What Student Developers Want
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 18 May 2016

How do student developers feel about their career options? Devpost has just published its second annual Student Hacker Report based on a survey of students from US university students participating in its hackathons. 

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Devpost, which changed its name from ChallengePost last summer, is known primarily from running contests and hackathons, both online and in person.

While its first Student Survey looked at the technologies and APIs used by students by analyzing metadata from hackathons, this year's survey used a more direct methodology. Over 12 weeks of the spring 2016 hackathon season, Devpost asked US students to answer 3 or 4 different questions about recruiting every time they submitted a hackathon project and in total surveyed over 1,700 students at 80 hackathons.

Among the key findings:

83% of students said they were looking for fulfilling careers, rather than simply for jobs.

Students plan to stay an average of 2.9 years at their first full-time job.

Students predict that they’ll stay at later jobs for 5 years on average.

Students expect to earn between $70–150K right out of school. 

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Regarding applying for jobs, 42% of students said writing cover letters and résumés was their least favorite part of job hunting while 25% said behavioral and technical interviews were their least favorite part. On the whole, the respondents would prefer to be judged by their work and 65% of students said they’d prefer a take home coding project versus a technical interview.

With regard to résumés they ranked education much less important than projects and experience:

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When considering a job the factor that matter most to students are the people they will be working with. The report, in a section targeted at recruiters, states:

Developers care more about your team than your perks. It’s easy to fix a broken ping pong table, but it’s not so easy to fix a broken development team. Additionally, many students said they believed people and culture are the same thing.

Your developers are the best recruiting asset you’ve got. Get them involved and in front of developers whenever you can: career fairs, phone screens, interviews, conference talks, mentoring, etc.

 

Students want to meet those they will be working with prior to accepting an job offer to find out how well they interact with each other and what they consider the favorite parts of their jobs. 

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 A statistic that might bring about an improvement both for recruiters and students is that 68% of students have looked for a job at a hackathon.

As Brandon Kessler, Devpost founder/CEO says:

"Hackathons are a crucial way to discover talent, and to get a look not just at what candidates say on their resumes but at what they build. Similarly, we believe companies must improve their careers sites and job listings so that developers can get an inside look at the people and learning opportunities that exist at each company. This is what our new Team Pages allow companies to do."

Team Pages is currently in beta in New York City and directly tackles another issue identified in the survey - the difficulty finding desirable job opportunities due to lack of information. It allows developer teams which have openings for new members to provide just the information students are looking for - including what current team members think of the companies they work for and how the interview process works. 

Around 20 companies are participating in the free beta, with 1 to 6 jobs at each one and the format gives them with a great way to communicate important facts about themselves, their engineering team, and specifics jobs and providing developers with an inside look at development teams that are hiring.

  devpostsq

 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 18 May 2016 )