UVA #1 in software engineering, leading standard bearers Stanford, Cal-Berkeley
- University of Virginia
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Yale University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Pennsylvania
- rice university
- California Institute of Technology
- University of California, San Diego
- Swarthmore College
In its 2022 report, released May 24, CodeSignal said its findings should send a clear message to recruiters tasked with growing and diversifying the software engineering workforce in the United States: They may be looking for new workers in the wrong places and should re-evaluate which universities they are targeting for applicants.
More than 94% of computer science degrees awarded each year are not from university engineering programs traditionally stereotyped as “top tier,” the report says. Only three of the schools in CodeSignal’s top 10 for graduates who excel in software development make it to US News & World Report’s list of top 10 engineering schools.
The report states that CodeSignal’s test data “shows that a degree from one of the top traditional engineering programs is not necessarily the best predictor of talent. Directly measuring candidates’ skills, rather than the school they hang out with, is a proven way to build a stronger, more diverse team.”
Mark Sherriff, professor and associate director of computer science at the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science, said a quick read of the sample CodeSignal test questions he found online told him that. long on why AVU graduates could do so well. UVA does not simply focus on teaching students one or two common coding languages, but rather teaches them how to use complex algorithms to solve computer programming problems they might encounter.
“Some of them are problems that we deal with in our higher level algorithm class. Chances are, our students will say to themselves, “We had a homework problem like this,” said Sherriff, who has been a member of UVA Engineering’s college general education faculty since 2007.
It was the experience of Param Damle, a promising third-year student and president of UVA Engineering’s Association for Computing Machinery student chapter, who passed the test for internships at Capitol One and Ebay.
In his freshman year, Damle took Tom Horton’s Algorithm course and served as a teaching assistant in the Associate Professor of Computer Science course. Normally this is a fourth year course, but this is changing as the department rolls out a revamped curriculum.
“We know that students in these interview processes are being asked these kinds of algorithmic problem-solving questions, not this [programming] language they know,” Sherriff said. “And in our new curriculum, we are advancing these topics even earlier in the curriculum, toward students’ second and third years. We already have anecdotal data from students who participated in the pilot program who said they felt much better prepared for the interviews than they think of their friends.
Damle acknowledged that one of the test’s algorithms was similar to what he had learned in Horton’s course.
Although Damle knows of UVA students who prepared for the assessment using online practice tools, he banked on his classroom training — and scored a near-perfect 846.
Scores range from 600 to 849. Scores above 800 represent the 84th percentile of applicants and signify “an excellent foundation in computer science and an exceptional ability to implement scalable applications,” CodeSignal said in its report.
Of UVA test takers, 43% scored above 800. Carnegie Mellon had the next highest percentage at 33%.
Damle has taken four or five such assessments, including CodeSignal’s, for internship applications, many of which are customized to assess suitability for a specific employer.
“What CodeSignal is actually trying to achieve is what you’ll find in every technical review,” Damle said. “Companies in every field use them, but not necessarily this one.”