A comprehensive guide on how to hire top Scala developers

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A Scala developer uses the high-level programming language Scala to build scalable and robust software applications. They often work on backend systems, data analysis tools, and even full-stack web applications. Their object-oriented and functional programming expertise makes them versatile in solving complex programming challenges.

Hiring the right Scala developer can greatly improve system performance and scalability. However, a bad hiring decision could lead to setbacks – like inefficient code and delayed project timelines.

But don’t worry – we’re here to help. In this article, we guide you through the specifics of hiring Scala developers, from understanding their unique skills to figuring out when and how to bring them on board.

What do you need to know before hiring a Scala developer?

It's important to know what makes Scala developers different, what their role could mean for your organization, and how to go about hiring them. Focusing on these areas makes you more likely to find the Scala developer who perfectly fits your project needs.

Knowing when to hire a Scala developer

Hiring the right Scala developer is most useful when your project focuses on real-time analytics, distributed computing, or reactive systems. For example, Scala and Akka skills are ideal if your project handles millions of transactions per second.

Defining your hiring process

Start by laying out a clear hiring process that includes pre-employment testing as the first step. You can use TestGorilla’s tests to screen candidates initially before proceeding to interviews and further assessments.

Understanding Scala-specific skills

Scala developers often use specific libraries and frameworks – like Akka for building reactive systems, Play for web application development, and Apache Spark for big data processing. Also, they may work with Simple Build Tool (SBT) for building Scala projects. Understanding these skills is vital to finding the right developer. 

Deciding on company project needs

Is your company working on real-time data processing? You might need a Scala developer skilled in Akka Streams. Are you developing web services? Check for experience with Play Framework. Understanding your project needs helps you form a detailed job description targeting the right Scala skills.

Choosing the right experience level

Decide on the experience level based on your project's complexity. For instance, an entry-level developer might suffice if your project involves building a simple API. But for a distributed, high-performance system, you'd likely want a senior Scala developer experienced in Akka Cluster.

Getting compensation right

Highly skilled Scala developers are in demand and can command higher salaries. According to Glassdoor, US Scala developers typically earn between $95,000 and $157,000 per year. 

Research industry standards to come up with a competitive salary and consider added perks like continuous learning opportunities or flex-time to make your offer more attractive to top talent. 

Choosing the right skills assessments

Skill assessment should go beyond just coding tests. Use personality tests like TestGorilla's Culture Add test or Motivation test to evaluate if candidates fit your team culture and work ethic.

Skills and qualifications to look for in a Scala developer

Both hard and soft skills matter when you're aiming to hire a Scala developer who will fit into your team. Each of these skills contributes to a candidate's potential for success.

  • Scala language proficiency: The candidate should have a solid grasp of Scala fundamentals, including object-oriented and functional programming paradigms specific to Scala.

  • Knowledge of frameworks: Experience with frameworks like Akka, Play, and Apache Spark can be a big plus.

  • Version control: Familiarity with tools like Git and SVN shows the candidate knows how to collaborate on code.

  • API development: Being adept at building and working with GraphQL and RESTful APIs can be crucial to performing back-end tasks.

  • Soft skills: Communication, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities are just as important as technical abilities.

  • Adaptability: Scala is often used in fast-changing environments, so being able to adapt to new technologies is a key trait.

  • Attention to detail: Given the complexity of tasks, a meticulous approach to coding and debugging is crucial.

Where to find skilled Scala developers

Hiring the right Scala developer is no small feat, especially since they're in high demand and the available talent pool might seem limited. Fret not. There are several places to find and attract specialized Scala developers to your team.

Networking in specific online communities

Scala developers often frequent niche online forums, communities, and social media platforms dedicated to Scala and functional programming. Examples include the Scala subreddit and the Scala community on Stack Overflow. You can post job ads, ask for recommendations, or engage in discussions to identify potential candidates.

Industry events and meetups

Industry-specific events like Scala conferences, webinars, and meetups are fertile grounds for networking. Here, you can get direct access to experienced Scala developers who are actively involved in growing and learning.

Freelancer websites

Websites like Upwork and Toptal have sections dedicated explicitly to Scala developers. You can post a job and let candidates come to you or actively search for freelancers with the skills you need.

5 creative ways to find Scala developer candidates

Here are five more methods that can bring Scala developers to you. 

1. Host a Scala hackathon

Hackathons are intensive events where developers solve problems over a short period. Hosting a hackathon can help you see skilled developers in action.

2. Run a coding contest with Scala challenges

Similar to a hackathon but on a smaller scale, coding contests can occur online. You can post small Scala-specific coding challenges on LinkedIn and invite participants. The top performers could be your next hires.

3. Offer remote work

Attract global talent by offering remote work options. Scala developers are tech-savvy individuals who are comfortable with remote work tools and enjoy the flexibility of remote work.

4. Sponsor Scala open-source projects

By sponsoring Scala-based open-source projects, you contribute to the community and get your name in front of dedicated Scala developers. Many open-source contributors are also open to job offers that align with their skills.

5. Reach out through alumni networks

Alumni from computer science or software engineering programs can be a goldmine for potential hires. Use alumni networks to find former students specializing in Scala or functional programming. They may be interested or know someone who fits the role.

How to select the best Scala developer candidates

Hiring the right Scala developer is crucial for your project's success. TestGorilla offers various ways to ensure a well-rounded assessment.

How to select the best Scala developer candidates graphic

Step 1: Start with pre-interview tests

Use pre-employment tests as a first step to get an unbiased measure of a candidate's abilities. Scala is a specialized field, so our Scala tests work well here. They come in three levels:

These tests focus on algorithms, a core concept in Scala programming.

Step 2: Add complementary tests

TestGorilla has more than 320 skill tests, and you can combine up to five tests to create the perfect evaluation for Scala developers. For instance, you can add tests on Java data structures and object-oriented programming to your assessment.

You'll also want your new hire to mesh well with your existing team. Personality tests help you understand a candidate's work style and motivations. TestGorilla offers personality tests like our Motivation test and Big 5 (OCEAN) test. These will help you gauge how well a candidate will fit into your organization.

Step 3: Add custom questions

Every business has unique needs. You can add custom questions to your TestGorilla assessment to ensure it's tailored to your specific Scala project or business objectives. 

Be sure to focus on skills over experience here. By focusing on skills before experience, you can tap into a broader range of talented individuals equipped with the necessary capabilities. This will also prevent experience-based bias (like prioritizing a candidate who’s worked at a tech giant even though they might be less skilled than other candidates). 

Step 4: Check the reports

After the assessment, TestGorilla will give you detailed, unbiased reports on each candidate. These give you a well-rounded view of each candidate, making your decision of who moves on to the next stage more straightforward and reliable.

Step 5: Interview your top candidates

Select the strongest candidates to move on to the interview stage. Here, you can ask about candidates’ experience – in addition to further assessing their skills. Be sure to use structured interview questions (like our object-oriented programming questions) to make the interview process fair for all candidates.

Time zones and schedules can make interviews tricky. When a face-to-face interview won’t work, TestGorilla's one-way interviews will. Candidates answer your questions in a video format on their own time. You can review these when it's convenient for you.

Step 6: Pick the best candidate

After reviewing your interviews, you’ll have the information you need to determine the best person for the role. 

For more insights on the hiring process, check out our article on how to hire a software developer.

Common mistakes when hiring a Scala developer

Hiring a Scala developer is a task that requires careful planning and execution. Below are some pitfalls you should avoid to make sure you get the right talent for your team.

Ignoring Scala-specific frameworks

Don't underestimate the importance of skill with Scala-specific frameworks like Akka or Play. Not every Java framework is compatible with Scala, and overlooking this could lead you to assume that proficiency in any Java framework suffices when this isn’t the case. Candidates skilled in Scala-specific frameworks often have a deeper understanding of the Scala ecosystem.

Overlooking functional programming skills

Scala is a hybrid language that combines object-oriented and functional programming. Ensure your candidate is adept in both, especially functional programming constructs like monads and functors. Not doing this might leave you with a developer who can't utilize Scala to its full potential.

Disregarding concurrency

Scala is known for its powerful concurrency models. Neglecting to test for candidates’ skill in creating and managing concurrent code might lead you to hire a developer who can't write efficient concurrent code.

Not testing for libraries and dependencies

Scala has specific libraries like SBT or ScalaTest. Make sure to include questions about these in your pre-employment tests. Without knowledge of these, a developer might struggle with common tasks like building projects or writing tests.

Ignoring interoperability with Java

Scala runs on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) and interoperates with Java. A candidate's ability to work with Java codebases can be crucial, depending on your project requirements. A Scala developer who’s unable to navigate and integrate with existing Java modules or libraries might have trouble integrating the two languages in a project.

Start hiring the best Scala developers with TestGorilla

Finding a skilled Scala developer involves closely examining their tech know-how, interpersonal skills, and credentials. Focus on their technical competence, past work, and flexibility to meet the changing needs of projects.

TestGorilla simplifies this by offering a solid first step to hiring through pre-employment tests. This step ensures you choose candidates based on skills and company fit from the beginning.

To improve your odds of hiring a developer who aligns well with your project requirements, get started with a free TestGorilla account today.

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