While evaluating candidates for development roles, hiring teams must use programming tests to hire developers with excellent programming skills and problem-solving abilities. Otherwise, you run the risk of recruiting unfit candidates. Fortunately, a programming test can help you reliably assess a developer’s skill set.
However, an unfocused programming test may fail to reliably evaluate developers for the concerned role. This is why it’s vital to design a test that vets applicants for the precise skills and qualities the role demands. So if you’re looking to hire a developer, let’s see what skills to look for, and how best to check for them.
What is a programming test?
Programming tests help tech employers hire developers by assessing the developer’s problem-solving, code-analyzing, and bug-fixing abilities. Thus, programming assessment tests are essential to evaluate candidates’ skillsets pre-employment.
The skills to assess in a developer
Skill testing is a significant part of assessing candidates during the recruitment process. Developers’ skills range from hard skills like technical proficiency to soft skills such as communication ability.
Here are some skills to look for when hiring software developers.
Skills in programming are ideal for screening software developers pre-employment. Programming test questions that compel candidates to focus, analyze, and find solutions help tech employers assess candidates’ qualitative reasoning and programming skills. Applicants must be fluent in the native syntax and data structures to score well on this test.
Popular programming languages to assess software developers on include C+, Python, Java, and Go. A candidate should be fluent in at least one widely-used programming language. Other important frameworks to test candidates on include Django, Angular, and React.
When designing a test, it’s best to consult professional programmers and software developers to ensure its effectiveness and relevancy.
Tech employers can choose from one of two ways for conducting programming tests to hire developers. The first is to design programming tests from scratch by seeking professional help, and the second is to take advantage of online programming assessment platforms.
Platforms like WeCP (We Create Problems) facilitate mass testing with auto-generated scoring and reporting to streamline the evaluation process.
Data security & privacy
Data security and privacy secure sensitive data from malicious threats and attacks. A proficient software developer can analyze these threats and risks and mitigate them in due time.
Tech companies that build software applications for their clients must guarantee security against cyberattacks and data breaches. Thus, a software developer must incorporate data security features into the product from the ground up.
Data security and privacy tests assess candidates for their skills in encryption framework, information safeguarding, and web application. These tests help employers find the most suitable candidates for the job.
Cloud computing skills
Cloud computing has various important applications, and technological infrastructures like serverless architecture have revolutionized tech. Thus, software developers should have at least some basic knowledge of cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Software developing candidates should be familiar with these platforms’ functionalities, content delivery, and database storage facilities. Cloud computing skill assessment tests help employers test a candidate’s understanding of the cloud infrastructure and its applications.
Management & design skills
Software developers often deal with large databases. Thus, they must be able to properly secure, backup, and manage these databases. Popular database technology platforms include SQL, MySQL, and Oracle, among others.
On the other hand, system design deals with the product development and application of software systems. Thus, it focuses on the architecture, interface, and modules of a specialized software system.
Because software developers deal with database management and system design, these skills are relevant and necessary. A good software developer must have the working knowledge and skills to handle the elements of software systems and databases.
Proficiency in problem-solving
Errors in software code halt the development progress, and developers cannot move forward until the problem is resolved. So, theoretical knowledge is not enough to be skilled at software development – problem-solving skills are necessary too.
A good software developer excels at problem-solving; they can quickly identify and fix any problems in their code. Thus, problem-solving is an essential skill to assess when recruiting devs.
Problem-solving in software development also involves teamwork, creating applications that meet detailed requirements, effective communication, and meeting tight deadlines. Therefore, a software development candidate must be proficient at these forefronts.
Technical skills are an essential requirement for technical jobs like software development. These skills include the ones listed above, like programming skills, data management & security skills, cloud computing skills.
Additionally, they include many other skills in areas like data structures and algorithms, integrated development environment (IDE), source control, front-end web technologies, and many more. What skills you need to look for in a candidate depends on the particular job description. Skill maps help tech employers identify the right skills to assess for tech roles.
Communication & interpersonal skills
Most software developers find themselves working in a team, so communication and interpersonal skills are vital. Developers often have to check and contribute to their peers’ work, so they must communicate effectively with colleagues and subordinates. A good developer should convey all necessary information and communicate any problem points.
Furthermore, software development often entails communication with clients. Therefore, developers must be approachable and helpful, with the right attitude for discussions. Additionally, they should respond to constructive criticism and continuously hone their hard and soft skills.
Because developers spend a lot of time with their colleagues, it’s essential to foster healthy relationships with them. This is where a candidate’s interpersonal skills matter. A candidate with good interpersonal skills is polite, professional, respectful, patient, adaptive, and accountable.
In software development, the quality of the code plays a vital role in its effectiveness. The code determines how safe, secure, and reliable your software product is. High-quality code is well-documented, easy to understand and follow, testable, consistent, and reliable.
When testing the quality of a candidate’s code, tech employers assess five factors. These are the code’s reliability, maintainability, testability, portability, and reusability.
Some helpful metrics in this regard include the defect metrics that assess the quantity and severity of errors. Additionally, complexity metrics assess a code’s effectiveness based on its vocabulary, length, difficulty, and effort, among other factors.
4 reliable ways to evaluate developers
We’ve gone over the essential technical and soft skills a software developer must. Now, let’s see how to test for these skills.
The tech employment process consists of several steps: resume collection and checking, screening, skill assessment, interviews, and evaluations. Here’s how to vet candidates for the right skills.
1. Start with a phone screening
Resume screening is an unreliable evaluation method because the skills and experience listed on a resume are difficult to authenticate. Candidates may lie on their resume or overstate their understanding of a subject matter.
Phone screening interviews are a more reliable evaluation method for shortlisting candidates. With focused, structured questions, tech employers can utilize phone interviews to better understand a candidate’s fit.
2. Check their portfolio
Once you have screened the candidates, it’s time to examine their portfolios thoroughly. Be sure to check for relevant skills and projects. For example, you’d look for programming projects when hiring a software developer.
Different candidates often bring different portfolios to the table. For example, some might have a single webpage to showcase, while others have complex software projects. Thus, it makes uniform assessment a challenge. When judging a software developer’s portfolio, tech employers should look for important elements and features like libraries, tools integration, and development collaborations.
You can find candidates’ portfolios in GitHub, Stack Overflow, and other coding platforms. How a candidate chooses to present their portfolio can also indicate the quality of their communication skills.
3. Invite them to sit for programming tests
After vetting a candidate’s portfolio, you should invite them to sit for a skills test. Technical skill assessments are a uniform and reliable way to test candidates on equal footing. But, again, designing a relevant test is key to guaranteeing the best results. For example, software developers should be evaluated with programming-focused skill assessment tests.
It’s best to get help from professionals when designing the programming test questions and answers. This way, you ensure that the programs are relevant and manageable in the given time, guaranteeing reliable results.
4. Conduct live coding interviews
Solving simple coding questions is far from demanding, but real problems in the workplace require skill and expertise. Thus, tech employers must simulate real-world problems to clearly understand a candidate’s fit.
A live coding test is an assessment test where an employer observes the applicant in real-time. These coding interviews let hiring managers simulate real work environments and observe candidates’ problem-solving skills and cultural fit.
Tech assessment platforms like WeCP (We Create Problems) allow tech employers to design and conduct coding tests online and observe candidates in real-time.
Conduct programming tests and hire developers reliably with WeCP
WeCP (We Create Problems) is an all-in-one recruitment solution with a question bank that boasts over 0.2-million questions. Tech employers can use WeCP to design a custom programming test to evaluate candidates for a given role.
WeCP includes questions that evaluate developers for their programming skills, cultural fit, cloud computing skills, and more. Get in touch with us to learn how WeCP helps tech employers decrease hiring times and find the best talent.