Software Developers in the Cloud?

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February 4, 2014

You’re putting everything into the cloud that you can, why not your software developers too?

Let’s face it, going to the cloud makes sense; putting your data, software programs, databases and servers into the cloud is just sound business. Outsourcing your internal infrastructure to a third party vendor whose sole purpose is to ensure your cloud services are secure, backed up, and running smoothly takes a huge burden off of any IT manager’s shoulders. Instead of managing staff in-house to do these tasks and worry about fighting off attacks from hackers, IT managers can rest easy at night knowing that someone else who is better trained, better equipped, and has more experience to handle these vital functions is watching their backs.

But why stop there? You’ve seen the benefits of putting your network, servers and software programs into the cloud, but can it be done with software developers as well?  Information technology departments across the United States are overburdened and falling behind; they can’t keep up with the demands of all of the different departments within their organization. We have talked to IT managers in corporations of all different sizes and have been shocked to learn that they usually have a two year backlog of unmet demands. They have anywhere from five to ten internal software developers pushing out as much code as they can, but it’s still not enough. The IT Department is usually facing a budget ceiling that won’t allow them to hire additional staff to meet the growing demands.

The solution to staying budget-friendly and increasing your ability to meet demands can be simple: put some, part or most of your development staff into the cloud. What I mean by that is engage with a virtual staffing company whose sole purpose, just like a cloud based service provider, is to provide you with a service you need, but without the stress or resources of hosting it in-house. The staffer provides a developer and then ensures they are productive, well trained on the latest technologies, and dedicated to your company’s needs and projects. The formula for success is to turn one or two of your best senior developers into full-fledged project managers; this ensures that their qualities, standards and best practice methods are upheld with your cloud developers.

Virtual staffing firms, like Allshore Global Resources, LLC, make it possible for IT departments to get lean and budget friendly while at the same time drastically increasing productivity and cutting through their backlog. By decreasing the costs of you development staff—sometimes up to 70%— you can add more developers to your staff and become two or three times more productive than you currently are for the same amount of money and without increasing your managerial burden. When you have and maintain a large load of in-house developers, you are facing ever rising costs, sense of entitlements, Human Resource issues such as attitude and behavioral counseling, increased office space, and training. When you use a company like Allshore for virtual staffing, you have none of these headaches. Allshore handles all of it for you, just like a cloud services provider handles your software updates, maintenance and security.

Now let’s consider the costs of staying in-house versus going into the cloud with your software developers.  The following graphs depict what software developers cost on a national average when you add up all of the extra benefits that you must pay on top of their salary.

Level III Software Developer: $136,500 (
Chart 1

Level II Software Developer: $109,063 (

Chart 2

Level I Software Developer: $83,636 (
chart 3

By subcontracting with a virtual staffing company, you only pay for the work that is done.  Never again worry about office space, buying the latest and greatest computers or maintaining your expensive software licenses—let your software development cloud company do that for you.

You can expect to pay around $36,000 – $46,000 per year per developer in this environment. So, if your costs for an in-house developer are in the $110,000 range, you can have nearly three “cloud” developers and a host of other support personnel for the same cost.
Of course not all staffing companies are created equal; I am sure many can attest to the phrase “too good to be true.” But that is true of all industries, some companies are dedicated to an honest business and some are not; some companies can deliver on their promises and some are in over their heads. When choosing a staffing firm, the decision should be treated like a partnership and you have to take the time to choose a company that is a good fit for your business. Not every solution is right for every company, so consider carefully what your needs are and then find the right individual solution.

What should I look for in a virtual staffing firm?

This is the tricky part.  With thousands and thousands of firms in the world promising to provide you the best experience and the most successful projects, it becomes daunting trying to find the right one.  Here are some things to consider and look for when searching for the right firm.

Is the virtual staffing firm headquartered in the United States of America?
This is big for many reasons.  If you choose to go with an offshore firm, then you do so at your own risk. International laws are fuzzy, and most attorneys that understand them will cost you more than what it’s worth to seek justice if something fails. Stay with an American firm that has American customer support and American owners that understand your business culture and needs.

What guarantees are offered and will they back them up?
Ask what types of guarantees are they willing to offer you. Anything short of “never pay for unproductive work” is a poor guarantee.  Guarantees are supposed to make a business owner cringe when they promise them. It should be something substantial. Next, can they or will they be held accountable if push comes to shove?  If you use an offshore headquartered firm, good luck.  If you use an American-based and headquartered firm, then your chances have increased dramatically that they will indeed hold up their end of the bargain.

What time zone are the developers working in, can they speak English and does your project managers have direct access to them?
Project communication and collaboration are a huge part of making a cloud development scenario work.  You have to have developers working your business’ time zone and you have to have direct access to them.  They must speak and understand English, must be highly educated in their respective technology and must have access to the latest technologies. If a virtual staffing provider can’t offer you senior level, English speaking developers in your time zone, the risk and hassle can quickly outweigh the advantages.

Can you interview the developers you wish to work with?
Make sure your virtual staffing firm allows you to interview and speak with the developer they plan to give you before you sign any contracts.  You should have some say over who your developer will be. It’s been my personal experience that most staffing firms in the world promise you amazing developers that will work whatever time zone you want, only to find out via several hundred interviews that they can’t even provide me with competent HTML coder. Do not believe what they promise, always do your homework.

Will the virtual staffing firms allow you access to your developers desktop while he works?
If the answer is no, then walk, no run away very fast. You want to work with a firm that has nothing to hide. You are paying for that “cloud” developer, it only makes sense to be able to see what you are paying for anytime you want to.

You’ve seen the costs, now see how far your budget can go when you compare an in-house development staff with taking your software development into the cloud with Allshore.

In-house verses cloud

It’s time to consider the possibilities of a lean, mean and highly productive IT department in today’s ever changing world. Don’t be left behind, be innovative, be smart and put everything that you can into the cloud, even your software development.