Are you the founder, CEO, or engineering lead of a startup or innovative company looking for additional talent to bring your product to life? How do you go about finding the skilled people—all those developers, designers, test engineers, data scientists, and architects—that you so desperately need?

Chances are, you’ve tried every method imaginable to hunt down tech team members—but you haven’t had much luck. You’re not alone. There’s a persistent tech talent gap that frustrates those plodding their way through traditional approaches.

Where to look

Profile searches through LinkedIn, Stack Overflow, and other sites yield minimal returns, but developers will tell you that potential employers and clients contact them every day. You can turn to your personal network, but it’s still a relatively limited pool no matter how connected you are.

You’re not likely to find the best talent within your locale—and to make matters worse, most of your competition is likely to be looking within the same area.

Let’s pause to consider the tech talent gap further. In Silicon Valley, they call it an actual talent war. Though it’s a mecca for techies, Stanford University only trains around 150 graduate students in computer science every year.

Google alone will try to hire over a thousand tech graduates this year and is willing to pay just about any price to attract them. And of course the challenge stretches this side of the pond too. 43% of Tech London Advocates members fear a shortage in tech talent will limit our digital growth.

So what’s a UK startup to do?

Smart hirers are starting to think bigger. Why limit your talent search to your own backyard? Thousands of tech students graduate from excellent universities around the world every year.

These students are looking for work and the quality of their code would blow you away—but local opportunities may not be particularly plentiful, inspiring, or well-paid.

What if you could hire these engineers and close the gap in your team’s skills? What if you could create a team of the best talent, regardless
of location? These are no longer what-ifs. Thanks to improvements in tools and global access to broadband, distributed technical teams can function seamlessly.

Open source communities have always been fully distributed, developing best practices that make today’s remote teams run like well-oiled machines. Now, commercial entities are catching up—and your business should, too. Not because distributed work is nice to have, but because it gives you a competitive advantage in the talent war.

Successful team leaders will testify that if you are not operating this way, you are, by definition, not working with the most talented people in the world.

Direct access to talent

Gone are the days when you had to do your best with what happened to be available nearby. And gone are the days when traditional outsourcing was your only option if you couldn’t find talent you needed. There is direct access to the talent you need now.

On Elance and oDesk alone, more than 9 million professionals are registered, offering thousands of skills (2500+ at last count). Among these skills, many are tech-focused and are often the very rare and high-demand skills that might be impossible to locate otherwise.

Businesses have shifted their software to the cloud, as well as their files and their communications—why not talent? Talent is the next wave, and it’s already here in the form of distributed teams working together online.

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