In-House vs Outsourced Development: Why More Isn't Always Better

It’s better to have a good remote developer rather than a bad local one. At the same time, a great remote developer will be better than a good local one. Regardless of whether it’s in-house or outsourced, a top developer is a top developer!

More often than not, employers usually don’t understand what a combination of remote or overseas hires would look like. Further, businesses often engage outsourced developers as they think they can save money.

The process usually looks like this:

  • They place a classified advert on websites like Upwork or Craigslist
  • They receive a bunch of responses from cheap developers across the world
  • The company decides that it’s better to go a tier higher than the cheapest developer (usually around <$5 per hour) thinking a higher rate indicates higher quality
  • The company ends up hiring unqualified or low-skilled developers
  • The project falls apart before the company even begins to notice

This, in turn, results in the following:

  • Code audit
  • Refactor
  • Sunk
  • Escalating costs

This kind of scenario is usually the result of the misconception that a bigger team is a better team (the more programmers that you have onboard, the more coding you can get done). Further, this also happens because companies believe that the average hire is the cheaper option.

Developing software is not an easy task to accomplish successfully. The idea that hiring x number of coders automatically increases your output and speed is not based on facts.

Instead, the reality is that companies are paying more money to get more coding done, but it ends up turning into a refactoring nightmare with incorrect metrics and unscalable buggy software.

It’s like the old saying goes, always look for quality, not quantity.

Great coders, programmers, and engineers are usually more productive than their average counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that the skill-to-production curve is completely non-linear. Further, these top developers can also be found beyond your shores.

But hiring top talent from abroad isn’t enough to guarantee great output. Sometimes companies can hire senior developers from abroad and fail to effectively integrate them into the company and the development team.    

When that happens, it often looks like this:

  • The company hires three to four cheap low-quality programmers
  • Then they hire a senior developer (who costs as much as the rest of the team) to manage them (hoping that his or her skills and experience will enhance the productivity of the whole team)
  • The new senior developer ends up spending most of the time cleaning up after the rest of the sub-par team
  • The company fails to reap the advantages of having a senior developer onboard as a result of a gap in quality within the team

In the beginning, the company will believe that they have made a great move by hiring four to five IT professionals for the price of two or three (a senior developer and a team of low-quality engineers for the price of two senior developers). 

But the reality is that they haven’t built a great team (not even close), instead, they have just built a large team. At the end of the day, the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input. Further, in this situation, the senior developer may have been able to do more by themselves than spend all their time cleaning up someone else’s mess.

As a result, if you’re looking offshore for coders, as a rule, it’s better to avoid seeking out the cheapest option. Think about it, why would an individual who is good at their job be available for minimum wage?

Preference should be given first to in-house or local hires, but when you can’t do it because of a lack of talent or budget, remote employees or remote developers can work out to be a great option.

At the same time, it’s important to note that when it comes to productivity, working with remote talent is getting pretty close to working with in-house developers. Further, a lot of overseas talent are senior programmers who are quite extraordinary and know what they’re doing. But they have to be able to communicate effectively and take pride in their work.

As a result, the best approach is to hire one top engineer over three low-quality developers. When you’re able to, hire another top engineer to build your development team.

Always choose the best and not the cheapest option. By following this philosophy, you’ll end up with overseas teams that are at least ten times in their totality to create a super team that’s highly efficient and effective.

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    Vik is our Brand Journalist and Head of Online Marketing / PR with 11+ years of international experience in IT B2B. He's also a guest blog contributor to Business2community, SitePoint, Journal of mHealth, Wearable Valley and other IT portals. You can contact him directly on LinkedIn.