Ideas are a dime a dozen, which is why you might find yourself ready to take the next step and bring your app idea to fruition by getting started on the development journey. First stop: finding a lead developer or Chief Technology (or technical) Officer to take hold of the reigns on your app’s project development.
If you don’t have a tech background, you want a senior-level developer or technical officer who has first-hand experience in app development. So how to find a CTO, anyway?
Let’s take a look!
A CTO is the senior executive that leads a project’s tech needs. While entrepreneurs could just hire a team of developers, having a proper CTO can make a huge difference when it comes to your app’s success, especially if your own tech knowledge and background is limited.
A quality CTO will be able to carefully evaluate the short-term and long-term needs of the project and make all of the best choices designed to help the project hit it’s milestones.
Here is a quick overview of what the role is of a CTO:
Overall, a CTO is beneficial to have because they oversee the entire technical infrastructure of a project, they create business models, and simply bring a level of expertise that a standard developer-for-hire won’t.
We get it, as an entrepreneur running a business you’re busy, but it’s crucial to set aside more than just a few hours a week searching for a CTO. You should, realistically, be spending 20-25% of your time interviewing potential hires and trying to find the right candidate.
This is where having a CTO can come in handy—they can help steer you in the right direction when it comes to beginning your app’s development. With that said, it’s still a good idea to figure out what you need first and have a basic understanding of the technical aspect of your project before speaking to CTOs.
Do some research on the top programming languages for app development to better gauge which one may be best suited for your specific project.
Once you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to determine what your picture perfect CTO will look like. What kind of skills should they possess? What should they bring to the table?
Put together a job description of your ideal candidate with these considerations in mind:
This is probably one of the most obvious ways to find a CTO, but should be mentioned anyway. Network, network, network! Start going to places and events where you’re likely to find solid tech talent, such as conferences, hackathons, meetups, and other tech events.
Even if you don’t find a plethora of CTOs here for the picking, you might find a developer or other techie who can recommend someone or even point you in the right direction.
Aside from going to events, look within your own network to see if you can find someone for the role. Oftentimes the best candidates for a job are those who aren’t even seeking it, so don’t be afraid to reach out to those in your network who you believe have the potential to be your CTO even if they aren’t actively looking.
Stack Overflow: While Stack Overflow provides a great platform to hire remote talent, you can also use the platform to find local candidates as well.
Finding a CTO who is not only talented but is also free to join your business venture is no easy feat, and the pool of candidates may be scarce. Consider interviewing skilled senior-level developers who might fit the bill and are far easier to find.
Senior developers will have the hands-on coding skills you need, and likely have experience working with a variety of technologies, where a CTOs programming skill set may be more limited. Additionally, senior developers are often used to working with a team of lower level devs under their belt, so they can more easily fill the leadership role a CTO demands.
It should also be said that there is a clear difference between a CTO and a lead developer. Keep in mind that CTOs traditionally don’t spend much time coding. This role is more reserved for someone who is thinking about technical problems, asking questions, and coming up with the right strategy when it comes to the technical aspects of a project.
Since your app project is like a startup, chances are all hands are on deck and everyone is doing everything. But while you’re on your search, it’s good to be aware that CTOs are known to code less, whereas a Lead Developer or VP of Engineering are also leadership positions that can contribute more hands-on coding.
Once you find someone you really like for the CTO position, don’t hesitate to try them out first. Sign them on to the project for one month of consultation work before committing to anything (such as compensation or equity–though these things should be agreed upon already).
You’ll be paying them for their work, of course, but the benefit of starting off with one month is to evaluate how well this person fits into your team, the vision and talent they’re bringing to the table, and more insights that will help you feel confident in your decision.
There are all kinds of great talent out there that could potentially fit the role as CTO for your new app project—some may be coding wizards, others may be visionaries and leaders who can strategize and build a great team, some who have walked the path of an entrepreneur and some who haven’t.
The key is to get out there and talk to everyone. Get in touch with your network and branch out to others find the perfect CTO who can take the technical lead on your project and,
ultimately, make it a success.
3 min read