Career Development

How to recruit a Lead Developer in 2024?

What is a Lead Developer?

Missions of a Lead Developer

A Lead Developer is an experienced developer, technical expert in one or more languages. He works in Back, Front or both. He supervises development teams generally made up of 3 to 10 developers.

He can work on the development of a web application, software or a mobile application.

The main missions of a Lead Developer are as follows:

  • Recruit, structure, lead and manage a team of developers
  • Coordinate the work of different developers (role of technical project manager)
  • Carry out developments, particularly on the most complex subjects
  • Bring technical expertise to the most junior developers, while increasing their skills
  • Make technical choices and tools in connection with the CTO

For more information on development professions, find our dedicated job descriptions:

Key skills of a Lead Developer

In connection with his missions, the skills of a Lead Developer are twofold. He must also be a technical referent, code expert, within the company, mastering the technologies used and the development stack (Example: Java, Javascript, Python, Go, Ruby, etc.). His soft skills are also essential: Management, team leadership, mentoring and coaching of developers.

In summary, here is the list of key skills of a Lead Dev:

  • Technical expertise (mastery of programming languages, concept of code quality, etc.)
  • Management skills and team management
  • Development and technical project management skills
  • Relational quality to interact with other functions of the company

Typical training for a Lead Developer

Several training courses exist:

  • Training in computer science, in a specialized school (Epita, Epitech) or at university after the baccalaureate
  • Engineering school diploma with a specialization in computer science after the baccalaureate
  • Retraining training after a first professional experience

Experience of a Lead Developer

The experience generally sought for a Lead Developer is generally at least 5 years as a Web, Mobile, or Software Engineer dev. Ideally, the Lead Developer has initial experience supervising one or two developers, as a Senior Developer.

The number of years of experience of a Lead Developer varies, between 5 and 15 years.

Salary of a Lead Developer

The salary of a Lead Developer depends on his number of years of experience and the maturity of the company where he works.
This is a minimum of 70 k€ and can rise above 100 k€ for very experienced Lead Developers or those with very significant technical background in specific areas.

For more information on salaries in tech and startups, find our article dedicated to this subject: Startup salaries.

Frame the need for a Lead Developer

Questions to ask yourself about recruiting a Lead Developer

Here are some questions that will help you refine your search:

  • Should the Lead Developer manage Back, Front, or both teams? (see Data Science, DevOps, SRE teams).
  • What programming languages ​​and frameworks should the Lead Dev master?
  • Am I looking for a Lead Developer, i.e. a manager for dev teams, or a technical expert?

Typical profiles of Lead Developer in startups and scale-ups

Thus, several types of Lead Dev profiles are emerging in start-ups:

  • The classic Lead Developer, who arrives in an established Tech team and has a mixed position between technical expertise / developer management
  • The Lead Developer who arrives within an Early Stage startup, who must above all have the skills to develop a product from scratch (See the job description Product Manager)
  • The Lead Developer who operates in a small team (<3 people), and who will have a lot of development to do rather than management

If the first profile is a real manager, for the next two, a Senior developer profile can work. If the team is expected to grow, the idea may be to recruit a senior developer who has the potential for soft skills to subsequently become a Lead Developer.

How to find a Lead Developer?

Despite recent slowdowns in Tech recruitment, the position of Lead Developer remains in short supply in France and Europe, on a permanent basis. It is very difficult to find this type of profile, simply by posting an ad or a job offer on job boards. Job offers for Lead Dev positions remain difficult to fill, in France (Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon, etc.) and even teleworking.

It will be essential to:

  • Directly source potential candidates on Linkedin, Github
  • Use your network to identify listening candidates
  • Go through platforms specialized in Tech recruitment (, Hiresweet, Welovedevs, etc.)
  • Request the services of agencies and Tech recruitment firms or a IT recruitment firm to support you in your recruitment.

To go further, find our articles on our tips for hiring a developer as well as our guide to find a developer

To recruit a Freelance Lead Developer, you can go through specialized Freelance platforms like Malt.

What is the difference between a Lead Developer and a CTO in a startup?

A CTO (Chief Technology Officer) is the technical director of a company. He supervises all Technical teams. Beyond this management aspect, he also makes strategic technical choices for the company, and has a significant influence on the Product.

However, in Early Stage startups, it is true that the position of Lead Developer and CTO can sometimes be confused, given that at this stage, the CTO’s missions are to develop the first versions of the Product and recruit the first developers. .

Support from Licorne Society in the recruitment of Lead Developer

We support many clients in their recruitment of Lead Developer and Senior Developer profiles.

Our latest recruitment missions:

  • Recruitment of an iOS Lead Developer for a major MedTech player
  • Recruitment of a Node.js / Vue.js Lead Developer for an Early Stage startup in AI and logistics
  • Recruitment of a React.js Frontend Lead Developer for a SaaS scale-up

For more information on our recruitment services and the value proposition we offer to our clients, find our dedicated page: Recruiting firm.

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