My academic team is looking for a programmer to take our individual outputs and integrate them together into a single graphical user interface. The job will last at most 6 months and at most we can afford a junior developer salary. The separate pieces of code are rough and ready and written in at least two different languages (R and Python).

Traditionally, uni job ads tend to go to other researchers, but we need a dedicated programmer. On the other hand, the work will probably seem quite isolated, unstructured and without direction to someone acquainted to working within a development team. Although we are a friendly bunch and will help where possible, they will need to come up with the design and then integrate the code with little input from the rest of us. I'm concerned that we won't find someone who is comfortable in this environment.

How might we reach the kind of person we need - and who even is that person?

Edit in case the downvotes are due to a lack of clarity about the salary.

The maximum salary that a our budget can afford is a junior developer salary. I certainly don't mean to suggest that the job is somehow straightforward - indeed, I think it's very tough.

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    Why do you believe this to be a junior level position? – Dan Pichelman Jan 4 '16 at 18:43
  • +1. That's a job for an old grumpy programmer. In France, I'd say you to directly ask for a consulting company(they hire 80% of programmers over there), but for other countries, I'm not sure. – gazzz0x2z Jan 4 '16 at 19:05
  • @Dan I didn't say I believe it's a junior position. I think it's a tough job and besides wouldn't exclude anyone for having more experience. I said it would command a junior salary, because academic budgets (in the UK at least) won't stretch beyond that. – Gabriel Jan 4 '16 at 21:39
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    The downvotes are presumably because this post comes across as asking for advice on how to hire someone below market rate to work on a project without sufficient support and that, depending on the number of "outputs" you need to integrate, has an unrealistic time-frame. The reason your question is still negative is because people on this site have the unfortunate and bizarre tendency to answer questions even when they don't consider them worthy of an upvote. – Lilienthal Jan 4 '16 at 22:21

As a developer I can tell you that what you're describing does not sound like a junior level project, especially not in that time frame, and dealing with code written in multiple languages.

I see two main ways of dealing with this:

1. Full-time dev

You can try to post a job description, but the low wage / high stress + responsibility situation is probably not going to attract too many people. Still, someone might take it on a contract.

Write up a job description and post it on local job sites. Maybe contact a staffing agency, although paying their rates may cut into your budget, and lower your chances of finding a good candidate.

2. Student co-op opportunity

Hire a pair of co-op students from your own institution, or some other local one. There are plenty of development students in their 3rd and 4th year who've already had some workplace experience but are looking for another co-op or part-time job. Paying a lower wage on a part time basis would probably be a lot more acceptable to students, and you would be able to maybe get one person who can deal with each language.

Furthermore, an ambitious project such as this one gives them the opportunity to pad their resumes, so they may be more driven to succeed than a full-time dev who thinks the pay is terrible and is looking for another job on the side.

In my opinion this is your best bet as far as the limited time-frame and low compensation are concerned, as no one who is an expert will really be interested.

If you choose to follow this route then contact the institutions offering those programs. They typically have internal websites to advertise such opportunities to students. If you approach a program coordinator and explain the situation that person may even be able to recommend some top students to you, or send an email to their own classes, etc. (aka advertise for you).

Having two students work together also removes the "isolation" problem - just be flexible with the hours/telecommuting, etc.

Good luck!

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    Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what I was thinking for both points. – enderland Jan 4 '16 at 19:17
  • Great points, thanks. I don't know why this question got downvoted - especially when other users like yourself take the time to post great answers. I wonder if I came across dismissive of developers by suggesting the low salary. – Gabriel Jan 4 '16 at 22:04
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    @Gabriel - it's totally possible that some devs took umbrage, lol, but also the question is a little bit outside of the site format, so ... c'est la vie. The important thing is if the people who do reply gave you some useful information. – AndreiROM Jan 4 '16 at 22:19
  • Hiring students sounds like the way to go here. Whether they're paid in credits, tuition or bare cash is largely irrelevant and usually determined by the university but the first two will allow the OP to stretch his budget a lot further. – Lilienthal Jan 4 '16 at 22:24

You'll have great difficulty finding a person that will do the job well if you're offering a junior salary.

From your description, it sounds like the role will involve a lot of independent working, negotiations with multiple stakeholders and design skills. None of those are skills which junior software developers typically possess. If you want this job done right, you need to put some more money in the kitty - quite probably a lot more.


I think this sort of job would be best done by a consultant, freelancer type, who is used to planning and implementing things themselves rather than relying on a team. So that is the sort of person to look for.

Having said that, the chances of getting a competent person on the renumeration described is very slim. If you can get hold of a skilled person in another country where your junior dev pay is worth a decent amount, that might be the way to go. They could do everything remotely and still make a decent amount for where they are.


Describe that kind of a job in an ad and see what you get, interview candidates and ask them how why they feel they would be good for that kind of position. There's a lot of introverts out there (and a lot of them become programmers). I think the only thing holding you back in successful recruiting in this situation is the fact that you're considering isolated work this terrible thing that everyone wants to avoid, when it is not necessarily (and the "junior developer salary" might be hurting you a bit).

Remember that different people have different psychological makeups. Just because our culture veers towards "team players" doesn't mean that everybody wants to be all the time.

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