Hiring Developers in Chicago: What the Experts Say

Chicago has a growing reputation as a global tech hub with a diversified economy and strong talent pool. Recently, this was confirmed when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that 16 local technology companies have added or will be adding a combined total of 2,000 jobs in the city in 2018 and 2019.

“Chicago’s tech scene is diverse, young, and thriving,” Mayor Emanuel told World Business Chicago (WBC). “With each passing year, new offices are being opened, new jobs are being created, and new ideas are coming to life, driving innovation and growth, and furthering Chicago’s place as a leading hub of the 21st century.”

With the growing strength of Chicago’s tech community, the city has become a popular location for startups, incubators, and accelerators. Of this large tech community, the top tech occupation in the greater Chicagoland area this year is software and web developers, CultureFit’s “2018 Hiring Trends Report” found. The same report showed that there is a technology labor shortage as high as 50 percent in some categories. This means finding and retaining labor is more difficult than ever.

If you’re looking to tap into the local talent pool and hire and retain the best developers the area has to offer, check out these four tips for recruiting developers in Chicago.

1. Scope out developer meetups

A good way to begin recruiting developers in Chicago is to attend various developer meetups around town, Amelia Baer, the marketing lead at a Chicago-based custom mobile app development, Punchkick Interactive, told Built In Chicago. Baer says the best way to recruit developers at meetups is to go looking to genuinely meet people, rather than attending in a sales way to just fill a role.

“Go to genuinely learn more about what’s exciting for developers so you can connect with them on a more knowledgeable level,” Baer explained.

There are all sorts of tech-related meetups all over the U.S., including in Chicago. For instance, meetup.com lists a range of technology meetups, such as IT Infrastructure Architecture Technology Seminars, the Midwest Immersive Technology Meetup, and the Technology for Women Meetup Group.

2. Consider internal options

In addition to her advice to attend developer meetups, Baer also told Built In Chicago that looking internally within your company can lead to a great source of developer candidates. Baer says this tactic has even worked for her in the past.

“In looking for great developers, at Punchkick, we’ve found great success in turning to our own team members and their networks of friends in the profession,” Baer said.

When beginning your search for developers within your company, ask around for referrals from staff for qualified engineers. Chances are, your developers will know other great developers. This approach can help you to find not only impressive and highly skilled developers, but also ones who will be a great fit for your company culture as well.

3. Search throughout the city

When recruiting developers in Chicago, it’s important to know where to search around the city for great talent. Below are a couple places you can seek out developers where you know they are sure to be present.

Hackathons: Programming events such as hackathons bring developers together to create new software and test the abilities of different programs. Check out events such as BuiltWorlds Hackathon, FaithTech HACK: Chicago, and MARS HACKATHON, all held in Chicago.

Conferences: In addition to hackathons, you’re likely to find great developers at tech conferences.

Career fairs: Lastly, do a Google search for career fairs in the Chicago area. No matter what level developer you’re looking for, there is likely a career fair in the city that will have the type of talent you’re looking for, as different level career fairs from university graduates to highly skilled professional developers are common.

4. Look into nearshoring to South America

As an alternative to going through all the time-consuming efforts to find a local talent when recruiting developers in Chicago, consider nearshoring tech talent in South America for necessary additions to your team or company instead.

There are various benefits of nearshoring when recruiting developers including the following:

  • Real-time collaboration, since time differences are minimal or non-existent

  • Cost savings in labor and freight spending

  • Better access to the right skills

  • Greater speed to market

  • Improved control over your company’s supply chain

  • Increased control over intellectual property

While cost efficiency is one of the greatest factors of nearshoring to South America for developers, the process of nearshoring rather than recruiting local talent saves you time, especially if you partner with a staff augmentation firm. Hiring talented and qualified developers through a staff augmentation agency that will build the team for you eliminates the time and effort it takes for you to work your way through the entire hiring process yourself.

If you’re looking for top-notch talent, and you’re ready to hire a nearshore developer or dev team, contact us. Let’s chat about your next developer!

Dec 05, 2018