How to recruit the next generation of developers

According to the U.S. News’ Best Technology Jobs of 2021 report, the #1 technology job is Software Developer. U.S. News based its rankings on specific component measures, including median salary ($107,510), the unemployment rate (1.4%), and a 10-year growth volume (Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 316,000 software developer jobs will be added between 2019 and 2029). One would think recruiting developers—and keeping them—would be an easy proposition.

But is it?

Recruiting developers: Harder than you think

The fact that there are software developer jobs that also seem to offer decent salaries suggests that challenges with recruiting developers isn’t due to opportunities and pay. Instead, it may have to do with a software developer shortage (a topic for another day) and who is being recruited.

College and boot camp graduates appear to be favorite targets for recruitment, and because these graduates often have more than several employment options, they sit in the pilot’s seat when making their decisions. Some of their decision-making factors include competitive pay, working remotely, and a good working environment. Companies that meld these factors into their recruitment offers have a better chance of recruiting developers.

However, once developers have been recruited, retaining them becomes the next big hurdle. Developers with real-world experience become the focus of other companies keen to lure them away, but there are ways to increase developer loyalty. For example, companies can offer challenges, give incentives, provide support, and encourage autonomy (without sacrificing teamwork).

Here at Intuit®, we have worked hard to incorporate these methods with gratifying results. We were just named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work For 2021 based on surveys sent in by our employees. Our efforts on behalf of our employees during the pandemic, including giving employees time off to recharge, creating programs to handle being a caretaker, maintaining work/life balance, and taking care of themselves and families, were a major reason we ranked 11 out of 100 companies.

Intuit’s Brinda Sivalingam also discussed Intuit’s response to the COVID-19 response in Why I love being an Intuit Developer: “I love being an Intuit developer. There are many reasons why, and the COVID-19 crisis, though tragic, has revealed one more: Intuit’s response to the virus. Intuit’s message of powering prosperity around the world isn’t just a feel-good mission statement. It’s a real passion to help others succeed, in good times and bad.”

She also notes that Intuit “encourages employees to learn, innovate, and grow.”

Recruiting developers like Brinda is a top priority and one way we do that is through the Intuit Internship Program.

The Intuit Internship Program

Through the Intuit Internship Program, talented undergraduates and graduates can apply for an internship with the goal of working for the company full time. The internship is a paid position over a 10-12-week-time period in the summer. It’s an opportunity for recruits to see if Intuit is a place they would enjoy working at full time, and for Intuit to see if the recruits meet their requirements for a full-time employee.

For applicants to be hired as an intern, they must understand the position they are applying for and communicate their interest in that position clearly. As well, they will want to know and agree with Intuit’s Operating Values:

  • Integrity Without Compromise
  • Courage
  • Customer Obsession
  • Stronger Together
  • We Care and Give Back

In addition, applicants’ personal and professional values must match Intuit’s core values. They include winning together, learning fast, taking feedback, being bold, delivering awesome, giving back, and practicing integrity without compromise.

The interview process is in-depth. It requires a behavioral interview using the STAR method (for example, asking about a real-life example of a past work challenge and how the applicant dealt with it), coding challenges, and a live interview with a software engineer—not necessarily in that order. If there are concerns after the behavioral interview, a 75-minute interview with two more engineers may be required.

Interns will choose two core values to develop along with personal and business goals that will be evaluated by their manager. At no time will interns be in doubt as to their status. If they aren’t on track to be hired, they have the opportunity to attend bootcamps and extra trainings. By the end of the internship, Intuit is excited to hire the interns full time.

“I am challenged by each task I do, and my mentor is there to answer my questions and guide me in the right direction. As a result, I advance quickly both as a student growing my skill set and as an employee doing my job. When we have meetings and events, I am invited to participate, and my ideas are taken into consideration. My internship is making me infinitely more prepared for the workforce than any school or bootcamp could, because as an intern I am in the workforce.” – Nika Ribnitski, Software Engineering Intern

Intuit’s recruitment—and retainment—policies are meant to benefit our company, our employees, and ultimately, our customers.

Recruiting developers: A challenge worth taking

A CNBC article says software developers are “more valuable to companies than money.” It also notes, “Software developers don’t have a monopoly on good ideas, but their skill set makes them a uniquely deep source of innovation, productivity and new economic connections. When deployed correctly, developers can be economic multipliers—coefficients that dramatically ratchet up the output of the teams and companies of which they’re a part.”

As valuable additions to any team, the next generation of developers has their pick of where to work and for whom to work for. It’s up to companies to convince developers to choose them.

Ramya Kasaraneni, a senior developer relations engineer, chose to work at Intuit. She writes in Why I love being an Intuit Developer, “A core Intuit value is “Win Together,” which is all about teams working together toward our mission of powering prosperity around the world. I’ve found this to be true in my time at Intuit, a company that truly cares about its employees and their benefits, while also encouraging us to give back to the community. Intuit has also helped me grow both personally and professionally, giving me a platform to do challenging tasks every day.”

Recruiting and retaining software developers is a challenge, but it is a challenge worth taking.