Technical Screening Basics for Non-Technical Founders

It is important to do a technical screening prior to bringing a new developer onto one’s team. This can become a complex process, but I will break it down so that even non-technical people can perform a basic screening.

By the end of this blog, you should have a good handle on how to check and see if your next developer is legit.

Ask for Past Projects

The best way to learn to program is to work on projects. So one of the quickest ways to see a developer’s knowledge is to look at projects they have completed. This is the first thing I ask when looking at a potential developer.

I take a look at any applications or small programs they have built within the past 10 years. Just taking a look at a final product or website can give you an understanding of the developers attention to detail. Ask to take a look at any code samples if the projects are not private intellectual property.

Any past projects that are similar to what you are hiring for is a huge bonus. Practical experience of building something related will allow the candidate to hit the ground running!

Get Referrals from prior colleagues

The next step in a basic technical screening is to ask for referrals. This isn’t just a good way to see if this person is a good programmer, but can also give a glimpse of their personality.

If you speak to a prior colleague of the candidate, then ask how their programming capabilities are. This is especially important for those that are non-technical since it will be hard to judge if the candidate is a good programmer. This is the next best thing aside from looking at past projects.

Code Audit (for those that are technical)

A code audit is a great test for those that are somewhat technically minded. I typically ask for a Github profile or code to some of the candidate’s open projects. I’m looking to make sure that their code is concise, follows best practices, and if I’m feeling picky I make sure it’s commented well.

Check for Many Skills

One of the most important things for any employer to consider, is the growth potential of a new employee. The simplest way to check this is to make sure that the developer in question is a generalist. This means that they have knowledge of all types of programming and concepts (i.e. many skills). Most generalist programmers are able to pick up new languages, frameworks, and skills quickly. They will learn on the job and grow with the company.

Communication is Key

Make sure to get a good sense of their ability to effectively communicate. Prior to setting up a call or meeting, were they responsive to emails? Were they easy to get in contact with? Do they seem reliable? Sure, a developer may be incredibly skilled – but you want someone who you can get in contact with and rely on. The last thing you want is to be unable to get in contact with your main developer prior to a big launch!!

This has been a very brief overview of technical screening. If you have any questions please reach out to the VentureStorm team!

By Taylor Johnson

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