Main image of article Students Aren't Learning Code & Frameworks Employers Need
A new study highlights how students are learning to code, and a lot of it is done on the job after graduation. HackerRank recently completed its annual student developer survey, and there are some interesting findings. First, only about one-third of students (31.9 percent) are relying entirely on school for their education. A slightly larger percentage (37.7 percent) use both school and self-learning, and 27.4 percent report they are completely self-taught. Those students are often learning via YouTube, too. It’s second only to Stack Overflow in the learning-about-code platform wars, with 73 percent of students reporting it’s how they educate themselves on coding (Stack Overflow checks in with 77.3 percent). Just shy of 60 percent rely on books, and nearly half of students queried tap into one of three categories: MOOCs, online tutorials, or competitive coding sites. Post-graduation, there’s an interesting bridge to gap. The study finds employers need JavaScript, C#, Ruby, Go, Swift, and Scala developers, but there aren’t enough knowledgeable students to cover these positions. On the flip side, students are learning languages such as C, C++, Python, and Java, even though companies just don’t need those skills as much. We can likely point to legacy education models as the reason why these languages are taught even though employers aren’t demanding them. Happily, many students also report JavaScript is a language they plan to learn, which should help meet employer demand. Go, Swift, and Ruby are also popular must-learn languages for students. Probably because students aren’t learning JavaScript as often as companies might like, there’s also a gap for related frameworks such as Node.js, AngularJS, and React. Employers report needing those skills at a much higher rate than they can hire. Again, this is likely an effect of legacy education models not catching up to the dynamic world of tech. Finally, U.S.-based graduates want perks more than growth opportunities, which is impressively prescient. The most requested ‘benefit’ is a good work-life balance, and even graduates want a more fluid schedule. When asked what a work-life balance means to them, students in the U.S. said a flexible work schedule was at the top of their list; roughly 90 percent said this was the most important perk for them. Nearly 70 percent say a generous time-off package was key; the same percentage say they’d rather employers focus on outcome, not how many hours they work. About 65 percent say remote work opportunities are key for them. A final interesting tidbit: Students in the U.S. aren’t driven by money. In HackerRank’s findings, professional growth, a good work-life balance, interesting problems to solve at work, company culture, and working with a talented team all rank ahead of compensation for graduates.