How does one go about finding a computer programmer?

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  • How does one go about finding a computer programmer?
  • Bimbler
    Member

    Developer – or whatever the latest word is?

    Been let down (actually a couple of years ago) by our old developer and need to have a system re-done – it’ll basically be a front end for an sql database how does one go about it finding somebody trustworthy/reliable?

    We’ve usually gone for people we know or been recommended but with our last chap letting us down and somebody else who we kind of know quoting double what we think the job should cost we’re kind of stuck.

    bencooper
    Member

    Throw a stick on here and you’ll hit loads 😉

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    somebody else … quoting double what we think the job should cost

    my developer spidey sense is ringing some massive alarm bells! 😉

    5thElefant
    Member

    somebody else … quoting double what we think the job should cost

    I suspect he under-estimated by a factor of 2. 😉

    What is the existing front end written in?

    It’s best to talk in hushed tones and make no sudden movements. If you sit quietly in the dark for long enough one of the adventurous ones might scuttle past in the eternal hunt for coffee.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    There were a load of socially dysfunctional programmers talking very loudly about condoms (whilst sober) in a curry house in Cambridge the other night. Really spoiled the atmosphere. I was tempted to go over and say ‘Indoor voices please children’, but then thought better of it. Nothing worse than a pack of social miss-fits.

    I suggest posting an ad in a local curry house with a picture of a condom on the page.

    tinribz
    Member

    We go through a recruitment agency. Is that too obvious? Probably that’s the expensive option.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    If you need to do this on the cheap, you could try one of the freelancer sites like http://www.getacoder.com/ The idea is that you put a spec of the job you want doing up and someone, somewhere will bid for it and you choose who you want to do the work. Bids will come in from anywhere but especially Asia. If your job can be precisely defined and you don’t need ongoing support, it might work for you.

    If you need ongoing support or it’s complex, you need to revisit the

    quoting double what we think the job should cost

    cos good programmers are expensive (think 250-500 per day)!

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    somebody else who we kind of know quoting double what we think the job should cost

    I’d be nervous about writing an app to sit on someone else’s database.

    How did you arrive at your guesstimate for the price?

    Bimbler
    Member

    What is the existing front end written in?

    Existing front end is legacy.

    The semi finished/abandoned front end was written in, hang on I forgot (I think the developer didn’t really know it either and was using me as an opportunity to learn new skills, he then got a nice offer contracting and relegated our job to p/t then he stopped communicating altogether the plum) something web/browser friendly?

    llama
    Member

    Top tip: when describing a job to anyone vaguely professional (programmer/plumber/builder/graphic designer/whatever) do not start with ‘it’ll basically be a ……..’ (even if it is)

    Premier Icon alfabus
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    he then got a nice offer contracting

    Sounds like you weren’t paying market rate. You’ll need to pay market rate, which could account for the difference between your expectations and the quotes.

    Pay peanuts…

    5thElefant
    Member

    Computer science student doing a year in industry is your cheapest bet. You’d get one for a year for the same money as a month from a contractor. Chances are they’d be just as good too.

    Bimbler
    Member

    he then got a nice offer contracting

    Sounds like you weren’t paying market rate. You’ll need to pay market rate, which could account for the difference between your expectations and the quotes.

    Pay peanuts…

    Maybe so, the guy we ended up with was sub-contracted by the people we’d used before – but he was fully aware of the job and quoted the price in agreement with the contractors.

    Premier Icon alfabus
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    Computer science student doing a year in industry is your cheapest bet. You’d get one for a year for the same money as a month from a contractor. Chances are they’d be just as good too.

    bahahhahahahahhahahhahhahahahahahhaaa.

    sorry.

    chances are that they’d be a hacker; if you did end up with something that worked it would be completely unmaintainable and full of bugs.

    I’ve had a few IPs in the past who have been fantastic, but they are the exception, rather than the rule and even the best ones are very undisciplined.

    Imagine hiring a cheap sparky, who could get all your lights working by trial and error for a tenth of the price of an experienced tradesman who would label everything, fit it down the proper conduits and make sure you didn’t electrocute yourself when you turned the tap on to brush your teeth.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Fixing something is often more difficult than building from scratch.

    OP if you don’t know the language the front end was written in (or if it was actually finished) how can you make a call on the cost of the work ?

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    Maybe so, the guy we ended up with was sub-contracted by the people we’d used before – but he was fully aware of the job and quoted the price in agreement with the contractors.

    In that case, it sounds like he didn’t treat you very well, but I expect he would have stuck around if the price had been right. Possible that the ‘unexpected’ (which is always actually predictable) happened, and the job started to look a lot less profitable, so he bailed.

    Bespoke software is expensive. I’d advise you to find an off the shelf solution, or be prepared to invest heavily.

    5thElefant
    Member

    bahahhahahahahhahahhahhahahahahahhaaa.

    Depends on what you’re trying to do and what your budget is. Cheap and cheerful has its place.

    Premier Icon alfabus
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    Cheap and cheerful has its place.

    Agreed, but bespoke software is not it.

    5thElefant
    Member

    Agreed, but bespoke software is not it.

    The world is run by cheap and cheerful software. You may not know it’s there but it is.

    You are completely right in that if you can get an off-the-shelf solution that would always be preferable.

    Bimbler
    Member

    OP if you don’t know the language the front end was written in (or if it was actually finished) how can you make a call on the cost of the work ?

    We have an existing legacy system – we pointed at it – showed him how it worked and said – make it work like that but using sql. No problems squire. They came back with a couple of options simple front end or something a bit more whizz bang and internetsy, they pushed the latter we agreed on the quote. Was £5kish a couple of years ago, which seems fine – couple of years bit of inflation also fine – new peeps quoting £10k (no way is there 40 or even 20 days work in this project) just want to see if the old quote was too cheap as possibly alluded to by others or if maybe £10k is the going rate?

    Run a few computer languages past me I’m sure I’ll remember.

    Mackem
    Member

    VB?
    Java?
    Javascript?
    PASCAL?
    COBOL?
    RPG?
    BASIC?
    LOGO?
    Modula-2?

    Premier Icon alfabus
    Subscriber

    Run a few computer languages past me I’m sure I’ll remember.

    Ada, Fortran, LISP, COBOL, Pascal…

    😉

    Bimbler
    Member

    Found it think it was ASP.net

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Just to add to above the last project I worked on the “tweaks” to the system cost more than the licence, admittedly not a small job but the system was the most complete we could find.

    As above I would find something off the shelf or learn excel properly and do it yourself. I suspect the fixes will cost a lot because what you need is a re-write. Who knows what, if any, documentation/notes the original developer left.

    5thElefant
    Member

    new peeps quoting £10k (no way is there 40 or even 20 days work in this project)

    That’s cheap for 20 days for a short term project.

    eltonerino
    Member

    Python
    PHP
    Ruby
    ColdFusion (…ahem…)

    mulv1976
    Member

    ASP.net isn’t a language. Typically c# or VB.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
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    It was part of my job to write programmes in Fortran in 1987 ! Those where the days. LISP and Prolog in the job prior 8) Pascal at college. Now I’m feeling ancient.

    Bimbler
    Member

    new peeps quoting £10k (no way is there 40 or even 20 days work in this project)

    That’s cheap for 20 days for a short term project.

    I think the original quote was for 10 days, 80 hours. No doubt that’s cheap too, sigh.

    willard
    Member

    To be fair, getting someone decent in to do a contract that short is going to cost. 500 notes a day seems almost reasonable for a good ASP.NET developer.

    Bimbler
    Member

    good ASP.NET developer

    I don’t think he was, think he was doing it on the fly and as suggested above was looking less profitable for him so he dumped us.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    original quote was for 10 days, 80 hours.

    Did that include developing the Db?

    It sounds like it was not much more than 2 or 3 forms plus the db?

    UrbanHiker
    Member

    My company has just put some software out to tender. 3 different independent companies. All came back with rough figures of between £750 to £1200 per programmer per day. And these were fairly long, 6month+, jobs. There was even set up charges on top of that.

    Admittedly it was a fairly esoteric branch of software, but still didn’t shock us too much.

    £10k doesn’t get you much in the contract world.

    Bimbler
    Member

    Did that include developing the Db?

    How do you mean?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    designing the database (including normalising it, defining keys, foreign keys, etc), writing any stored procedures, creating maintenance plans, creating backup schedule, installing sql on the server, deploying the database etc.

    mulv1976
    Member

    Was/is there a database already in place? What is it? MSSQL, Oracle, MySQL or even MSAccess?

    In my previous life as analyst/developer most “programmers” didn’t have a clue about database design and therefore how to use SQL effectively and efficiently (by far the most important part of any database driven system IMO).

    Cheap coders have their place but if you want a job doing properly so that you don’t have to keep bodging it later or redesigning it completely, pay for someone decent. This is dependent on the size/scope of your database and system obviously. Make sure that whoever does the work spends some time going through a requirements specification with you before even touching the code.

    Bimbler
    Member

    designing the database (including normalising it, defining keys, foreign keys, etc), writing any stored procedures, creating maintenance plans, creating backup schedule, installing sql on the server, deploying the database etc.

    Database is designed we don’t need it redesigned, merely replicated – I can do it in Access surely a programmer should be able to do it without too much trouble using (MS) sql – but yes to all the other bits, all in the quote, all with hours that each should/would take.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    My company has just put some software out to tender. 3 different independent companies. All came back with rough figures of between £750 to £1200 per programmer per day. And these were fairly long, 6month+, jobs. There was even set up charges on top of that.

    Admittedly it was a fairly esoteric branch of software, but still didn’t shock us too much.

    Wow – we’re not charging enough! What sort of esoteric software are you working with?

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