What originally attracted me to computer science and coding?
I wrote my first code while I was still in school. It was simply magical to create something valuable by writing just a few lines of code. I remember writing small C and BASIC programs to do word processing and arithmetic operations and transporting them on a floppy disk as a valuable asset. I was always driven towards math, so learning the binary system was also very interesting.
Could you share with us exactly what HackerEarth is?
HackerEarth’s vision is to connect software developers to the right opportunities around the world. We have a community of nearly 6 million developers who use our platform to learn to code. They participate in Hackathons and hiring challenges supported by various organizations on our platforms. For companies, we provide a technical assessment tool to screen software developer candidates. We have also recently launched a technical interview tool that provides best-in-class experience for interviewers and interviewees. Combining all of this, we provide a lifecycle platform for developers that covers learning from marking skills to paid work and then back to learning.
Could you define what skill signaling is and how it has evolved over time?
Skills coaching is basically proof that you are presenting to potential employers to showcase what you have learned over time. Traditionally, employers have used pedigrees, such as college degrees, previous organizations, the skills mentioned in the resume as skills signals. This has created an unreasonable amount of dependence on what candidates write on their resumes. However, this is changing rapidly. Today, the best technical employers are looking for real evidence of work when trying to assess skills. Such skills signaling can be done through the candidate’s Github profile or his scoreboard on platforms like HackerEarth. In addition to this, employers monitor these candidates based on how they perform during the online technology assessment, which is purely based on the skills required for the job. This keeps the whole hiring process very objective and fair for both the employer and the candidate.
Why is participation in open source projects so important?
I would say that open source grants are one of the strong signals of skill for any candidate who wants to be hired. But overall, for any software developer with open source grants under their belt, it means he or she knows a lot of development best practices, can work effectively in a team, can monitor processes, and write clean, maintainable code.
Why is participation in logging the best ways for candidates to stand out?
Hackatons are a unique opportunity for learning. Candidates are allowed to use their technical skills and create some kind of application or prototype of an idea that is of real benefit in the real world. This helps candidates not only build their technical muscles but also gain expertise in the field for which they are building. It also gives them a taste of the teamwork and hustle and bustle that is usually needed for fast-growing organizations. That’s why we see employers doing more hacking these days where they can see real technical skills, creativity and teamwork at once.
In what other ways can candidates present their work?
In addition to being active on Github and open coding communities like HackerEarth, candidates can showcase their work by contributing to StackOverflow platforms or their technical blogs, Medium, for example.
Why should candidates always be willing to learn and make a habit of constantly updating their skills?
While the basics of software development may not change, new languages, frameworks, code writing style, or software architecture have changed a lot. This is primarily due to the increase in processing power, the availability of huge amounts of data, and the applicability to such a wide area. Candidates need to develop a good depth in at least some of these, but they also need to understand broadly so that they can apply the best tool to a particular problem. This requires continuous learning and public awareness of such developments.
What should recruiters and hiring managers be thinking about when hiring the next generation of developers?
In addition to non-infrastructure, such as data structures, algorithms, and design, employers need to focus on the first principles. There are several ways to review it, but my favorite is to get candidates to do a proper written assignment. This forces them not only to solve the problem but also to explain their solution in a way that others understand. Another important aspect to consider is diversity. As a hiring manager, you don’t want to create a team that thinks and acts just like you. Teams should, in fact, be a melting pot of ideas and diverse opinions. This will help innovation in the long run.
Is there anything else you would like to share about HackerEarth?
As an organization, HackerEarth is proud to have been able to influence tens of thousands of people by helping them learn and get jobs from hundreds of large organizations around the world. As software continues to eat the world, we will continue to impact people more, improve access to technology, remove prejudices, and help democratize knowledge-based hiring.