HackerEarth Finds Sources of Developer Unhappiness
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 09 June 2021

The results of HackerEarth's second survey are in and reveal that developers are negatively impacted by Zoom meetings and dislike the lack of  post-interview feedback. These results may not be surprising but they are interesting.


HackerEarth, based in India and San Francisco, provides tools for recruiters to remotely assess coding skills. It is also popular for online hackathons and coding challenges,giving plenty of opportunities for its community of over 5 million developers to hone their skills and practice for interviews. The 2021 survey, conducted between March and April, attracted more than 25,0000 responses, up by almost 50% from its initial survey in 2020. Respondents were a mix of students and working professionals and over 20% of respondents were woman.

The survey looked into how changes over the past year have impacted the tech industry investigated the way the current programming ecosystem looks from the perspective of student and professional developers.

There are some key differences between the attitudes and experiences of students and working developers. For example, a majority of student developers (88%) cited Rust as the programming language they aim to master in 2021 while Go is the top choice for experienced developers (73%). However when it comes to the domain that most interests respondents, both groups concur - like last year DataScience is the preferred choice:

hackerearthwd area

hackerearthstud domain

Experienced developers were more interested in Business Intelligence and Blockchain than Students but Cybersecurity appealed almost equally to both groups.

For both groups learning to code predominantly occurred while pursuing their undergraduate degree in computing/software engineering. However, students also acquired coding skills via  online certification courses and online coding platforms like HackerEarth helped them learn to code whereas working professionals relied more on on-the-job training.


As for acquiring new skills You Tube videos was the top choice for both experienced developers and students and Stack Overflow was the second most popular source for working professionals and didn't figure for students. On the other hand Technical Interview Prep Platforms, such as HackerEarth and  Coding Boot Camps were mentioned by students.  

hackerearthwd learn

hackerearthstud learn 

As we noted in our report on its first survey. HackerEarth devised a happiness quotient. Like last year it found that  developers are least happy working at large enterprises preferring growth-stage startups and unhappiness is concentrated in those who report working for 60+ hours per week.

Too many meetings was seen as a limitation on productivity in the first survey and this time round this has become what HackerEarth describes "Zoom Fatigue", experienced by 22%. An even worse disadvantage of working remotely for a prolonged period was lack of  ability to communicate and socialize with fellow team members. In last year's survey having multiple monitors was seen as an aid to productivity, whereas this time around 10% of respondents commented on "lesser screens" as being something that hindered their productivity.



As well as the working environment, the other big change caused by the pandemic is how developers, both students and working professionals hunt for jobs and how interviews are conducted. LinkedIn is by far the most popular way to look for job opportunities with 58% of students and 49% of skilled developers nominating it and Developer Conferences, at the other end of the scale, scoring 2% and 1% respectively. Onsite interviews are no longer the preferred method and the 40% of professionals prefer remote interviewing tools that are equipped with video and code editors, perceiving this process as hassle-free and providing an objective evaluation of the candidate. The aspect of the technical recruitment process that developers would most like to see improved would be feedback to candidates after an interview. Lack of such feedback is a source of frustration to nearly 40% of the HackerEarth survey respondents.

Here we've only had space to cover a few points. For the rest see the survey report




More Information

HackerEarth 2021 Developer Survey

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 June 2021 )