How to Find the Right SaaS Developers For Your Project

How to find the right SaaS developers for your project

Are you looking for SaaS developers right now?

If so, you’re in the same boat as plenty of other organizations. According to Gartner, worldwide spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23% over the course of 2021, with SaaS by far the most dominant market segment.

It follows that there’s going to be an upward trend in demand for SaaS app developers – whether from tech companies developing SaaS products to sell, or from businesses that want to build cloud-based apps internally rather than buying in.

What this means for you is that you’ll have plenty of competition for top talent. You’ll need to plan strategically, thoughtfully and carefully if you want to find SaaS developers that are both good at their jobs and the right fit for your organization.

Below, we’ve put together five top tips on how to find top SaaS developers – we hope they help!

What Skills Should a SaaS Developer Have?

To find the right SaaS developers for your project, it’s important to understand what sort of skill set you should be looking for.

SaaS development is a broad church – within it, you’ll find frontend developers, backend developers, AI/machine learning specialists, people who want to be the sole developer on a shiny new startup project, people who prefer fitting into an established team and more.

That said, there are a few skills that all SaaS developers need regardless of how they work and what they’re working on:

The One Skill That Traditional Developers Don’t Have

In most aspects, SaaS development shares similar traits with traditional development. Your SaaS developers should be logical, technically-minded problem solvers with proficiency in the coding languages you need, just as more traditional developers should be.

The main difference? It’s not so much a skill as a mindset.

Typically, SaaS customers don’t pay for software outright. Instead, they pay a regular subscription fee that can be cancelled at any time. As a result, your software needs to be super responsive to your users’ needs. If it isn’t, they will leave and your revenue will tank.

This means faster, more responsive development and release cycles – so your SaaS developers need to be agile, adaptable and willing to work at a speed much greater than traditional on-premise software development.

Coding

Stating the obvious, your SaaS developers must be able to code if you want your project to be a success!

There aren’t any coding languages unique to SaaS products – they’re built on exactly the same mixture of frontend and backend languages as traditional products. Common backend languages include Ruby, C# and Python (though if you want to incorporate any sort of machine learning tech into your app, we’d suggest Python as the strongest choice). Frontend-wise, you will definitely need HTML/CSS and Javascript.

If you need a complete product build, you should look for SaaS developers that can offer both frontend and backend expertise – and perhaps product design experience too!

Teamwork

Whilst they don’t have to be the life and soul of the party, the SaaS developers you choose should be approachable, invested in others and communicative.

Teamwork is non-negotiable in a SaaS developer, whether they’re the sole techie in your startup, outsourced experts or part of a large in-house team. Building a great product requires input from, and collaboration with, a wide range of stakeholders. If your SaaS developers can’t work with them or remain empathetic to their needs, your project won’t be a success.

Problem Solving

When your project hits a roadblock – and trust us, you will at some point hit roadblocks – you need people on your side that take a collected, logical approach to problem solving.

This is as vital for debugging and solving day-to-day coding errors as it is for more structural issues. Logical problem solving helps your dev team juggle numerous (sometimes competing) requirements and find a solution everyone can get behind.

Adapt Your Budget To Your Organization’s Needs

Being that CTO, founder or project manager that built your organization’s world-beating app on a shoestring – that’s the dream, right?

Idyllic as this sounds, however, you will need to be realistic about what you can achieve within a certain time frame for a certain budget. Finding SaaS developers that work sustainably with the budget you have is essential for your project’s success.

Bright, promising college grads will cost you less, for example, but you’ll need to allow more time for that learning curve to kick in. If you need to build and release asap, finding experienced SaaS developers (either in house or outsourced) might be a better option.

On the other hand, finding experienced software engineers will likely get you a high-quality, market-ready app relatively quickly – but if the cost isn’t sustainable for your business, you’re going to run into major issues further down the line.

Experience vs. Fresh Talent – Getting The Balance Right

You may want to target experienced SaaS developers with a tempting Lead Engineer or even CTO title, with a team of talented and ambitious younger talent eager to prove themselves. This keeps costs reasonable whilst providing a source of expertise to build your development function around.

If you already have a team in place, think about your current balance of experience and fresh talent and consider how to allocate resources to improve this. This could involve new in-house hires, or outsourcing particular areas of your project to outsourced specialists.

Ultimately: pay for experience when you need it and when you can retain it. Otherwise, it could slow you down significantly.

Find SaaS Developers That Fit With Your Team Structure

The structure of your development team should impact the type of SaaS app developers you are looking for.

A major point here is methodology – if you’re an avid, 100% Agile team, look for SaaS developers that share that enthusiasm. If you rely on Rapid Application Development to release quickly and regularly, make sure the SaaS developers you use buy into that.

Another issue to consider is whether you work on a generalist, specialist or hybrid team model:

  • Generalist teams use their skills and experience to see a project through from requirements to completion.
  • Specialist teams deploy developers with a deep level of understanding across several projects at once, only contributing where their skills are needed.
  • Hybrid teams incorporate elements of both, with teams of generalists for end-to-end project development, with specialists on hand to contribute where necessary.

When finding SaaS developers, you need to make sure they’re happy working with the type of structure that you employ – and have the appropriate skills to do so.

For example, generalist developers might not know where they fit in a specialist model and miss the sense of ownership you get when seeing a project through to completion. Equally, specialists whose skills aren’t needed most of the time will feel cut loose and unable to contribute if you’re running end-to-end project teams.

Particularly for specialist or hybrid teams, it’s important to single out the specific skill set you want your new SaaS developer to possess. Look for gaps – are you short an AI specialist, or mobile developer? Factor this into your hiring process and look for suitable candidates.

Decide Whether You Need a Permanent In-House Team

Why are you hiring SaaS developers? It might be because:

  • You have an established in-house team already that you would like to expand
  • You don’t have a team at the moment, and would like to set one up

If you’re setting up a new team, always ask yourself one, single question:

“Do we envisage SaaS being one of our core competencies in the long run?”

If the answer (and you should definitely discuss this at length!) is “yes”, go right ahead. Hire that team of superstars that will get you where you want to go.

If the answer is “no” or “we’re not sure at this point”, it might be worth looking at other options. Hiring, building and maintaining a full-time development team takes significant amounts of time and money. If you’re not absolutely sure you need it, you risk investing a lot for little reward.

Alternative 1: Offshoring

If you’re comfortable working across different locations, offshoring could gain you access to a worldwide marketplace of top-quality SaaS developers – and save some money at the same time.

Hiring SaaS developers is expensive. One option to reduce costs is offshoring your development function. This means that you hire developers that work for your company, but you do so in a market that’s cheaper than your home country.

The major benefit here is that you still get an in-house development team but you pay less for it. And, as we transition into a hybrid-remote working world, you’re much more likely to have the infrastructure to support offshore teams as part of your own organization.

That said, finding and setting up a SaaS development team in a completely different location takes time, money and a fair amount of logistical planning. It’s not a quick fix solution – and with many businesses turning towards offshoring as a way to develop in-house, expect competition for resources too.

Alternative 2: Outsourcing

Another good alternative option to hiring your own SaaS developers is to outsource to a development agency. Development agencies draw on worldwide networks of product design and development talent to build software to your exact requirements.

You might also choose to outsource if you need to extend your development team temporarily – during busy periods – or if you need expertise for a specific project that you won’t need 24/7. If, for example, you need a machine learning specialist for one area of your app but don’t need to hire one full time, using a development agency to expand your in-house team is a great option.

If you outsource rather than hire SaaS developers:

  • You keep costs down because you aren’t locked into paying permanent salaries
  • You speed up your project delivery as outsourced teams can hit the ground running
  • You can tap into networks of talent you might not be able to access if hiring directly

Are there risks? Absolutely! Entrusting any aspect of your business to a third-party can end up being a poor decision if you pick the wrong outsourcing partner. That said, if you do your due diligence and invest time and effort in finding a partner that works for you, you gain top-level expertise whilst saving time and money. Win win.

Whilst We’re On The Subject…

Tivix is a software development agency, so you’ll forgive a quick plug at the end of the article.

If you think that outsourcing SaaS software development is the way to go, we’d love to help you out. With over a decade of experience building software for organizations including the United Nations, Boston Dynamics and Tesla, we’re confident we have the talent, network and experience for your SaaS needs.

We can help with some or all of the following, depending on your requirements:

  • Product design and management
  • UX design
  • Frontend and backend development
    Mobile development

Interested? Drop us a message here – we’ll wait for you to make the first move.