Web & Programming

Free Guide: How To Hire A Developer.

Sure, if you have a really strong technical background (or have been around the block when it comes to programming projects), hiring a developer is simple. You know what’s needed for the job and how to hire a programmer with the perfect skills and experience. Done. Have a cup of coffee, then back to work doing your own job.

But for many of us, determining how to hire a coder can be problematic. If this includes you, the simple fact is that you’re probably not even sure where to begin? Especially given so many technical issues you have to consider. That’s why Elance has created a hiring resource center for answeriFree How To Hire A Developer Guideng your questions on hiring developers and helping you to more easily locate the ideal coder.

Begin by downloading a free guide: How To Hire A Developer.

Among the many resources you’ll find in our resource center is a valuable “how to” guide that outlines the strategies and tips for hiring a developer. Download your copy of How To Hire A Developer for advice that’s sure to save you time and money, plus help you get the job done right.

The comprehensive guide covers the entire process – from scoping your project to finding and hiring a programmer – including:

• What kind of developer you should hire (PHP developer, iPhone developer, etc.)

• Recruitment strategies

• Choosing the right candidate

• How Elance can help you succeed

Within the pages you’ll discover 5 winning strategies for every step you’ll go through when you hire a coder, whether you need to hire a mobile programmer, web developer or whatever. This includes eye-opening info such as the cost of a bad hire, top 10 mistakes often made when hiring a developer, good hires vs. bad hires and more.

You’ll also learn when hiring online freelancers make the most sense, and what advantages Elancers offer vs. full-time staff or offline hires. Topics covered include more easily surfacing the best talent through online feedback and ratings, faster time to completion, getting more from your budget, and higher quality of work through teams with specialized talent.

Plus the free guide is just one tool you’ll find in the resource center. There’s also a guide for hiring a mobile developer and guide for hiring an iPhone developer, as well as videos and webinars, white papers, related articles and other documents to help take the trial and error out of hiring a programmer. Get started by getting How To Hire A Developer.

Freelancers who want to drop a subtle hint (you?), may want to let potential clients know about this free guide too. It’s sure to give them food for thought on how you can help them grow their business.

We’ll also be creating more hiring guides and updating these guides. If you have suggestions on what you would like to see included in the guides, please let us know in the comments section below. Thanks!

Programmers: How To Get Into The Zone And Code With Flow.

Occasionally we invite professionals to wax poetic about issues of importance to the Elance community. Here are some thoughts from Per Jonsson, Co-Founder and CEO of Jumpstarter.

Note: Jumpstarter is offering an exclusive offer to the first 100 Elance fans who respond to their special promotion – get access to Jumpstarter today by using the invite code: ELANCE100 (register at http://jumpstarter.io/register. You can setup and install your favorite framework in less than a second, literally.

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At Jumpstarter we asked ourselves: What is it that developers really want?  We of course had our own ideas, but the only way to know for sure was by stepping away from our laptops to talk to fellow coders — and lots of them. After speaking with hundreds of developers there is one desire we kept hearing over and over: the one thing they crave is to be in a productive state of mind, absorbed in code, with zero distractions. They want to be in the Zone. In that amazing state of mind where things just work.

Being in the Zone is a lovely feeling. Time flies by. You feel in control. You’re creative and able to focus on a single challenge almost effortlessly. You get plenty of things done without even realizing how much you’ve accomplished. And you feel good about it. Actually, you feel great about it. It’s a wonderful place to be.

That feeling is also known as a state of mind called flow which is a part of positive psychology. Many researchers have been investigating the flow state and there are some things they all agree on. One of them is that to be able to find flow you have to clear away all distractions in your work environment.

Unfortunately, working as a freelance developer is not always like this. Customers ask questions. Emails drop in. Issues get re-prioritized. Bookkeeping and business planning gets in your way. Lunch breaks occur. Meetings interrupt. Facebook beckons. And, as developers we also have to do an awful lot of context switching. We all work with local environments, version handling systems, frameworks and assets, deployment services and live hosting. And all that switching creates distractions, and lost productivity.

At Jumpstarter we saw a vision in this and created a one-click-install product which reduces the context switching and improves developer’s chance of getting into flow. But there are also other things you can do yourself. We would love to take the opportunity to share some simple, yet challenging, tips and tricks on how you can code with flow.

1. Clear goals and limitations

Decide up front what you what to achieve, specify a direction and a clear goal. Also decide on what technique to use to get there - and stick to it.

2. Focus

Pick ONE thing to focus on and put your best effort in it. No multitasking. It won’t make you more productive and it will absolutely not get you into the Zone. Let’s repeat this: focus on ONE thing only.

3. Switch off your self-criticism

Be kind to yourself. You can do this! As soon as you start observing yourself and your work from a judging point of view you will lose your flow.

4. Clear away distractions

It takes time to get into the Zone and each time something interrupts, you will have to start over.  Research shows it takes about twenty minutes to get back into flow when someone interrupts you while doing a mildly advanced task. When someone interrupts you coding, it takes much longer. Even hours. And you know it. The level of frustration you feel is a sign of that. So beware of Twitter storms, pinging emails and Facebook feeds.

5. Instant feedback

Design your task so that it will give you instant feedback. You will have to see a result of what you’re doing to be able to stay in the Zone. One way to do this is to split the task into smaller subtasks. That way you can check things off, and get into a productive flow state.

Most importantly: Make sure that the task you are working on is challenging enough.

All flow experts agree that the task can’t be boringly easy or too hard if you want to get into flow. It has to be hard enough to claim your full concentration but you also have to be convinced that you can pull it off. If not, find a way to adjust the level of challenge. And do it consciously.

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Jumpstarter is a new way for developers to work that combines development environments, framework installs, deployment and live hosting into one single product. They also help developers code with flow. And remember, there’s an exclusive offer for first 100 Elance readers – get access to Jumpstarter today by using the invite code: ELANCE100. You can register at: http://jumpstarter.io/register

Wanna Make Your Own App? New “App Making Guide” Is Now On Sale For $.99.

Have a great idea for an app?  But haven’t a clue on how to bring it to life?App Making Guide

No problem. Now there’s an easy-to-use guide that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to create your own mobile app, including how to use Elancers to make it happen.

And if that isn’t good enough news on its own, we’re also excited to bring you limited-time savings on this popular guide. It’s possible because Elance has partnered with app savant Brandon Cowan of Crazy Dog Apps for limited-time pricing on his recently-released App Making Guide. It’s now available through February 15 at Apple’s App Store for the special price of just $.99 US (you’ll find similar savings in other region’s App Stores too).

So download the app that’s all about making apps (seems oddly appropriate, eh?) to your iPhone or iPad to discover how easy and affordable it is to place your app squarely in today’s booming world of mobile.

The “App”tly-titled App Making Guide is a step-by-step handbook on how to make your app without doing any programming yourself (whew!). Written in plain-English for people who don’t know a thing about coding (read: most of us), it details the best path to take and helps keep you organized and on track. Here are some things covered in the guide:

▪ How to dream up that ”big idea” for your app

▪ How to monetize your app

▪ How to find great mobile app developers

▪ How to find great mobile app graphic designers

▪ How to write your App Store description

▪ How to promote your app to the world

▪ How to do a lot more (as in lots and lots)

The App Making Guide even helps you calculate how profitable your app will be. Whether you’re building an app to support your business or to offer-up to the general public, this guide helps gets you there swiftly.

ABrandon Cowan of Lucky Dog Appss mentioned, the App Making Guide is written by the wonderfully-talented Brandon Cowan – Co-Founder of Crazy Dog Apps. Just 19 years-old and based in Australia, Brandon is a big fan of Elance and uses many of our freelancers to develop his company’s wildly-popular apps.

A case in point is his App Making Guide, which was made using Elance talent for under $700 (US). It reached #7 on Apple’s Australian App Store (even surpassing Angry Birds!). Again, this proves that you don’t have to be a millionaire or Fortune 500 company to get a super-successful app into the market.

Download the guide and get your app built ASAP. And “Cheers” Brandon, for making your app available at a special limited-time price for Elancers (through February 15).

 

Group Hug! New Authorize.Net Group Debuts.

Great news for payment groupies everywhere: Our ever-expanding list of available Elance groups has now expanded to include the Authorize.Net Certified Developers Group.

Officially-sponsored by Authorize.Net, this group is sure to become the go-to list for businesses seeking skilled workers for payment-related projects. In case you’re unfamiliar, Authorize.Net is one of the leading payment gateways – allowing merchants to securely accept credit card and electronic check payments anywhere they want, including on websites, via mobile devices and at brick and mortar retail stores. And since we all love getting paid, the work they do is having incredible impact around the world. In addition to its Certification program, Authorize.Net offers an Affiliate program which offers generous residual payments for merchant leads.Authorize.Net Certified Developers Group

If you have mad skills working on Authorize.Net projects, join the group. And if you’re a business looking for top freelancers to tackle payment projects, you know where to find them. A warm welcome to all involved.

How WordPress is Changing Our Webosphere.

While there are richer and more robust solutions for creating websites, WordPress is steadily gaining ground as the go-to tool for entrepreneurs looking to create a simple but easy-to-manage website. Freelance web designer and writer Scott Stanton shares his perspective on this trend bringing simplicity (and great eye-appeal) to your web presence.

When first dipping my toes into the web development world (over a decade ago), there was one request that consistently brought a grinding halt to landing a new client. It was as if they were all reading from the same script. “I just want something simple, only a few pages, because I don’t have a very big budget for this. Maybe a slideshow on the homepage, other than that I’ll leave it up to you.”

No problems there – so I’d say, “Perfect.” And that was the cue for the inevitable: “Oh, and I want to easily be able to update everything as well.” Ladies and gentleman, the train has derailed.

Unbeknownst to me, about the time I was ankle deep in the development waters a little open source blogging project called b2/cafelog began. Over the next few years the project snowballed in to what we now know today as WordPress.

Cisco Certification: Too Good To Be True? Nah.

When network engineer Jeff Pewarski first earned his Cisco Certification, he soon received an email from Cisco outlining the opportunities for freelance jobs through Elance.

At first he was skeptical and figured there was a catch of some sort, perhaps a huge fee to join or some hidden costs down the road. But as Jeff soon found out, there are no fees to join Elance and as soon as he registered he was free to begin applying for jobs requiring Cisco Certified professionals.

It has been a great experience for Jeff so far. He is employed full-time and working on Cisco systems every day, and he uses Elance to find clients for weekend jobs which earn him extra money and expands his professional network. His Cisco Certification is noted on his profile and clearly visible to potential clients, which makes him stand out from the competition, and gives clients the peace of mind that they are getting someone with the required credentials.

Hot Microsoft Project? It’s Group Hug Time.

A friendly tip for our clients in the Microsoft universe:

If you want to cut to the chase finding developers for your next Microsoft-related project, look no further than our Microsoft Developers group. In one easy-to-browse spot, find a list of top-rated freelancers certified as experts by Microsoft themselves (hey, they should know). Simply sort through the list of group members – you can filter parameters – or post a job that’s seen by all members of the Microsoft Developers group.

Either way you’re on the fast track to getting Microsoft jobs done ASAP. The group is a time-saver for tackling hot projects, whether you need developers for Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure or Windows Web Technologies. The list of Elancers within the group runs the gambit across skills, locations and rates.

Case in point: One of thousands you’ll find in our Microsoft group.
Sajjad Alam is a highly successful online freelancer living in Pakistan. He uses his seven different Microsoft Certifications to get hired for jobs around the world, catching the eye of many of his clients through Elance’s Microsoft Development group.

Modern Language Wars: PHP, Ruby, and Python

In the following infographic from education website Udemy, three of the leading programming languages on Elance—PHP, Ruby, and Python—are discussed in terms of history, popularity, and ease of use. The infographic goes on to discuss the "marketability" and demand of each language. Here PHP has long-been the #1 in-demand skill, and both Ruby and Python have thousands of skilled professionals on Elance.

What do you think about the accuracy of the infographic? Do you feel any other key languages were left out of the comparison? Head over to our Facebook page and discuss!


 
Click on the following image to see the full size infographic.

SEOMoz: A Look at Google Algorithm Changes in 2011

Internet search is always in a state of constant change, which is why having a search engine optimization strategy is key. Just last month, Google itself started publishing a monthly series on their Inside Search blog about their algorithm and feature changes in an attempt to create more transparency about how their search works.

While this monthly update will likely be beneficial to many moving forward, SEOMoz, a leading provider of SEO software, just published a great infographic detailing all of the significant algorithm changes that Google has made in the past 12 months, include a version breakdown of the controversial "Panda" update.

To view the full infographic, please click the image below:


The Mobile OS Battle: What About the East?

Being a smartphone app developer has its own pros and cons. The obvious merit— one gets to work on cutting edge technology. The biggest downside—it’s often difficult to keep pace with the changing global dynamics of smartphone platforms. If the last couple of months are any indication, it would probably be wise to refrain from making any predictions on what’s coming next.

In fact, the status quo of global smartphone platforms indicates a strong geographical divide between the east and the west. While the west has its share of established leaders (iOS, Android), emerging players (WP7) and struggling tailenders (Symbian, BlackBerry OS), it’s a different story in the east. Regional players are no longer afraid to take on the might of biggies such as Apple and Google and companies such as Alibaba (Aliyun), Baidu (Yi) and China Unicom (WoPhone) have joined the fray.

Wild Wild West
In developed nations, iOS and Android currently rule the roost while Windows Phone is gradually moving up the ladder. Nokia’s attitude towards Symbian effectively means that Windows Phone will eventually replace the former as its preferred smartphone operating system sooner than later.

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