Juliana Suarez
July 18, 2023

Byteboard’s highest-scoring technical skills in 2022 university recruiting

What do Fortune’s 10 best companies to work for all have in common? They all have early talent programs. For many of these companies, interns serve as the primary pipeline for new college and career hiring. Zippia reports that 70% of interns are hired by the company with which they intern, indicating that evaluating how interns perform on-the-job is a vital metric for how successful the intern will be in a full-time capacity.

As more Gen Z teens consider summer employment compared to Millennials, companies are more robustly investing in intern hiring and development. What does this mean for companies winding down summer 2023 internships and preparing for future intern hiring cycles? Well, the first step in ensuring you are hiring effectively is determining what skills interns need in order to be successful on your team.

For university recruiters and program managers, it is important to work with your engineering counterparts to identify what skills are a must-have priority for hiring and what skills can be learned on-the-job as part of internships.

Identifying Must-Have Skills

What do you get when you have over a dozen check-box criteria an intern needs to meet before getting hired? A frustrated hiring manager and recruiting team. Interns are early in their careers which means they won’t always come with years of experience and all of the skills you might want. 

As university recruitment practitioners, it’s important to work with hiring managers to develop a shared understanding on what’s required for an intern to be successful.  We recommend asking questions such as the following as part of your new hiring manager intake process:

  • What skills does an intern need to know coming into the internship program? 
  • What skills can an intern learn as part of our internship program? 

For skills that are identified as required, it’s important to map out where in your hiring process you will receive a signal on the skill. You might map a skill to any of the following hiring process stages: application, resume review, technical screen, on-site interviews. Let’s say that you identify the ability to read code and written communication as required skills. Here’s how you might map these skills to your hiring process:

  • Application - Written communication
  • Resume Review - Interest in technology, Language specific experience
  • Technical Screen - Reading and writing code, Attention to detail
  • On-Site Interview (Panel Interviews) - Computer science fundamentals

Last year Byteboard partnered with over a half dozen companies to evaluate over a thousand intern candidates. Each company was able to customize and prioritize testing for skills that were essential to the jobs they were hiring for, giving both companies and interns greater insight on whether they would be a good fit for the company.

Find out what trends we learned about intern skills based on completion of Byteboard interviews and how you can use these learnings to inform future hiring and early talent development programs.

Trends in Early Career Skills for Tomorrow’s Engineering Teams 

Byteboard interviews assess intern candidates across over a dozen skills ranging from technical to non-technical; depending on your company's technical focus you may choose to prioritize a certain subset of skills when making hiring decisions. 

We recommend companies focus most on skills that are not fungible or teachable within the course of a summer internship as you can supplement intern summer experience with programs to improve skills in other areas. At Byteboard, we took a look at the highest and lowest scoring skills across 1,000+ intern candidate who completed a Byteboard interview in 2022; here’s what we learned: 

  • Top three skills: testing, working within complex large systems, translating ideas to code
  • Bottom three skills: thrives in ambiguity, collaboration, resourcefulness 

Let’s breakdown two of these skills and why they matter. 

  1. Translating Ideas to Code: Can an intern turn pseudocode into functioning code without guidance? While a technical intern's role goes beyond writing code (asking questions, knowing when to ask for feedback), writing quality code is a fundamental skill that is critical to ensuring an intern’s ability to contribute to real world work.
  2. Thrives in Ambiguity: Can an intern jump into tasks that are not well defined and navigate with little to no guidance or feedback? It is important as employers to take time to develop well-scoped projects with a clear start and end point. Given the compressed nature of internships, interns may not always have time to investigate all of a project's unknowns and produce a tangible work product.

Using Interview Feedback to Inform Intern Experience

University programs team’s can use insights on intern class skills to inform programming for internship programs. Here’s a few examples of what this might look like in practice: 

  • Intern Project or Host Assignments: Why not map interns to projects or hosts aligned to their strongest skills? University Programs team’s can use insights from interviews on candidate skills to place interns on projects aligned to their skills. 
  • Mentorship Programs: You can use insights on intern skills to inform mentorship pairings and match interns based on their skill development needs to a mentor at your organization who counts that skills as a strength. 
  • Personal Development Workshops: Insights into skills gaps can help inform development workshops included as part of your internship programming.

Byteboard evaluates intern candidates across 20+ software engineering skills as they work through a time-boxed project that simulates real-life work. Our candidate skills reports can help companies identify and understand where an intern or intern class can be better supported throughout the course of an internship. 

Read more about how our partners Lyft and Figma have been using Byteboard as part of university programs over the last few years. Interested in partnering to develop a university recruiting process that measures for the right skills? Let’s discuss.