January 20, 2022 by Claire Jordan | Blog

4 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Programmer

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Every modern business leader should care about code — whether they run their own software, sell on an eCommerce app, or manage a WordPress site. Customers interact with businesses online now, especially as the pandemic accelerated digital transformation. In fact, Forbes states that digital transformation spending is poised to grow to $7.4 trillion from 2020 to 2023. And when you deliver better user experiences by resolving bugs and errors, you drive business revenue forward. It’s only natural, then, to invest in tools and manpower to improve your digital infrastructure.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to hire a programmer and upgrade your digital business processes.

Should You Hire a Full-Time Programmer or a Freelancer?

An article from TechRepublic on freelance software development found that COVID-19 accelerated companies’ use of remote freelance talent, with 71% of managers planning to sustain and increase their use of freelancers in the next six months. Hiring freelancers has been especially helpful, given the shortage of programmers in a high-demand industry.

It is estimated that there are 500,000 unfilled computer science jobs today, and this skills-gap will grow to one million unfilled jobs by 2024. With the challenge of hiring programmers adept in computer architecture, security, and web design, businesses should definitely weigh between hiring full-time programmers or freelancers for their requirements.

A full-time programmer would be fully committed to your team and adjust to your specifications or requests. They can also collaborate on bigger projects with other developers, which would be ideal if you want to expand and scale your digital capabilities. On the other hand, freelancers work on specific projects, then move on. They set their own pace and how they will accomplish the task; the only thing you can control is their deadline and the assignment. You can expect lower costs for freelance services.

4 Must-Ask Questions for Programmers

Once you’ve decided on whether to hire a freelancer or a full-time programmer, you can go through the interview process with them. For that, here are 4 questions you should ask:

Question # One: What Are Your Qualifications?

The first thing you will need to find out is their educational background and whether they have any credentials. This is especially important if you are hiring a programmer on a freelance basis as they may not have extensive work experience. The good news is that many of the top universities in the country are pouring resources into promoting the subject.

“It’s a golden age right now for computer science, and we’re very fortunate in this field,” says Salvatore Stolfo, a professor of computer science at Columbia University in New York City.

Graduates of these degrees are perfectly positioned to enter the workforce, with Maryville University’s computer science program demonstrating how these courses will usually offer real work experience through project-based and experiential learning. By ascertaining their educational background, you will already have a good idea of whether they are a good fit for your company.

Question # Two: Which Programming Languages Do You Work With?

According to the University of Washington’s study on learning a coding language, people with a natural aptitude for languages are likely to be strong at writing code. However, you still want to ensure your candidate is equipped with the right technical skills so you don’t spend too much on training. Ask about what languages they know, like Python, C++, or Java, and which ones they prefer. This helps you gauge their confidence in their skills, and better prepares you to onboard them.

For WordPress development, look for a programmer who can work with HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP; in particular, PHP is language best used for creating interactive and dynamic websites.

Question # Three: Can You Describe a Programming Situation When Everything Goes Wrong, And How You Overcame It?

There is no smooth sailing when it comes to code. When developing a WordPress site, you can expect to encounter some issues with security, plug-in integration, performance, and more. This question checks whether or not a candidate can persevere against tight timelines and opposing variables to navigate a crisis. You want to see evidence of problem-solving and teamwork skills, as well as positive attitudes towards time-management, team interactions, and response to feedback.

Question # Four: How Familiar Are You With Certain Tools And Systems?

With the rapid developments and changes that occur in the industry, you want a candidate with the initiative to stay on top of emerging technologies. How experienced are they with API from well-known services? Are they confident with open-source content management systems like WordPress? Can they integrate new trends in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cybersecurity to improve user experience?

You can also delve a little into their personal habits, such as how seriously they take cybersecurity. As we mentioned in our blog post on ‘Top 10 Cybersecurity Tips’, you’ll want to see if a candidate uses two-factor authentication for their accounts, and backs up data regularly. Of course, programmers can better support your business’s security with ShieldPRO.

As a leading plugin for WordPress, ShieldPRO offers a lot of features and options to ensure you get the best protection from the start.

For more insights on WordPress site security, sign up for the ShieldPro newsletter today.


Of course, you’re not limited to these four questions when vetting talent, but they can guide you towards better understanding your candidates. Keep in mind that you want to get a good grasp of a potential hire’s skills, personality, and initiative to grow before getting them on board with your team.

Are there other questions you think recruiters absolutely need to ask programmers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Written exclusively by Claire Jordan for getshieldsecurity.com.

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