How COVID-19 has transformed the tech landscape

Sep 02, 2020 - 8 min read
Educative
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The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has disrupted the traditional educational and career pipelines, igniting the world’s largest experiment in remote work and online learning. Institutions around the world have closed their doors and turned to online learning platforms to maintain continuity. With this shift, we’ve seen unprecedented changes to career and educational landscapes, particularly in the tech sector.

Economic and lifestyle pressures have changed the industry for software developers. Traditional pipelines of years past may no longer hold bearing on the career and educational decisions of aspiring engineers.

Educative, an interactive online learning platform for software developers, has utilized remote learning long before the pandemic, and their usage cases over the past year reveal some interesting trends for the tech sector.

Read on as we investigate how the pandemic has changed the landscape of software development, perhaps for the better.


Key findings of this report include:

Demand for online learning and intro level material has reached an all time high.

  • Overall, the demand for online software development education has grown significantly. Educative reports a 60% increase of new registered users. HackerRank reports that learning new skills of #1 importance for professional developers.
  • The demand for beginner level material is higher than ever. Educative reports a 65% increase in user engagement with intro level courses. Wall Street Journal reports that coding courses for adult learners has reached an all time high.

Tech education now focuses on best practices and non-technical interview prep

  • The most common technologies for new developers are Python and front-end development (i.e. web development, JavaScript, HTML). Educative reports a 130% increase in engagement with these technologies. StackOverflow finds that Python and JavaScript are the top 2 most wanted languages.
  • Demand for remote interviews preparation overtakes technical interview preparation. Educative’s “Behavioral Interview Preparation” course peaks as one of their most popular courses across the market.

New wave of developers has changed tech market demographics

  • New and aspiring developers are younger than years past. Educative reports a 73% increase in new users within the 18-24 age group.
  • Tech sector has become more diverse in terms of gender. Educative reports a striking 110% increase in female-identifying users.

Online education has shifted the market away from traditional tech hubs

  • Highest rates of new developers are found outside of Silicon Valley and Seattle. Educative reports a 13% decline in Bay Area users accompanied by an 80% increase in users residing in New York City.
  • New wave of online learners are more global than years past. Educative reports a 103% growth in learners from India and a 98% growth in learners from the UK.

In-demand subject matter shifts, ushering in a wave of new developers

eLearning is at an all time high as users have more time on their hands to learn online. Educative reports a 60% increase in new users. With this swell in learner, evidence shows that online learning may be replacing the time that developers would normally spend on leisure activities.

Educative’s usage trends show that users spent 20% more time per session on average in the period of April-July compared to previous months with a 45% increase of weekend usage. Online learning for software developers is not only at an all time high; it is also at an all time importance for these learners.

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With this swell, patterns in online learning material can tell us a lot about the future of technology. eLearning usage trends suggest that the software landscape is shifting away from the patterns of previous years that favored highly-specialized, often-times inaccessible technologies. With a 130% increase in demand for intro level material, namely Python and front-end development, the tech landscape will open its doors to new, self-taught developers, effectively breaking down the monolithic educational pipeline of the past.

Similarly with a 73% increase in users falling in the 18-24 age group, the tech landscape will usher in more young, self-taught developers than ever before.

In fact, HackerRank’s 2020 survey reports that bootcamp attendance, another form of non-traditional tech education, has risen 11x in recent years, with Gen Z developers being more likely than other generations to list a bootcamp as their formal coding education.

This new evidence suggests that the traditional structural barriers may be crumbling as we shift away from university-dominated education and specialized technologies. These changes are bound to alter the tech landscape in years to come.

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Educational focus turns to best practices and supplementary material

Evidence suggests that the pandemic has similarly shifted the educational focus away from the traditional coding interview, which measures rote memory and theoretical comprehension, to favor best practices and upskilling.

Educative reports no increase in interview-prep engagement, likely due to a notable slowdown in hiring, yet their Behavioral Interview preparation materials have reached an all time high. This prioritizing of best practices for online and remote interviews indicates that developers seek an edge up in a more competitive market with non-technical skills.

Similarly, HackerRank’s 2020 survey reports that the most important form of professional growth has shifted away from competitive compensation to favor new tech skills. 59% of developers agree that learning new technical skills is vital to their career goals, which have become far more people-oriented than years past.

A widespread refocus on best practices through non-traditional, supplementary materials indicates that the competitive nature of the tech sector will emphasize skills beyond these theoretical concepts that dominated the tech industry for decades.

This evidence suggests that the traditional coding interview may flux in our post-pandemic market, as more and more developers champion soft skills and professional growth beyond the scope of years past.



Increase in female-identifying developers

The tech industry has historically been male-dominated. According to StackOverflow’s 2020 survey, 92% of professional developers identify as male. Educative’s usage trends, however, suggest that the pandemic of 2020 has created an opportunity to change these staggering stats and equalize the field. In fact, their user base saw a 110% increase in female-identifying users.

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Online learning has often been flouted for its capacity to even the playing field. According to research at Stanford, women over the age of 40, single-mothers, and low income women have become the largest population of adult learners, and in many countries, women compose the majority of online learners.

U.S. News similarly outlines that eLearning is especially beneficial for working mothers who can advance vocationally without attending time consuming, in-person programs.

The pandemic situation of 2020 has contributed to an improvement in gender equality, opening doors for women in the tech world, begin careers as freelance developers, or even upskill to meet industry fluctuations.

In 2020, more diverse learners have utilized online resources to maximize their economic opportunity and lifestyle limitations. These reports in the tech sector are likely a function of the surging demand for front-end development, as it has been well documented that women are more likely to pursue front-end careers compared to other facets of software development.

This increase in female-identifying online learners bodes well for the future of technology.


Silicon Valley is no longer the monolith

The traditional structure of the coding interview and specialized education are not the only monoliths to show signs of decline as a result of the pandemic. The paramountcy of the Silicon Valley as a global tech hub may not be a lasting reality.

In fact, Educative reports that the highest rates of new developers are found outside of Silicon Valley and Seattle. Not only has there been a 13% decline in Bay Area learners, but they have seen an 80% increase in users residing in New York City as well a new wave of learners in India and the UK with a 103% and 98% growth respectively.

This is likely due to many tech giants, like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Apple, embracing a remote work standard, opening the door for developers outside of big city hubs to seek reliable employment.

Facebook, as an example, plans to open new “hubs” consisting of remote hires in cities like Atlanta, Denver, and Dallas. The Washington Post reports that this industry shift will forever change Silicon Valley.

Educative’s reports indicate that the culture of tech will also be changed, likely to favor non-traditional employees and more diverse populations. This game-changing shift makes space for a variety of lifestyles and economic considerations, while also alleviating the skyrocketing rents and congestion of the coastal tech hubs.

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Conclusion

Despite the difficulties and tragedies that the COVID-19 situation has introduced to our world, this evidence suggests that the lockdowns may have been the change that the industry needed to address some of its structural barriers.

In terms of younger, self-taught, and female-identifying developers, the lockdowns have offered the time and space to access resources that will propel the tech industry forward and past the inequalities of years past.

The demands of developers should impact the future of tech, not the other way around. By illuminating the global eLearning trends for software developers, we hope that this report will encourage developers, hiring managers, industry thought leaders and beyond to reimagine how the world of technology and software can and will look different.



Methodology and Limitations

This report is based on surveys and analysis that compares Educative’s usage trends and performance between Quarter 2 (April-June) and Quarter 1 (January-March) of 2020. While Educative expects the coming quarters to reflect similar conclusions, the organization will continue to update their findings with new data at the end of Quarter 3.


About Educative

Educative is an interative learning platform for software developers. Text-based courses with embedded coding environments allow developers to level up on in-demand tech skills more quickly than with video based platforms.


WRITTEN BYEducative

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