Hiring Developers: Lessons From 112,000+ Coding Tests

Hiring developers? Devskiller presents their insights based on 112,000 coding tests that were taken on their platform in 2018. These lessons will help you keep your hiring process cutting edge and source the most reliable, proficient developers from anywhere in the world!


How to hire developers?

Finding technical talent is a major challenge for most companies.


Hiring for a technical role is an art form unto itself. 

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What a developer says their skill set consists of, may be entirely different to what their skill set actually is. 

In a face-to-face interview, this is something that you just can’t test for. 

Enter: online coding tests.

Data backed lessons for tech recruiting

In 2018, over 112,000 coding tests were taken on the Devskiller platform. 

These tests were used by tech recruiters to screen, assess, and evaluate the coding abilities of potential applicants. 

And in analyzing this plethora of data, we saw trends, patterns, and habits started to form. 

We looked at this data under a microscope and put our findings into the Devskiller Technical Hiring & Skills Report 2019

What’s represented here is unique data that you - the recruiter - can use to keep your hiring process cutting edge, and source the most reliable, proficient developers from anywhere in the world. 

While most hiring data that’s available online is based on surveys (which require self-reporting), this data presents raw facts and trends taken from your peers - fellow HR recruiters. 

Top 6 insights for hiring developers

Here’s a brief overview of the most important lessons we learned:

Lesson #1: 70% of companies are searching for a JavaScript developer


Looking at the technologies tested by most companies, it’s surprising to see Java isn’t the most popular. 

Instead, 70% of the companies tested are in search of a JavaScript developer

This shows that Java is used by a smaller group of large enterprises. 

Furthermore, with SQL coming in 2nd place, this shows that database skills are important for both back and front-end developers. 

It’s not surprising that this data backs up the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, and that the top 4 technologies here are the ones most advertised on Hacker News.

Lesson #2 Most developers will get a database technical skills assessment, regardless of their main focus

Once again, JavaScript is the leading technology here, too. 

After looking at the 8 top technologies that are tested together, 5 of them involve JavaScript in some way, shape or form. 

Take for example JavaScript and CSS and HTML - the fundamentals of a solid front-end stack

But JavaScript is also regularly paired with .NET, PHP and Java, thus showing its importance in both front-end and back-end roles. 

SQL is the next most co-tested stack, with 4 mentions. 

You can see that database technical skills are also tested regularly, in addition to the main skill set needed for a position. 


Lesson #3: Candidates wait on average 2.88 days to take a coding test

Developers prefer to do take-home coding tests during the week and save their weekends for themselves. 

This is reflected in the fact that:

  1. Tests send on Tuesday get the fastest response

  2. Tests send on Wednesday get the slowest response and

  3. The average turn around is 2.88 days (69.23 hours). 

As a recruiter, this gives you valuable insight into how coders prioritize coding tests for a new position. 

If you can plan your recruitment funnel so that you’re sending coding tests early in the week, you can quickly push through talented developers and move on those that don’t fit your standards. 

Lesson #4: The vast majority (73%) of candidates take the coding tests they receive

Statistically, nearly 3 in 4 candidates who were sent a coding test completed it

It’s worth noting that regardless of candidates technical skills, most developers will finish a test that’s based on work principles. 

The countries with the top completion rates are:

  1. Latvia: 98% completion rate

  2. Armenia: 97% completion rate

  3. Denmark: 96% completion rate

  4. New Zealand: 95% completion rate

  5. The UK: 92% completion rate

As a recruiter, this may be surprising - especially if you’re concerned that a coding test will scare away candidates. 

This statistic proves that a hiring procedure that reflects the actual work being done is accepted by a majority of candidates, and that coding tests should be a part of your recruitment process. 

Lesson #5: Over 90% of candidates finish the coding tests they start

Thanks to the methodology powering the platform, there are very few programming surprises that come up in the middle of a test. 

The tasks given to a candidate during a test are lifelike, practical, and familiar to a majority of candidates. 

It should come as no surprise that nearly all candidates who start a coding test go on to finish it. 

What is interesting is the completion rate per continent. 

Although small, the changes in completion rate may reflect the reliability of internet infrastructure. 

Lesson #6: The US recruits internationally while being a major source of international technical hiring

You may be surprised to know that countries that produce and export coding talent also hire talent from abroad

For example, India makes up over 25% of the talent that’s picked up by international companies. 

The US comes in second thanks to the sheer volume of tech talent it creates

Germany, Brazil, and Argentina make up the top 5. 

What’s interesting within this data, is that large candidate countries like the US also recruit from abroad quite a lot.

For example, the US also hires from the other top 5 candidate countries like India and Germany. 

Most interestingly though, India doesn’t recruit from anyone else in the top 10 sources of exported talent. 

For some countries, technical hiring goes just one way. 

Want to excel in tech recruiting?

If you want to excel in tech recruiting, you need to leverage trends like those found in our report to make sure a skill shortage doesn’t cripple their talent pool

If you want to take a deeper look at the skills and trends that we found in over 112,000 coding tests, and see how they help your own recruitment process, you can check out the report here:

Devskiller Global Technical Hiring & Skills Report 2019

About the author

Tom Winter is the CRO at Devskiller, a developer screening & online interviews in one platform powered by RealLifeTesting™. 

Madly in love with everything tech, Tom specializes in streamlining the hiring process of tech talent and data-driven recruitment. 

He’s also an avid conference speaker.

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