Posts Tagged ‘who should learn to code’

Should All New Hires Know How to Code?

June 10th, 2013

hiring developersHR professionals need to constantly evaluate the standards by which they judge potential recruits for their firms, especially when it comes to all things digital. For hiring managers and recruiters working in the areas of digital media, marketing and the tech space, an emerging question is whether all new hires should know how to code, or at least be a little bit savvy with computer programming.

It does make sense that hiring managers should know how to look for this ability, even if they are hiring a person for an open position in a very different field, because nowadays, everything does boil back down to the basics of coding.

Unfortunately, programming knowledge and skills are decidedly lacking amongst college graduates in the United States, and bosses in tech firms are becoming less likely to hire those who don’t understand computer programming, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Kirk McDonald, president of PubMatic, a Manhattan ad tech company. McDonald points out that high school students in the U.S. are being educated in a school system with eight times as many football teams as schools that offer advanced placement classes in computer science.

At the university level, McDonald notes, 40,000 students are expected to graduate with a B.A. in computer science, while experts predict that companies will establish 120,000 jobs requiring this type of training, which means that there will only be enough graduates to fill one-third of computer science-related positions.

McDonald doesn’t mean to imply that all students need to become hard-core programmers. He suggests that at the very least, students should learn the basics of programming so that they can understand the principles of computer coding in the course of their non-computing jobs.

For example, a recent hire is meeting with a client who wants to know how long it will take to complete a digital project. Without a fundamental grasp of the work that programmers and engineers do, the hire will not be able to give the client a good answer and will have to settle for guessing, which isn’t good for anyone.

Even people who work in sales, marketing or other relatively non-technical departments should familiarize themselves with basic computer language skills.

As a recruiter, you are advised to determine whether your job candidates know at least something about the logic and grammar of computer languages, so they will be able to see their work flow in context.