Good developers are expensive. But you can find them and hire them without spending much money at all.

There are several relatively inexpensive ways you can find talented developers:

  • Sponsor hackathons. For a few thousand dollars, you can get your company in front of a lot of developers, and even get them building projects with your APIs and SDKs.
  • Present academic papers at conferences. If you already have talented engineers on your team, incentivize them to write academic papers. They can then present these papers at conferences, which can help your company impress and attract new developers.
  • Visit student competitions. If you’re looking to hire fresh college grads, you can meet them personally at college demo days and entrepreneurship competitions. These developers are usually a lot more ambitious than your average career fair participant.
  • Host meetups. Tech-related meetup groups are constantly looking for new venues to host their events. If you provide the pizza and beer, the developers will feel grateful. You’ll get a few minutes before the talk to pitch your open positions to the participating developers.

These are all strong long-term strategies for building social capital among developers that will gradually translate into interested applicants.

There’s also a cheaper, more immediate way to find developers: niche job boards.

If you’re just looking for one developer, and you can’t wait six months to build up the brand recognition needed to start attracting them, you should consider posting on niche job boards. General job boards like had their heyday in the early 2000’s when they succeeded in getting job seekers and employers used to connect to the Internet. But new, specialized job boards are starting to emerge. These niche job boards offer you an inexpensive way to get your company in front of tightly-targeted groups of developers. Not only does this net you relevant applicants, but it also raises awareness of your company and the technologies you hire for.

If you know what you’re looking for, there are tons of targeted ways you can inexpensively find and hire developers. Some are faster than others.

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