Companies Hiring Coding Professionals

By Nikhil Abraham

There’s no way around it — all industries are experiencing a massive shortage of talent who can code. Employers are looking for talent wherever they can find it. People with traditional and nontraditional backgrounds, and those who want to work in an office or work remotely are all finding companies that need help.

The two general types of coding jobs are full‐time positions in companies and contract or freelance work.

Full‐time jobs

Companies of various sizes hire people who have just learned how to code for full‐time positions. The size of the company can have pros and cons when it comes to hiring people who have just learned how to code:

  • Large companies: Companies with more than 1,000 employees, such as Fortune 500 companies and large tech companies including Yahoo!, Google, and Facebook have high standards for hiring employees. Given the number of applications they receive for each open position, recruiters at these companies usually use a strict screening process and grant interviews only to people who have a computer science, math, or engineering‐related major.

    However, for those people who do pass the hiring screen and are eventually hired, there are many resources, both formal programs and people who can help coach and train you to increase your skills.

    Almost every large company has an online application. Send in your application online, and then find an advocate, someone at the company who believes in your candidacy, to help your application pass to the interview stage.

  • Medium‐sized companies: Of the three types of companies, getting hired at a medium‐sized company can be hardest. With their large recruiting departments, candidates have to interview with as many people as in large companies. In addition, medium‐sized companies typically do not spend as much money on training as large companies.

    One successful strategy to getting hired permanently in a medium‐sized company is to freelance first, which helps you build up your reputation and allows the company to assess your skills in a low risk way.

  • Startups: With less than 20 employees, startups often desperately need coding talent and are small enough to make hiring decisions quickly. They don’t have a formal recruiting staff, so you should develop a personal connection with the person doing the hiring. Startups don’t have extensive training programs, and you are expected to contribute immediately. However, the small company size should help you form personal relationships with your engineering coworkers, who can help answer questions and informally train you.

    In the beginning, successful startups often have so much work and are so short staffed that having anyone do the work is better than having no one. For this reason, startups decide on candidates quickly, rather than wait for the best person for each role.

  • Government: City, state, and federal governments and their agencies have thousands of internship and full‐time job openings for coders. Depending on the agency, the application process can be time consuming, and require proof of U.S. citizenship, extensive background checks, and completion of qualifying exams. Applicants can use USAjobs.gov to search across all federal opportunities, and individual state government websites for opportunities in a specific state or city government.

Freelancing and contract jobs

Companies of all sizes hire freelancers to do discrete projects that are not overly complex and have a definite end date. For example, freelancers often build a website with a few defined pages, create mobile apps, or scrape and store data from websites into databases. Getting some of the initial work performed by a freelancer helps a company see how much time and money a project will cost and whether there is a need to hire a full‐time employee.

Contract work also provides freelancers with some valuable benefits. Even for full‐time coders, doing some contract work is a great way to build up skills in a new programming language or framework. Also, because coding work can be done from anywhere, freelancers have a good deal of flexibility and don’t necessarily have to sit behind a desk in an office.

For example, some freelancers travel often for pleasure, and can be found working in cities such as Boston one month and Bali the next month. Finally, some coders freelance full‐time, and build their business by doing work for existing clients and pitching new work to client referrals.

One issue with freelancing is that you are always looking for the next job. A few websites, such as Freelancer and Upwork, formerly odesk.com, help provide freelancers with steady work by creating communities that connect employers and freelancers.

Upwork helps freelancers find and bid on contract coding jobs.

Upwork helps freelancers find and bid on contract coding jobs.

These sites create online reputations for both freelancers and companies, which helps each side feel more confident that the work will be completed and the agreed upon amount will be paid.