Where are students learning about software and coding?
Rocket Software just said farewell to our 2016 summer engineering interns – and we look forward to seeing many of them back in our hallways once they graduate. Not only did they bring a lot of creativity and energy to the company, but they also gave us valuable insight into some of the ways that so-called millennials work. After all, theirs is the first generation that has grown up with computers from birth, and how they interact with technology is profoundly different than how many of us in preceding generations (Generation X, and Baby Boomers) do it.
One issue that we wanted their insight on was how younger programmers get information about the tech industry. Their parents might read a daily newspaper or have a few favorite websites bookmarked – but that’s not part of life for most millennials who grew up in a digital world. This is critical for us as we prepare for the next 25 years of Rocket because it directly affects how we will recruit and retain new talent. So we sent out a survey, and here is what the interns reported:
- Our interns learn about industry news through a variety of sources. Social platforms, news sites, word of mouth and Reddit were the top four, in that order.
- Top individual sources of news are word of mouth, Reddit, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Stack Overflow.
- When it comes to places they go for coding help, online forums are the clear choice. Stack Overflow is the clear winner when it comes to specific websites for coding help.
- Industry publications are not important to this group, and they rarely read things shared by other people.
- The most commonly-used mobile apps are Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, email, Pokemon Go (gotta catch ‘em all), and Spotify.
- Just about all of our interns listed Facebook as one of their most-visited websites. Reddit comes in a distant second.
This is pretty interesting for us to know, but now the real work begins. How can Rocket let 23-year-old programmers know about what we’re up to if they don’t read traditional media outlets? How can we create a unique technical culture when so much expertise is available in public forums? And how can Rocket leverage social media to reach college students who may be searching for their first job? Knowing how millennials get information is important, but it’s only the first step.