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Published: Jun 27, 2023 15 min read
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Web developers play a vital role in any organization looking to create a professional and user-friendly website. With so many web developers in the employee market today, it's essential to discern the best fit for your company.

Read our full guide below to learn how to hire a web developer. You’ll finish with an understanding of what a web developer does, which type of web developer you need, how to promote job listings (hot tip: jop posting sites such as ZipRecruiter have useful templates and guides) and how to assess candidates to find the best web developer for your business needs.

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What is a web developer?

A web developer, or website developer, creates and builds websites using different coding and programming languages, such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript. Usually, a design or marketing team will provide a design concept to the web developer, who will then turn the concept into a reality. Some web developers may also be responsible for the website’s ongoing performance.

A web developer’s goal is to build an easy-to-use website that appeals to both beginner and advanced users alike. It should be complex enough that it holds all the features that users need but is easy to navigate.

What does a web developer do?

Web developers can take on many different types of roles and projects. Their responsibilities may change frequently depending on the nature of their work. Some common day-to-day duties expected from a web developer include:

  • Building websites from design concept
  • Creating user interfaces and navigation features
  • Integrating new content and changing website structures
  • Updating and troubleshooting websites by checking code

Since web developers often work closely with a company’s marketing department, they often have to hold meetings with various other members of the team, such as content creators, graphic designers and marketing managers. Skilled web developers who have made their way to management may also spend time overseeing other web developers and providing training.

How to hire a web developer

Hiring web developers requires a deep understanding of what exactly the role entails and how the position can benefit your business. This will help you make an informed decision so you can find the perfect fit for your requirements.

Determine which type of developer your business needs

There are three main types of web developers that work on different parts of a website: back-end, front-end and full-stack. Once you familiarize yourself with each, you'll be able to figure out which position you need to fill for your project.

Front-end web developer

Hire a front-end web developer if you need someone to work on the user side of your website, which involves anything users see when they visit your website. It's typically a more creative role because these developers are focused on creating an aesthetically-pleasing design. However, the role still requires a good portion of technical knowledge to make the website functional and useful.

Back-end web developer

Hire a back-end web developer if you need someone to work on the behind-the-scenes functionality of your website. These developers write and test server-side code to make sure the features displayed on the front end of the website work properly. Back-end web developers may be responsible for keeping up with data storage, cybersecurity and general website maintenance.

Full-stack web developer

Hire a full-stack web developer if you want someone with knowledge of both sides of your website. Full-stack web developers typically have both front-end and back-end web development skills, which means they can work on just about any task. However, most full-stack web developers have a stronger skillset with one side, so they may work best with another developer that can compensate for the side that they have less experience with.

Decide if you need to hire a full-time or freelance web developer

If you have consistent web development needs over the long term, you should consider hiring a full-time web developer. In-house web developers with full-time jobs are more likely to build extensive knowledge about your project and company. They will gradually become more efficient and accurate while working on projects. Full-time employees are also more motivated to work for fair companies that know how to retain employees.

However, freelance web developers can be beneficial for companies that only need to complete short-term projects. While they may cost more per hour or per project, you will save a lot of money in the long run by eliminating the need for benefits or taxes. Hiring freelancers is also more affordable than hiring employees if you need a web developer with a niche skillset. In addition, it’s much easier to replace freelancers if they aren’t the best fit for your company since they are only meant to work for your company temporarily. The large talent base available online also makes it relatively easy to find a freelance web developer for hire.

If neither of these options sounds ideal, you might also hire dedicated web developers. Dedicated web developers fall somewhere between freelancers and full-time employees. They are meant to provide full-time support on a temporary but long-term project. They may be hired as freelancers, but they would be expected to have more professional experience and not work on other projects for the duration of your contract. Dedicated web developers may also be outsourced to a team of web developers.

Create a web developer job description

A web developer job description outlines the activities, responsibilities and qualifications you expect your ideal candidate to meet. You should include easy-to-read bulleted lists and short paragraphs that provide the information necessary for applicants to judge whether they might be a good fit. Also include general information about your company's values and goals so candidates can learn about your company culture. To make it easy, you can use a web developer job description template as a starter for your job postings.

Promote your web developer job posting

You won’t be able to hire a website developer if you don’t spread the word about your job opening. Use the best job posting sites for employers to post your job description and company information and attract applications from a large talent pool — ZipRecruiter, for instance, gives you access to over 3 million job seekers. Job posting sites typically also include an applicant tracking system (ATS) that makes it easy to filter and screen applicants.

Your company career page is another great place to promote your job posting. Web developers should be able to visit your career page and learn about the position as well as other general information about your business. They should get a feel for what it’s like to work with your company, how they might grow in the role and learn about any benefits or perks. Learn more about how to create a better career page.

Evaluate your applicants’ qualifications, experience, skills and portfolio

Some web developer requirements might include:

  • Advanced knowledge of programming and coding languages, including CSS, HTML or JavaScript
  • Experience developing websites for a wide range of businesses
  • Experience with content management systems like WordPress
  • Experience with Windows and Linux systems
  • Self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • Interpersonal skills and willingness to collaborate

There are no standard educational requirements for web developers, although some will choose to pursue associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in a related field. Others opt to earn web developer certifications, such as the Certified Web Professional or a Web Programming Certificate from an educational institution.

Candidates may also provide access to a web developer portfolio where you can see examples of their past work and experiences. Portfolios are an excellent way to see what kinds of results their work achieved and whether they’ve worked on similar projects in the past.

You may need to adjust some of the skills and qualifications listed in your job posting depending on the type of web developer you need. For example, if you need e-commerce web developers or WordPress web developers, then you should include skills that are specific to these types of websites. Implementing the best practices for using an ATS can help you filter applicants based on their skills.

Prepare a list of web developer interview questions

Your interview questions are a crucial part of getting to know your candidates. The following prompts can help you start building your list of web developer interview questions.

  • What's your experience with different coding languages? — Use this question to assess how many coding languages they're familiar with and to what extent. You can also get a feel for their drive to continue their education.
  • What was one of your hardest projects to date? How did you overcome the obstacles involved? — This question can give great insight into your candidate’s problem-solving skills and ability to handle work stress.
  • How do you feel about working independently vs. working collaboratively? — Learn more about your candidate’s working style and cultural values. Web developers should understand the need for collaboration and feel comfortable working as part of a team.

Include behavioral interview questions, as well as questions to assess hard and soft skills to get a well-rounded understanding of your candidate’s experiences, personality and qualifications.

Choose a web developer to bring on board

So you've assessed each candidate’s skills, qualifications and personality, and you're ready to wrap up the web developer hiring process. At this point, you should have narrowed down your options based on each step of the process, gaining a clear understanding of what each candidate can contribute to your project and company culture. Once you pick your preferred candidate, you can begin familiarizing them with the job and providing any necessary training.

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Where to find web developers for hire

If you’re wondering how to find great candidates for your web developer jobs, rest assured it’s a relatively simple task if you know where to look. Depending on the type of web developer you’re looking for, there are plenty of job posting sites, freelance marketplaces and outsourcing options you can use to hire website developers. Check out some of the options below:

  • ZipRecruiter — ZipRecruiter is a top platform for promoting your job openings to people with relevant skills. It makes it easy to filter and screen applicants to find candidates that best match your needs.
  • Hired — Hired makes it easy to browse web developers based on skills and other job preferences. Request an interview with candidates that you think might be a good fit.
  • Toptal — Toptal gives you access to some of the best website developers for hire. The company requires that candidates pass a series of tests, but only 3% of applicants make it through. You can be confident they have the necessary skills to complete the job.
  • LinkedIn — LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that allows you to connect with people in your industry. You can post jobs or search for candidates manually. It’s a great way to stay connected with potential applicants.

Your personal network is also a great place to look for a web developer. If you’re in the tech or marketing industries, you’ll likely have professional connections with people who can recommend a web developer for your job opening.

Web designer vs web developer

Web designers and web developers are often confused as the same role, but they differ in significant ways. A web designer is focused on the creative part of putting together website elements and features using graphic design tools, content creation platforms or wireframing tools. A web developer uses coding and programming to actually build the web designer’s concept. The two roles depend on each other and work together to conceptualize and build a user-friendly website.

Web developer vs software developer

The key difference between web developers and software developers is that they are trying to create different end products. Web developers build websites that run on an internet browser, while software developers build applications for computers and mobile devices. Each role has different development processes and tools. While web developers typically work with the marketing team to make sure their design is brought to life, software developers tend to stick with technology departments that are working on more technical requirements.

Web Developer FAQ

How much does it cost to hire a web developer?

The cost of hiring a web developer will vary greatly based on whether you hire a freelance web developer or take on permanent part-time or full-time web developers. When you hire freelancers, you typically only have to worry about paying them the contract or hourly rate. However, part-time and full-time employees may take on added expenses like benefits, training, equipment and general overhead.

How much do web developers make?

According to a top job posting site, the average web developer salary is $75,836 per year, with most web developers making between $52,000 and $92,000 per year.

What skills do web developers need to have?

Some hard web developer skills include knowledge of varying coding languages, such as HTML, CSS or JavaScript. In addition, web developers should have at least some basic skills in back-end development. Additional hard skills include experience with building responsive designs and optimizing websites for search engines. Some soft skills include analytical skills and the ability to work well with a team.

Summary of Money’s how to hire web developers

Web developers are trained to build websites while collaborating with a marketing team to emphasize both aesthetics and functionality. Web developers need knowledge of coding languages, web applications, content management systems and more. Some companies may have short-term needs that can be met by a freelancer, while others have ongoing web development projects that require a full-time employee.

Regardless of the type of web developer you need to hire, the best recruiting software can help you through the many steps of the hiring process. Get started by determining your ideal candidate, creating a job description and posting your job listing online. Then get ready to start making room for your next web developer.

Based on ZipRecruiter internal data. Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2021.