Does an in-house developer make business sense?

The starting point must as always be, “does the decision to employ an in-house IT professional or expand your existing IT team make business sense? What is the ROI?“

The increasing pace of technology and the demand for skilled IT professionals can make hiring the right team a complicated process. If you are a smaller firm, you’ll also be acutely aware that people are your biggest expenditure- so you have to get it right. Like in any profession, simple mistakes can easily undermine your search for IT talent.

Filling a vacancy
Recruiting for a vacancy doesn’t mean simply looking for someone to fill an existing position. Smart firms look at ways to develop the role and how top IT talent can bring added commercial and reputational value to their businesses.

But for those small to medium sized firms, who don’t have a dedicated CTO, there can be a knowledge gap. Too often recruitment is based upon what you think you need, rather than viewing a vacancy as an opportunity for development. I would always recommend speaking to a trusted software developer; use them as a consultant to help you understand your needs and map out a strategy. They are also likely to know people in the industry at all experience levels and be able to provide recommendations or assist in the selection process.

Making the move to in-house
Occasionally firms decide that it makes more sense building an in-house IT team from scratch. I see this most often when a company has had a poor experience with an inexperienced developer or they have reached a point of strategic growth.

Particularly at the start of this process, working with an external software developer can be a great way to support your new internal team, freeing them up to focus on core business needs.

Team players
Whilst the best talent can bring significant benefits to your business, they need to be team players. I would personally take three junior developers on a £20,000 salary, working in a team; than one senior developer on £60k, left to their own devices.

If you’re starting with a junior developer, then consider hiring them straight out of university, before bad habits set in. If you’re looking for a more senior position, then build a relationship with your software developer or recruitment consultant so they understand your business needs.

The freelancer versus established staff
Depending on your objectives, directly employing contractors can be both costly and a continuity risk. Employing an established member of staff will require an investment in payroll and infrastructure, but over time they will certainly be cheaper and more loyal. Consider 6 month probation periods and whether the individual has additional skills, such as social media or marketing, which mean they can pick up other roles within a smaller team.

It is one of the key advantages of working with a specialist software development firm (as opposed to contractors), in that a developer behind the scene may change but you still have a single point of contact delivering results on time and on budget.

Hiring the right person for the right job increases productivity and avoids having to deal with non-performers down the road. Experienced managers have job specifications accounting for specific short-term priorities and long-term organizational objectives.

In a realistic business setting, not everyone is busy all the time. If you hire a developer with secondary skills; you can get your development done in-house while having support on hand in other parts of your business- when you need it.

George Toursoulopoulos is a financial technology specialist and Director at Synetec, one of the UK’s leading providers of bespoke financial services software solutions. George started his career with US-software giant EDS, becoming the youngest manager in the company’s history and has since gone on to lead Synetec where he has continued to deliver world-class solutions for a number of the UK’s most prestigious Hedge Funds and Family Offices. George is a regular conference speaker on the implementation of technology within the financial services industry with a particular focus on delivering ROI and improving key business drivers. George has lectured on Microsoft development and has served as a director on numerous company boards.