want better access to coding skills? HackerRank wants to lend a hand.

With a talent community of 7 million, the platform hopes to accelerate your process for hiring programmers.

When Vivek Ravisankar was a young engineer just a few years out of school, he spent some of his creative energy telling stories through home-made movies. Now as the CEO of HackerRank, he is helping the recruitment business tell a different kind of story – one that will have significant implications for employers everywhere.

At a time when demand for developers and software engineers is accelerating – driven by a seemingly insatiable appetite for these skills across every industry around the world – ensuring access to talented coders has never been more important for businesses. As companies continue on their digital transformation journey, accelerated by the adoption of AI and automation, they must acquire a set of digital competencies regardless of their business or industry.

According to Fortune, the unemployment rate for U.S. technology workers earlier this year fell to the lowest ever at 1.3%, driven by strong demand for software and app developers. The European Commission predicts that the EU ICT sector could see as many as 756,000 unfilled jobs next year. In Australia, jobs in the sector will continue to outpace the country’s overall economy, with growth predicted to rise 4.3% over the next decade.  

As many in the industry know, supplying employers with high-quality programmers is a challenge for several reasons. In many markets, educational institutions haven’t kept up with demand, resulting in an ongoing skills gap. Additionally, with technology shifting quickly, the types of programming skills in demand are changing so rapidly that companies simply haven’t been able to keep up with product development needs. Furthermore, whereas they used to compete for talent only within their industry, these companies now compete with nearly every other business for programming skills. So recruiters end up sourcing from the same pool, hoping their employee value proposition will be the most compelling to candidates.

What if, however, the pool can be enlarged significantly to give companies more choices? And what if the process for sourcing and assessing coding talent can be expedited so that employers can hire in a more efficient and timely manner? Most importantly, what if companies can do this in a consistent and reliable manner?

a talent community of 7 million

That’s exactly the aim of HackerRank, a developer skills platform deployed in more than one-quarter of the Fortune 100 companies. Launched in 2011 by Ravisankar and Harishankaran Karunanidhi, the solution is now the leading platform for assessing coding skills and boasts a talent community of more than 7 million members around the world. By giving employers access to this voluminous pool and the tools best suited to accelerate the hiring process, HackerRank is playing a significant role in bridging the programming skills gap.

The platform includes a suite of products designed to help employers assess, interview and make hiring decisions. It is integrated with popular applicant tracking systems and helps companies create a seamless recruiter and candidate experience. Deployed around the world, HackerRank is used by industry leaders such as Goldman Sachs, PayPal, Lyft, Expedia and Randstad. 

Through its own survey of more than 7,000 employers, HackerRank found that the biggest challenge around hiring coding professionals is assessing skill sets. It can be difficult to know whether an applicant has adequate python language competencies, understands the React framework or possess outstanding problem-solving capabilities (the most sought-after skill, according to the survey). 

To help employers better conduct skills assessments, HackerRank’s platform offers a library of coding challenges in 35 computer languages and eight frameworks. The assessments can also be conducted based on roles such as front-end developers. When applicants sign in to take the test, they are presented with pre-selected or customized coding challenges. Their performance is automatically scored, and hiring managers can view the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses around metrics such as data structure, algorithms and others. 

The platform provides live and remote interview tools that enable hiring managers to better evaluate the applicant. Post-interview, HackerRank also provides insights and recommendations for each candidate. It can even benchmark the assessment process of one company against others. 

Ravisankar says all these tools are intended to help employers make the best and most expedited hiring decisions. “When it comes to the quality of hire and time to fill, you need to have a good balance of both. These are two equal considerations,” he stressed, adding that companies should have robust tooling to help them strike a balance for achieving both.

a bigger talent pool

One of the ways in which organizations can expand access to talent is consider skills and not just degrees. He points out that tech giants such as Google and Apple no longer require college degrees when hiring, and this means they can find competent developers who may have opted out of a four-year institution but who nevertheless possess excellent programming skills. Other companies are adopting similar policies, which means “we are giving opportunities to developers based on their skills and not resumes,” he said.

Indeed, the company’s research shows that 50% of developers started to learn coding between the ages of 16 and 20, and more than 20% start as young as 11. Nearly three-quarters said they are partially self taught, with 67% possessing a computer science degree. With so much talent that don’t have a formal education, companies are sure to miss out if they don’t drop college degree requirements.

Ravisankar said that by facilitating employers to efficiently assess the skills of competent coders – regardless of formal education – they gain a competitive advantage in the war for talent.  And that’s an edge everyone can use in these dynamic times.