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Post by Rich Moy on May 29, 2017 12:00:00 PM

With 87% of the world’s developers currently employed, internship programs are a great way to tap into a talented pool of programmers before they ever hit the open market. However, companies that want to hire the brightest student developers still need to know what they look for in job opportunities and what they want out of their careers. We dug a little deeper into the results of the 2017 Developer Hiring Landscape to see what today’s software development students care about. Here are a few stats to keep in mind whenever you’re engaging with a student programmer.

41% of Student Developers Say That Job Security is Important to Them

Gallup recently found that 60% of millennials are open to a new job opportunity at any point in time, but the students who responded to our survey told us a much different story. In fact, 41% of the students with “some college” experience said that they agree with the idea that job security is important. Additionally, another 27% strongly agree with this statement.

This should come as good news to employers, especially those who sponsor internship programs in which students get to do real work. If you’re thoughtful about the types of projects and mentorship programs you offer to your interns, you’ll put yourself in a strong position to retain the top students as full-time employees after they graduate.

35% of Students Say That Implementation Details Don’t Bore Them

It would be easy to believe that impressing interns requires you to offer perks like free lunches and trips to your local water park. But for many students, those perks are secondary—and for over 35% of the student developers who responded to our survey, they’re even interested in the implementation details of the projects they’re working on.

Of course, interns won’t say no to any of the fun activities you have on the docket for their time with your company. But ultimately, they’re looking for ways to learn new skills. Pair your interns with a more experienced developer on your team and expose them to the finer details of the projects they’re working on. You won’t bore them at all—and you’ll have a better chance of hiring your top interns as full-time employees if you show them live code.


17% of Student Programmers Already Have Three to Four Years of Coding Experience

Many college students pursuing non-technical careers tend to get their first “professional” experience in their field through internships. Over 17% of student programmers with some college experience told us that it had been three to four years since they first learned how to write code. Additionally, over 56% of those developers said that they program as a hobby.

Conventional wisdom would likely tell you that you shouldn’t trust interns with mission-critical work, but remember—the students you hire will often have a lot of coding experience under their belts. If your engineering team is hesitant to assign meaningful work to your interns, encourage them to involve them in smaller projects and increase their responsibilities gradually.

Students Expect to Earn Around $70,000 After Completing Their Bachelor’s Degrees

This year, software developers in North America said they expect to earn around $70,000 upon receiving their bachelor’s degrees. Some respondents did say they only anticipated earning just over $45,000 upon graduating, but the upper-end of this range tops out at upwards of $80,000 in the United States.

Considering that the average salary for developers in the United States is $87,275, the reality is that new grads aren’t exactly asking for the sun and the moon. These numbers might be a tough pill to swallow for some employers, but our CEO Joel Spolsky says that internship programs are an ideal way to minimize the risk of overpaying a recent grad. He adds, “When we hire them, we have more information about them than any other employer who has only interviewed them. That means we can pay them more money.”

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