What Do Today’s Young Programmers Want in a Career?
Today in the U.S., there are a reported 580,000 open computing jobs with less than 50,000 computer science graduates entering the workforce, which equals to 11 job postings for every computer-science major.
HackerRank, a technical hiring platform, surveyed over 10,000 student-developers from its community of 5 million developers from around the world to determine how they’re acquiring their coding skills and what they look for in a job. The findings reveal some surprises, including that YouTube has become a popular platform for young programmer-wannabes to help them acquire skills. It also finds that programmers place higher priority on career-growth opportunities than perks and compensation.
HackerRank founder and CEO Vivek Ravisankar has stated that companies have placed too much emphasis on pedigree (universities attended, previous employers) than on actual skills when it comes to finding programmers. Coding competitions and sites such as GitHub are more effective ways to evaluate and identify skilled programmers, he says.
“Today’s average CS curriculum is not a clear indicator that a student will possess the skills needed to enter the workforce,” says Ravisankar.
Here are the report’s highlights:
- Many programmers are self-taught. Today’s students are not relying solely on university computer-science curricula to give them the necessary skills they need for software development. Over half of student developers (65 percent) report they are partially reliant on self-teaching to learn to code, with nearly a third (27 percent) claiming they are completely self-taught.
- Students rely on YouTube more than professionals. Student developers are turning to YouTube (73 percent) to learn more than professional developers (64 percent). Meanwhile, students rely less on networking site Stack Overflow compared to their professional peers (77 percent vs. 88 percent, respectively).
- Growth opportunities are five times as appealing as perks. The three most important criteria students look for in job opportunities are: professional growth and learning (58 percent), work/life balance (52 percent) and having interesting problems to solve (46 percent). Student developers have a stronger appetite for growth opportunities than compensation (18 percent) and perks (11 percent), which they view as niceties as opposed to deal-breakers. Companies looking to attract new graduates must ensure they are considering these career preferences as they design and market software developer jobs.