App development · Freelancing

Is it detrimental to outsource code?

Konstantin Voyku QA Engineer at StarOfService

May 30th, 2017

I’m trying to get my MVP out ASAP. I’ve been doing as much as I can but I only taught myself to code three years ago and I don’t even know if I’d get by as a junior dev at another startup. To make up for the gaps I’ve been outsourcing some of the code on freelancing sites. The app development is chugging along (it’s good not great), but I’m wondering if this is something I should pause until A. I can either code the entire thing by myself or B. I can afford to outsource the entire thing. Is this destined for mediocrity if I continue on like this?

Mahesh J Been working with startups for more than 4 years, building

Last updated on June 1st, 2017


If you have a co-founder who can hustle on the business side of things, you could sit down and code. For any startup, getting the word out even before you launch is very important. You have to spend a lot of time on it. So your decision will depend on the time/money you have and your business goals.

Any typical project has three dimensions to it - time, money, quality. As the theory goes, you can maximise only two of them.

You basically have 3 options

1. Do it yourself

2. Build an in-house team

3. Outsource

Look at your constraints and act accordingly. For example, if you have less time and you feel that it'll be long journey to code it yourself, then go ahead and invest into an outsourced team - which means you spend more money depending on the quality you are looking for. If you decide to outsource, then make sure to define the scope of the project as clearly as possible, or you'll end up spending more money and waste time.

It's better to build an in-house team once you've validated your idea and you have the money to sustain the team for the long term.

Javier Romero Senior Developer at CoFoundersLab

May 30th, 2017

Hi Konstantin,

I have a question for you. Do you like programming?

If so, get knowledge and go ahead with your project.

If this is not the case, I advise you not contract develop temporary people because it will be a difficult code to maintain.

Every programmer has his methods.

Kevin Smothers Founder & CEO of a tech startup.

June 1st, 2017

It depends on a few factors. It's not just about the code either.

  1. First, you need to make sure that outsourcing is a good fit for your goals. Are you in a position to wait until tomorrow for a new feature, bug, etc to be tended to? Do you have the ability to wade through the communication issues that can arise with a team that has a different first language, and/or is on the other side of the planet, causing you to sleep less, as you need to correlate scheduling for meetings, etc.
  2. If you're good with point #1, then yes it's okay to outsource code, as long as you have someone that can inspect the codebase regularly (daily) to ensure that the code is being written with quality, security and scalability in mind. Code is a beautiful thing, but if not written well, it can be the downfall of your entire project.

So be sure it fits your goals and needs and make sure the code quality is where it needs to be.