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Complete Guide: How to Hire a Skilled NLP Developer

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30 March, 2023

The value of the global Natural Language Processing (NLP) market in 2021 was $20.8 billion. It is estimated to grow to $161.81 billion by 2029.

Thanks to ChatGPT which took the world by storm, NLP is now in the limelight. Organizations across sectors are finding applications for NLP, especially in developing advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI).

And hence, there is soaring demand to hire NLP developers.  

Finding NLP developers is exceedingly challenging since there is no standardized curriculum or certification to assess skills. 

And there are NLP specializations like text processing, speech recognition, sentiment analysis, etc., to choose from. Further, an NLP developer must possess practical experience, language expertise, and good communication skills.  

All these make identifying and hiring an NLP engineer with the right skills for a project daunting.  

Thus, we have composed a comprehensive NLP hiring guide to help employers and HR managers hire a skilled NLP developer. Use the guide to hire the best talent for your project. Let's begin!  

Know What an NLP Developer Does

Many of us have already encountered NLP in our everyday lives. The voice assistants on our mobiles, the chatbots on a website, etc., are all NLP-enabled AI technology. 

It has applications in customer services, marketing, research, healthcare, human resources, etc. The many applications are resulting in immense demand to hire NLP developers. 

The function of NLP is to convert complex and context-based human language into machine language that a computer can process, understand and respond to.  

And an NLP developer has the broader responsibilities: 

  • Designing and developing NLP systems that understand natural language 
  • Training and developing language models using various datasets - text, image, voice 
  • Finding algorithms and using tools to perform NLP tasks 
  • Running experimental tests on the developed model 
  • Analyzing bugs and implementing changes in the system 
  • Maintaining NLP libraries and frameworks 

The further responsibilities of an NLP developer are industry and project specific.   


You know why Fortune 500 and global enterprises trust us? Because we help reduce their costs to hire by 60%, time to hire by 50%, and improve the quality of hires!


Developing a Hiring Strategy 

An effective hiring strategy will help you identify, attract, assess, and hire NLP developers of high caliber.  

Here are steps to develop a fool-proof NLP associate recruitment approach. 

Define the Needs of the Company 

In the pre-hiring stage, you need to define the company's needs. Answering questions like the following will help identify the needs.  

  • What specific skills and experience do you need in an NLP developer? 
  • What specific task the NLP associate must perform? 
  • What goals will the NLP engineer or a team of engineers accomplish? 
  • What tools and technologies will the NLP developer work with? 
  • Is it a short-term or a long-term job role?  
  • What are budget considerations for hiring a candidate? 

While determining the needs, two people will help identify them - an AI engineer and a sales or marketing leader. While the former gives the technological perspective, the latter will provide a business-side perspective.  

Create a Job Description 

Once the company's needs are clarified, the hiring process begins with creating a job description for NLP developer

Include details of the project, skills and specializations you are seeking, roles and responsibilities, and any other necessary information in the job description.  

Don’t be ambiguous with the information. Be detailed, yet keep the job description concise to attract the best talent.   

Determine the Salary Range 

As of March 2023, the average base salary of an NLP developer in the US is $117,534 per year. 

NLP developer salary range is $72,000 - $200,000, depending on the expertise of an engineer. And the median hourly rate is $74.52.  

Based on the current market data, set a salary range for the job. A compensation package with an enticing salary and perks will attract the best talent. 

Choose Between Local and Remote Talent 

There are three employee working scenarios you can follow to hire NLP developers. And the engineers can be either local or remote talent.  

  • Office working - In this working model, you hire an engineer for in-house work, and local talent is perfect for the job.  
  • Remote working - In a remote working scenario, you hire remote talent from a nearshore or offshore destination. It gives the benefit of cheap labor, choosing from a large talent pool, and reduced costs.  
  • Hybrid working - It is a flexible working model that combines office working and remote working. Employees will have greater autonomy on how and where they work. And employers will benefit from having a productive workforce, reduced cost of real estate, and the ability to hire talent from across the world. 


Wondering how to hire niche roles? Start with creating custom assessments that match your job description exactly with iMocha!



Define the Key Skills and Qualifications Required 

When you plan to hire NLP developers, have a thorough knowledge of the skills they must possess. The information will let you choose the skills required for your project.  

Given below are the skills and qualifications an NLP engineer should have. 


Technical Skills 

  • In-depth understanding of NLP techniques 
  • Knowledge of AI & Machine Learning (ML) with experience in ML frameworks like PyTorch or Keras 
  • Understanding of multilingual translation and compilers 
  • Familiarity with Big Data frameworks like Spark, Hadoop, etc 
  • Coding expertise in programming languages like Python, Java, and R 
  • Understanding of text representation techniques 
  • Knowledge of CI/CD pipelines 
  • Knowledge of semantic extraction and syntactic parsing 

Analytical Thinking 

NLP developers must have strong analytical skills. They need to possess: 

  • Statistical analysis skills 
  • Mathematical skills 
  • Algorithm analysis skills 
  • Script analysis 

Verbal and Written Communication Skills 

As NLP developers are team players, they must have good verbal and communication skills to share ideas and solutions, work cohesively with the team members, explain failures, and negotiate for resources.


How to Source Candidates?

  • The traditional way of posting vacancies on job boards or portals is one of the ways to source NLP developers.
  • Online marketplaces like Toptal and Turing are some best places to hire NLP developers. Engineers on these platforms are thoroughly vetted, and you can find the world’s top talents here.
  • General marketplaces like UpWork, Fiverr, and Gigster are sources for freelance developers. These platforms generally host non-vetted developers.
  • LinkedIn, the social platform for professionals, is another best place to source NLP developers. Post a job description on LinkedIn and attract potential candidates, or you can find one by searching through profiles.
  • Taking help from hiring agencies is another way to source NLP developers. They source the best talents from remote locations.

You can check out these candidate sourcing tools for recruiters to enhance your recruitment process!

How To Assess The Skills Of the Candidates?  

The real challenge for a recruiter begins after posting the job ad. You need to assess candidates' skills thoroughly. If not, you may miss a talented NLP developer. 

The following are the ways to evaluate skills efficiently. 

Resume Screening 

After receiving applications, you need to review them and narrow them down to a shortlist of candidates. On average, a corporate job attracts 250 applications 

Screening them takes time unless you have an automated procedure to scan the resumes. A good hiring tool will enable you to set keywords to screen a resume and funnel only eligible candidates.  

Skills Assessment Test 

Once you have a list of candidates, assessing their skills becomes critical. This is where it becomes tricky for a recruiter. 

As NLP is a vast subject with numerous specializations, creating a technical test that can accurately evaluate a candidate’s skills is difficult. The test must contain questions to assess a developer’s subject knowledge and problem-solving skills. 

Asking open-ended questions and giving coding challenges are the best way to evaluate practical knowledge. 

If all these feel overwhelming, iMocha has a solution - the iMocha Natural Language Processing (NLP) Online Test 

Created by experienced subject matter experts, the online test challenges candidates with thoughtful questions and problems that occur in the real world.  

With an extensive question bank, iMocha's skills tests are not short of questions to assess NLP developers’ skills. The iMocha skills testing platform, using its customizable coding simulator, gives programming familiarity to the candidates. 

It keeps the candidate engaged throughout the coding test with code auto-completion and code stubs. For a recruiter, the simulator gives the benefit of auto-questioning and evaluation. 

It checks for code stability, tracks memory usage, and evaluates the coder’s approach. Further, with iMocha’s AI-Logic box, you can assess the functional and soft skills of the candidate. 

Live Coding Interview 

It is the advanced stage in the hiring process. In this stage, an engineer interviews a candidate and challenges them with live coding tests. It is an effective way to identify quality candidates. 

Often, live coding interviews have a collaborative feature where you can onboard an interviewer in real-time. These interviews benefit from another person’s perspective while hiring a candidate.



Wondering how to identify critical skills for organizational growth? Talk to our experts to learn how we enable Capgemini, Cognizant, TCS, Fujitsu and other global organizations to do so!


Challenges You Might Face While Hiring 

Recruiters face the following challenges when hiring NLP developers: 

  • Attracting top-quality NLP developers 
  • Following a bias-free selection process 
  • Accurately assessing technical skills 
  • Asking the right questions in assessment tests 
  • Keeping candidates engaged throughout the selection process 
  • The non-availability of a coding simulator to evaluate code properly 
  • Not maintaining continuous communication with the candidates
  • Unable to provide accurate feedback to the candidate
  • Unable to hire fast



Amidst the demand spike for NLP developers, you must be quick with your hiring process. Yet, you need to assess candidates thoroughly. Assessments take up the majority of the time during hiring.

Using intelligent skills assessing platform will help you with quick hiring. It enables rapid deployment of a skills test and delivers results instantly.

Such a platform will have an integrated coding simulator and test control features like setting difficulty levels, performance parameters, plagiarism checks, etc.

It is high time you used a skills assessment platform to hire NLP developers of exceptional talents. And the hiring guide will make your NLP developer recruitment process smooth and fast.



1. How do I recruit an NLP developer?

Create and post a job description to attract talent. Screen the resumes received to shortlist candidates. Conduct a skills assessment test. For advanced evaluation, execute live coding interviews.

Use an intelligent hiring tool to make the hiring process quicker. Read on to this blog to know top 20 tips to hire technical talent.


2. How much does it cost to hire an NLP developer?

In the US, the NLP developer salary range is $70,000 - $200,000. The salary is also dependent on the location and expertise you are seeking. Add to salary, perks, recruiting, and infrastructure expenses.

You get the actual cost of hiring NLP developers.


3. What is the best way to hire NLP developers in India?

To hire remote NLP developers, India is the right place. It has a large talent pool. Hiring agencies, freelancing marketplaces, and social media are the best sources to search for NLP developers in India.


Still assessing coding skills with MCQs and objective-type questions? Conduct in-depth skills assessment with iMocha and determine  your candidate's weaknesses, strengths, and benchmark against industry level.


Gemma Benny
Gemma Benny
I am a Content Writer at iMocha. A B2B writer that creates articles and listicles while trying to build a relationship with potential clients and also adding value to the content wherever possible. I have previously worked with clients in the medical, fashion, education, IT, and beauty domains. Before joining as a full-time writer, I worked as a digital marketer for over two years. When I am not keeping busy with content writing, you can find me baking, exploring the culinary world, and playing badminton.
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