Hire For Skills First
How do you identify young talent that will have the greatest impact?
For most companies, the standard practice is to target select, prestigious schools, universities or colleges, invest in a prime spot during seasonal career fairs, and collect as many CV’s as possible to build an entry-level talent pipeline. However if you are an SME or start up this isn’t always possible. Let’s find out why hiring for ‘Skills’ first rather than ‘degree’ first maybe beneficial to your business.
First off, in the age of digital transformation, the demand for developers won’t be able to keep up with degree focus recruiting. If everyone’s fighting for talent in the same pools of talent, hiring will be exponentially more difficult. Secondly, if your goal is to make strong hires, we need to look past ‘only’ grades, as they aren’t reflective of true ability.
It’s time to focus the conversation on skill. To dive deeper on understanding the state of student developer skills. 10,000 developers were surveyed by Hacker Rack across universities worldwide on how they’re learning, what they’re learning, and what they look for in a job. For instance, we learned that even though 76% of tech students are pursuing a degree in computer science, 65% of all student developers say they are at least partially self-taught. And nearly one third of all developers said they’re completely self-taught.Self-directed learning is the norm among developers; so when companies focus on hiring based on proven skill instead of prestigious degree a massive pool of overlooked talent opens up.
A degree is not enough to learn how to code
Although most computer science students are learning software development in universities, over half of all student developers say they’re partially self-taught. And nearly one third of all student developers say they’re completely self-taught.
This prevalence of self-taught knowledge means two things: First, computer science programs lag behind the pace at which technology evolves. For skills that are growing in the industry today, students have to rely on self-teaching to learn.
Second, self-teaching is ingrained in the developer DNA. Developers have an insatiable thirst for learning. On average, students are planning to learn 6 languages, while more senior developers are learning 4. Their thirst for learning makes it clear that Computer Science (CS) degrees shouldn’t be the primary measure of student developer skills. Instead, teams need to look beyond school performance—to personal projects, portfolio, skills assessments, and the like—to accurately evaluate their skills.
Students rely more on YouTube than professionals
Developers have traditionally flocked to Stack Overflow as a means of learning new skills or working through problems. But that could be changing with new generations.
University students today seem to be showing less interest in Stack Overflow compared to professional developers. Instead, YouTube is starting to become more favourable as a learning tool for the next generation of developers. We found that 73% of students use YouTube, compared to only 64% of professional developers (where the majority of professional developers were aged 25-34, and the majority of student developers were aged 18-24).
What platforms do Student and professional use to learn how to code?
Outside of the classroom, the face of education is shapeshifting quickly. The popularity of video-focused mediums may signal the beginning of a larger generational shift led by Generation Z (those born in the mid 90’s – early 00’s), who make up the majority of today’s college and university students.
This trend supports recent research by Pearson & Harris Poll, which found that Generation Z (ages 14-23) preferred YouTube and video to learn versus other applications of learning.