The reason India doesn’t have enough awesome developers

Let’s be honest. Academic degrees are all fine, but that’s just a filter. An employer only cares about only one thing - can the recruit get stuff done? This is pretty much the norm at startups - it is only after a few rounds of trails, on the job that a startup hire is finalized. Now this isn’t practical at corporates, where there is a need for hiring people, in numbers with a time constraints.

With respect to developers, hiring at scale has been quite straight forward; shortlisting on the basis of academic performances, a fizzbuzz test and some pen and paper code makes sense. In a best case scenario, an Individual assessment for each candidate is ideal. However it would not work at scale. Some IT companies in India hire as many as 3000 - 5000 students, from a single college. Thinking about individually assessing each one of these candidates would have simply been preposterous.

At least, this was the case for so long. A lot has changed in the past few years or so, and there are enough technology solutions out there, which allows exhaustive technical assessment, which is infinitely scalable.

I’m going to blatantly plug our product offering at HackerEarth, but if there is a method to identify doers, might as well use it, right? But let’s go back a step. If administering tests to automatically determine the competency of a candidate is too much to ask, why not make use of something that already exists? GitHub/BitBucket profiles? CodeChef/TopCoder/Hackerearth ranks? Open source contributions? (And if checking on all these things is too difficult, wait for a few weeks; we've made that simpler as well 😉 )

In fact, most developers hate out of context questions during technical interviews. It doesn’t matter how old Jane’s mother is, given the age difference! The customary “how would you rate yourself in xyz language” doesn’t make any sense, when it’s out of context of a real world problem. And the top developers usually have all the necessary online coding activity, which will give you a fair measure of a coder’s proficiency.

But, this is a very small segment of the tech community, you say? Well, the lack of such people, is also your fault.

The current Indian education system is governed by the industry; the industry will get what it asks for. And going by the current hiring patterns it doesn’t seem like the majority of the industry wants people who can code well. Rudimentary coding knowledge seems to suffice and most of what our so called “graduates” are doing, is warming benches at plush offices. Is this what we’re going to do with our soon to be 5.2 million developers?

When you hire like this, how can you complain that you don’t get good quality coders?

I feel that companies need a thorough introspection; if you want good coders, start by the way you hire. And asking in the right places, WILL get you good coders. It just takes some more effort.

About the Author

Raghu Mohan
Raghu is an engineering grad handles Marketing at HackerEarth. Prior to this, he was an editor at When he’s not working, you can find him at the nearest music shop having a jam session.