So you’re looking to hire a new developer to join your team. In order to attract top talent, you’re going to need to build a clear and concise job description as the first step of getting your project up and running.

First, you need to figure out what type of developer you need, and construct the job description accordingly.

I don’t speak your language

Two terms are tossed around in the industry – front-end and back-end. These can get a little confusing and their differences are also a bit blurry at times. Front-end is often described as the user side and can be deemed “web design.” Back-end on the other hand is usually referred to as the server-side. Usually when a developer says they are a “web developer” they mean back-end.

Front-end

Front-end encompasses everything a user interacts with on the website, including design and some languages like CSS and HTML. There are many different jobs associated with front-end, and titles are very subjective. While front-end developer may have a specific meaning at one organization, its meaning may be completely different at another organization.

For example, “web designer” finds common consensus as a front-end developer job title. But even “web designer” can be confusing, because the job of the web designer can be quite broad and involve many responsibilities. For example, in one company a web designer can be someone who builds a website by designing the sites in a software such as Photoshop and won’t lay hands on the code. In another company, a web designer could be the person who conducts as the design comps in Photoshop and be in charge of creating the CSS and HTML that go hand in hand with it. But this is a different story.

What you should expect from a front-end developer’s skills and knowledge base:

  • Knowledge of CSS, JavaScript, and HTML
  • JavaScript frameworks – Ember, AngularJS, and so on, as well as JS-based programs such as Grunt and Bower
  • CSS preprocessors such as LESS and Sass
  • Libraries such as jQuery
  • AJAX

This is not an exhaustive list, as there are many more skills associated with front-end, and usually front-end developers will have a mastery of both front-end and back-end technology, like solution stacks like LAMP or MEAN, and back-end programs such as Java, Ruby, and Node.

Back-end

Back-end, or the server-side, is fundamentally what goes on behind the site – the processes, updates, and edits. This of course, is everything the user cannot see or interact with in the site, like the servers and databases. More commonly, the people who are responsible for the back-end are referred to as developers or programmers. Back-end folks are concerned with structure, content, and security, and can work with languages such as CSS and HTML, but that’s definitely not what they’re concentrated on. Back-end programming is crucial to building a dynamic browser, a fun and interactive changing site that continuously updates in real-time.

Back-end developer skillset: 

  • RESTful Services
  • HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • CRUD
  • Server-side languages Python, PHP, Java, and so on
  • API design and development
  • Database tools such as Oracle, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.
  • Web server technologies
  • Frameworks related to server-side language
  • Unit testing, debugging, etc. 

…And so much more.

Fullstack JavaScript developers will also have a blend of front-end and back-end skills, usually centered around MEAN.

Building the job profile

Once you figured out what developer you need on your team, the next crucial step is to define your project.

Defining your project

Clearly defining your project’s requirements and responsibilities will help attract the right talent and sift out unnecessary applications. Developers are as diverse as the skills they possess, so it’s crucial for applicants to realize which tools they’ll be working with the most to assess their ability to fulfill the job.

Another important part is to define the project’s duration and time to completion. Development projects can last days, weeks, or months, so it’s useful to include it in the description to let developers know how hefty the work will be and for how long they can plan to work on it.

Finally, a crucial part of any endeavor is to divide it up into bite-sized chunks and highlight the specific goals and deadlines for it. While these details don’t have to be included in the job description itself, it’s important to have them in mind to discuss with prospective applicants.

Writing the project description

Now that you have defined the project, here’s the fun part: writing it out.

The manner in which you write a project description will determine what kind of programmer you will attract. It’s important to be brief yet detailed enough that developers can accurately submit their proposals and effort/time estimates for your project.

We can divide this up into 3 sections:

  1. Title

Get creative and come up with a catchy title. Are you searching for a front-end, a back-end, or a full stack programmer? The title can feature any specific technologies or development methods that are important for the role you’re looking to fill.

  1. Body

This should be a concise overview of the project. Define what you’re looking for and what you’re looking to achieve. Mention the specific skills, languages, frameworks, and other technologies you need and what the developer can expect to be responsible for once on the job.

  1. Final remarks

Mention desired development agenda and output you’re looking to achieve.

  1. Company description

This section can go both before or after the project description. Here you can give a brief description of you are, what your company does, company culture, and any details that will make a developer want to work for you. Keep this section simple and fun.

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