Is it a problem to hire a young freelancer for software development?

No. It’s not.

Well.

It can be.

There is a lot of great things about young freelancers, but there are also some challenges. If you understand them, you can use them and mostly get their benefits, as long as you understand what challenges there might be.

When I write young, I typically mean 23 years or younger. Of course you cannot make such a rule. I’ve met 21 year olds who acts like top professionals, but to actually get the point across it’s ok to generalize.

Benefits of using young freelancers for software development

  • They have an amazing positive attitude
  • Loads of energy
  • Very affordable
  • They understand new technologies
  • No respect for weekends

The first two are important. Getting a young freelancer on your team gives a great amount of energy. They want to try new things, they want to learn and they are open to learn.

One of my recent freelancers kept asking me “How am I doing? How can I improve?” Their energy is amazing, and results are often really, really good.

Because of their energy, they also spend a lot of time doing things right. They want to deliver the best possible product, and that means they often have time to get the details right.

In addition, that can be quite affordable. A mid-thirties freelancer knows his worth, and doesn’t want to work for 15 USD an hour and forget to charge for all hours spent. That means you can get extremely good results for very affordable amounts.

The technologies they use are also new. They don’t want to spend their time on a boring legacy technology that won’t be used years in the future, so you also get challenged on the technology decisions, which is great for the team.

Last and not least, I often get 7 days of work per week. Since they don’t have family yet, they just want to do awesome things. That means they don’t care if it’s Tuesday or Sunday; works get done all days of the week which is amazing.

The benefits are clear – but it’s important to remember there are disadvantages as well:

Disadvantages of using young freelancers for software development

  • While they understand new technology, they don’t understand the pitfalls
  • Lack of experience gives problems
  • Not very detailed communication

For those who have been in software development for a while know that the new thing is not always the best thing. Yes, a new technology might do something smart, but it might not be around in 5 years.

A typical example of this is with the new beautiful single page applications (SPAs). Single page applications are beautiful, highly converting and in general a nice thing. They’re often coded in a Javascript MVC library (don’t worry about that), but that means something very important:
By default you don’t get any rankings in the search engines.

That means a young freelancer might make a great site, but it will never get indexed in Google. If your business is relying on results from Google, that is a pretty big problem.

This is also a lack of experience. If you’ve been in software development for a while, you know you always have to consider things like:

  • The texts you put on the website
  • How you handle security
  • Marketing / user experience
  • Tracking of data

That means you can ask the right questions. Young freelancers won’t ask those questions, because they don’t know it’s important.

In addition, the communication is not very professional and detailed. A more experienced freelancer will often condense their communication into a few important questions and summary, while a young freelancer might write a huge novel.

But is it a problem to hire them?

Definitely not. Chances are you will have a great experience with it.

Enjoy!

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