Software

What student developers want in a job (hint: it's not ping pong)

Developers about to enter the workforce are looking for professional learning and work/life balance more than corporate perks, according to HackerRank.

Organizations desperate for software engineering talent tend to follow similar plays when it comes to attracting student developers about the enter the workforce, including offering perks like free food, beer, and ping pong. However, student developers have a much stronger appetite for other workplace elements when making employment decisions, according to a Tuesday report from HackerRank.

The three most important criteria students look for in job opportunities are professional growth and learning (58%), work/life balance (52%), and having interesting problems to solve (46%), according to a survey of 10,350 student developers worldwide. These far outpaced compensation (18%) and perks (11%), which they view as "nice to haves" rather than deal breakers, the survey found.

This should serve as a wake-up call to companies looking to attract new graduates, who need to take these career preferences in mind as they design and market software developer jobs, the report noted.

SEE: IT Hiring Kit: Programmer (Tech Pro Research)

For many student developers, a computer science degree is not enough to teach them the skills they will need in the workforce, the report found. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said they rely partially on self-teaching to learn to code, and 27% say they are totally self-taught. Only 32% said they were entirely taught at school, the survey found.

Student developers are most likely to turn to Stack Overflow (77%) and YouTube (73%) to learn new programming languages, followed by books (60%), competitive coding sites (46%) and MOOCs (46%), according to the survey.

There also exists a discrepancy between what coding languages developers learn in computer science curriculum, and what employers are actually looking for, the report found (you can see more results about the programming languages most in-demand by employers versus those students actually know here).

"Today's average CS curriculum is not a clear indicator that a student will possess the skills needed to enter the workforce," Vivek Ravisankar, CEO and co-founder of HackerRank, said in a press release. "Our mission is to connect all developers to the right jobs. Part of this is educating recruiters on the unique DNA of student software programmers, and helping them understand how critical it is to look beyond university degrees."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The three most important criteria student developers look for in job opportunities are professional growth and learning (58%), work/life balance (52%), and having interesting problems to solve (46%). — HackerRank, 2018
  • 65% of student developers said they rely partially on self-teaching to learn to code, and 27% say they are totally self-taught. — HackerRank, 2018

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/scyther5

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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