I have been working on my internet startup and need a tech co-founder to help me get the project actually going. I am finding it extremely hard to find a co-founder with programming experience/skills. Has anyone been through this and can offer any advice for finding someone? I am 21 and would like to find someone around my age and in college. My target audience is college students as well.
This is what I don't understand: when you're young, aren't you at an age where you're supposed to learn? About three ago, I started out with 5,000 pages of computer books and just started reading: from my personal experience, it takes about two years and a stackoverflow account to learn how to program. Then, a) you won't have to worry about finding a co-founder or b) you'll be in a position to actually recruit a good one.
In two years, you'll be 23: up to you what you'll know when you'll get there.
Lemme tell you my experience. I graduated at 25, worked for a year, quit my job at 27, paid coders to code my website with half of my savings. They did a crap job, I looked at the code, not knowing how to code, I just started learning and modifying. Lots of Stack Overflow helpers who helped me. I've spent 2-3 years coding my project. Yeah, took too long to launch according to startup rules, but now I can code, and I must say even better than the shitty coders I hired years back.
You are 21, please get your hands dirty.
I get this question a lot, "we have this idea and we need somebody to build it", in the past I was like, cool, let's do it. The outcome is usually that I do all the work, the people bringing the idea to the table slacks of and I spend months building something that doesn't go anywhere which means all the risk was essentially on me. This happens to other entrepreneurial developers as well.
The problem you need to solve is how you'll convince the developer that all the risk is not on him. Equity alone usually doesn't mean much unless the company is already generating income.
If you are serious about your idea, you need to get out there and talk to people. Ask them what they don't like, why it might not work, what's more difficult than you're guessing. When you have thirty people who are interested in what you're doing and are happy to give you feedback, you have the beginnings of a project.
Now you have a decision. Hire someone to build it, pitch someone to invest cash, or find the place developers are pitching project ideas to each other and pitch for a co-founder or time investor.
All of this is time well spent, because you're engaging with your target audience, you're building a community, and you're learning.
Good luck. I hope you're at the start of something awesome!
You're restricting your search for a good technical cofounder. I am not saying that there are not good CTO quality men and women at 21, but I am saying that they are rare. Loosen up your search requirements and talent will flow in.
If you don't want to learn to code, don't. There are definitely other parts of the business that need manning as well.