js jobs market. Secondly, we’re perfecting our approach to interviewing candidates. Finally, we constantly increase the candidate pool we draw from. And these are the three aspects we want to talk about today.

Node.js development jobs market – overview

The current state of the Node.js jobs market is probably one of the reasons why you have arrived here in the first place. Many people search for “how to find Node.js developers”, simply because the supply of Node.js experts can’t keep up with the demand.

According to HackerRank, the demand for Node.js devs is only satisfied halfway. It’s only going to get tougher, as Indeed.com’s report informs that the number of job searches for Node.js rose by 57% compared to the previous year. In response to this, the average salary for a Node.js developer sharply increased ($104,964 in the United States), being now over 30 percent higher than that of a PHP developer ($65,764). If you still have doubts that Node.js is on a roll, just take a look at data by NodeSource – the total number of downloads increased in 2018 by 40% and the number of contributors to this open-source framework reached an all-time high.

As for the reasons for Node.js popularity, we could also talk for hours about Node’s features, performance and scalability in web development. As well as about all the famous companies that use it – such as Twitter, Netflix, Asana, Trello or Medium. But it’s a topic for another article. For now, let’s try to find the perfect Node.js developer.

The popular project management tool Trello uses Node.js under the hood

What kind of Node.js developer should I hire?

Before you start typing “Node.js” in your search engine, it’s worth saying that there are many ways to add a Node.js developer to your team. Adam Polak, The Software House’s Head of Node.js, believes that transitioning from a different technology is a viable option.

“Node.js is a relatively new technology, so there are not many experienced devs who use it. That’s why we should not limit ourselves just to current Node.js users, but also take a look at skilled devs who can transition quickly. PHP, Java and .NET developers are often willing to learn new technologies.”

PHP is one of the technologies Node.js developers often come from

What if you want to hire a Node.js developer?

“The willingness to learn and a natural tendency to question the status quo is what I’m looking for in a junior. If one asks questions such as ‘Why is it made that way?’ or ‘What’s it for?’, you can make a senior look at things a different way. As for more experienced programmers, a couple of questions not directly related to technologies can help us find out a lot. I often ask if they ever worked as a mentor. That gives you tons of experience in terms of soft skills”.

What about hard skills of a Node.js developer? You should be able to create your own list of criteria, but just for guidance – here is a list of requirements for a mid Node.js position at The Software House.

  • Proficiency in JavaScript/TypeScript (including basic functional programming concepts such as higher order function etc., dependency injection, MVC and design patterns)
  • At least 2 years of practical experience in Node.js or another backend solution
  • At least 1 year of experience in creating applications using one of the popular Node.js frameworks (Express.js, NestJS, Koa, hapi)
  • Knowledge of common development tools – Git, ESLint, Prettier
  • Practical knowledge of SQL (MySQL and PostgreSQL) or NoSQL (MongoDB) databases
  • Basic experience in Docker and Docker Compose
  • Experience in CI/CD is welcomed
  • Communicative English

The interview

How to conduct the interview to minimize the risk of hiring someone that is simply good at being interviewed over someone actually fit for your team? According to Adam:

“A typical interview is mostly about the theory. And that is something that can easily be learned by heart. That’s why I personally like asking questions related to what they actually did in previous projects, or about the challenges they had to face and will be facing at The Software House. Talking about real practical problems (as opposed to what the books say) is one of the best evaluation methods. A simple recruitment ask (e.g. code review) can also go a long way. It’s also worth it to ask about the previous teams your candidate worked in. How did the communication work? Did he or she talk to the client directly? Did they ever serve a special role such as a lead dev?”

Pair programming is another interesting way to evaluate a candidate – it involves two programmers working simultaneously at the same computer. One of them writes the code – the other reviews each line, then they switch places. It may be an effective way of evaluating a candidate, but it may also be very stressful for some and cause them to underperform. That’s why at TSH, we rather stick to the methods described by Adam.

Whatever you choose, try to keep the interview process short – it should not take more than 1-2 hours, the same goes for the recruitment task. Rather than prolonging the process, focus on getting the most out of every minute. Remember: the better the candidate is, the more they value their own time.

How to find a Node.js programmer

Now, that we know who we’re looking for and how to talk to them, let’s find us some candidates. There are many methods available to find prospects. Let’s divide this part into four sections.

  • Inbound – all the ways we can make the candidates find us first.
  • Outbound – a more direct approach, which involves finding the candidates and making the first move.
  • Tools – a variety of tools that can help us speed up and improve the process of gathering and evaluating leads.
  • Outsourcing – using the services of a software company, which has just the kind of Node.js developers we need.

How to find a Node.js programmer – inbound

Some of the most popular and efficient inbound methods of finding Node.js developers include:

  • The Career page

It’s one of the first places Node.js devs interested in working for you will reach. Depending on how your Career page looks like, it may very easily attract them, or to the contrary – completely put them off. According to a report by LinkedIn, 89 percent of job seekers are using their mobile devices to visit career sites. Make sure that your pages are mobile ready. Some of the other common problems include outdated look, inaccurate information and difficulty in actually finding your job offers. Find all the flaws, use Google Analytics or another tool to set up conversion metrics and use AB tests to test them. Google Optimize is a very interesting free tool you can use to create various tests.

  • Social media

You can use both your own social media channels as well as relevant groups that allow companies to publish and promote their job offers. A lot of them are completely free to join and use. For us, Facebook groups proved a very efficient way of finding candidates.

  • Job portals

Job portals such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor or Monster can increase the visibility of your job offers. Also, use local alternatives to these portals. These will be different depending on your location. In Poland, some of the popular options include Pracuj.pl or OLX.pl.

  • Internships

A viable method of nurturing a Node.js developer yourself. An intern that has a good grasp JavaScript can potentially quickly acquire the skills needed to work with Node.js.

  • Webinars

By organizing free webinars, you can position your business as a place where ambitious developers can improve their skills. One of the recent Node.js webinars by The Software House attracted over 200 developers.

  • Referrals

A referral program rewards people (usually financially) who recommended a candidate that eventually got the job. When the rewards are generous, it may really encourage your employees and others to act.

  • Outdoor

Outdoor advertising such as banners or bus advertising are not typical methods in the IT industry, which tends to rely on the online world. But this is exactly why it may help you stand out. For example, you may place your advertisement near a location attended by many developers (events center, university, another tech company etc.).

LinkedIn is one of the most important sources of leads when it comes to Node.js developers

How to find a Node.js programmer – outbound

To supplement your inbound efforts and speed up the process, you can also use various outbound methods:

  • Direct search

Looking for promising contacts online on portals such as Linkedin or GitHub and making the first move. The most obvious method, but the hard part is getting it right. Avoid copy-pasting cliche marketing messages. Get straight to the point. Use Boolean (using operators such AND/OR), Quoted or Parenthetical searches on LinkedIn to limit or broaden your search and find better prospects. Use X-ray searches (limits results to a specific domain) on Google and other search engines.

  • Third-party conferences and events

Attend industry conferences and meetups, using both formal (event booths, workshops etc.) and informal (networking) ways of interacting with potential candidates. Make your efforts to find Node.js developers known so that a word spreads.

  • Self-organized events

Organizing an event is difficult, but once you do it, you have full freedom of interacting with participants and including your HR efforts as part of the agenda. Our local Uszanowanko Programowanko event, which takes place in Gliwice (at TSH’s headquarters at Old Office), is a series of meetups which include lectures from TSH developers on various software developments topics (+ lots of pizza). Another self-organized initiative of The Software House is a series of on-site workshops, which give developers a chance to learn new practical skills, while our developers can also prove themselves as mentors.

TSH’s headquarters at Old Office in Gliwice house our series of practical software development workshops

How to find a Node.js programmer – tools

To support both inbound and outbound efforts, you can use some of the following tools:

  • Recruitment management tools

They primarily include a class of software called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSes). They can be thought of as an equivalent of CRMs for the HR. Recrutee, Traffit or SmartRecruiters are among the most popular alternatives.

  • Sourcing tools

These platforms make it easier to find candidates.

    • LinkedIn Recruiter Lite – if you use LinkedIn for direct search, this is a way for you to speed up the process. It includes access to a much wider talent pool than a regular LinkedIn account.
    • AmazingHiring – uses machine learning to aggregate and evaluate leads.
    • Intelligence Search – Chrome extension, which allows you to set your own search criteria.
  • Screening platforms

If you aren’t sure of your ability to evaluate candidates, you can use platforms such as Codility, Devskiller or Interview Mocha.

  • B2B review services

Platforms such as Clutch allow businesses to review software companies. You can use it as an easy way to assess the quality of companies that offer Node.js development. If you have your own account, potential candidates may use it to learn more about the kind of work you do. See The Software House’s profile on Clutch for reference.

How to find a Node.js programmer – outsourcing

Finding Node.js developers is no easy task. With some effort, you will eventually succeed, but sometimes you are in such an urgent need of them, that hiring is not a viable option. What’s more, this need may soon fade. A method that allows you to find Node.js developers in a more flexible fashion, easily scaling your team up and down, is outsourcing. Here are some of the typical scenarios where it may be your best option:

  • Need to customize your product

You found an interesting client, but they want a highly customized version of your product. You are in quick need of Node.js developers to make this deal happen.

  • Need to adapt to changing market conditions

Various circumstances, such as the introduction of new privacy laws (e.g. GDPR) may force you to make quick extensive changes to your suite of software.

  • Seizing the opportunity for external financing

You may be close to securing new financing, provided you expand quickly. Outsourcing may help you grow your team at a much greater pace.

  • Faster time-to-market

If time-to-market is considered an important factor in your business, outsourcing may prove the best step to take.

To learn even more about outsourcing, check our article about common outsourcing risks and how to avoid them. If you are not sure whether your in-house developers are ready for outsourcing, this article is for you. Another one concerns outsourcing for SaaS companies. You should also learn how to verify the skills of a software house and why Nordic companies love outsourcing.

Conclusions

Do you feel you’re ready to find yourself some Node.js developers?

At this point you should have a good grasp of how the Node.js market looks, what kind of developer you should be looking for and what are the most common methods of creating a shortlist of promising candidates.

Keep on refining this process and adapting it your organization and don’t forget that outsourcing is always there to give you even more options and flexibility.

And if you have any questions or simply think that you may benefit from outsourcing Node.js development, let us know – we’re always keen to help other IT companies (initial consultations at The Software House are always free).

How to find the best Node.js developers – take-away infographic in PDF

To help you recruit awesome Node.js devs, we’re prepared a handy take-away infographic, summing up all the most important info from this blogpost. Feel free to download it and share with others.

how to find the best node.js developers – download free infographic in pdf

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