Interview with Vivek Ravisankar, HackerRank

“Upskilling and reskilling for technical roles is critical”

Sarah Schlothauer
© Shutterstock / eamesBot

We spoke with Vivek Ravisankar from HackerRank about the current tech talent gap, how to align the interests of both businesses and developers, and more. Why is upskilling and reskilling employees so important and what tech skills will be the most in demand in 2022?

JAXenter: According to recent findings, developers are focusing on SQL, but companies are looking for candidates with C# experience. Why do you think this disconnect happened, and what insights could you give?

Vivek Ravisankar: At first glance between the two data sets, there may appear to be a discrepancy between certain technical skills companies are hiring for and what developers are practicing, however SQL is a common language for Data Analysts and Data Scientist roles which have been growing in fast demand, likely causing it to rise in popularity among developers for the quarter.

JAXenter: How do decision makers help align both business interests and developer interests?

Vivek Ravisankar: Tech leaders need to be able to communicate with their company’s leadership team to understand the origin of project requests and strategic impact in order to achieve cohesive success across the business. One thing they should master is operating in a “no excuse zone.” This means figuring out what a problem would look like if you couldn’t give yourself any excuses to solve it. It helps identify which constraints are false and which you can overcome. When they understand that, they can communicate challenges and needs much more clearly, ensuring their developer teams are supported while working towards business interests.

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JAXenter: What is the tech talent gap? Has this gotten larger due to COVID-19?

Vivek Ravisankar: The tech talent gap is a result of industries undergoing digital transformation much more rapidly than anticipated. Especially due to the pandemic, as many jobs transitioned to a remote, online nature to safety constraints, the digitization of many operations has accelerated the need for technical talent and created more open roles than we have trained engineers and developers to fill, and making competition for top talent fiercer than ever.

JAXenter: How can we close the tech talent gap?

Vivek Ravisankar: With a combination of more companies, like Facebook and Google, dropping degree requirements, and an increasing number of self-taught developers, we are seeing positive progress towards an equilibrium of tech talent and demand, as the pool is expanding much more than years prior. Additionally, more tools are being built for developers, which make it easier for interested candidates to get started learning how to code.

Upskilling and reskilling current employees for technical roles is an option companies should also consider to help close the tech talent gap. During the pandemic, many organizations found themselves needing fewer employees on the ground or in service roles, presenting an ideal moment to transition nontechnical employees into technical roles through reskilling.

Upskilling and reskilling for technical roles is critical now because companies urgently need technical talent, and the competition to hire it is fierce. For example, remote interviews for technical roles grew by 106% on HackerRank’s platform from 2020-2021 as companies continue investing in their digital presences and at a time when the world of work was largely remote-first.

Additionally, now that companies are beginning to hire globally in the new work-from-anywhere world, this opens the door to more talent without regional constraints.

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JAXenter: Do you have any predictions for the next year? What technical skills will be most in-demand in 2022?

Vivek Ravisankar: Over the next year, I expect three technical skills to be most in demand due to the pace of ongoing global innovation, such as:

  • DevOps: with the rise of the cloud, and the acceleration of cloud technology adoption, DevOps skills will be top of mind with technical hiring. Specifically, this includes strong knowledge of AWS, GCP and Azure.
  • Cybersecurity: the rapid digitization we are seeing across industries also creates an increase in cyber threats. Many industries are handling more sensitive data, such as healthcare and government agencies who commonly store that data in the cloud, which leads to an increased need for advanced protection and an increasing demand for cybersecurity specialists.
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence: As companies work with more data than ever, the industry will require more innovation in algorithms and advanced AI technology in order to yield better, more efficient outcomes.

JAXenter: Can you tell us a little bit about HackerRank? What problems can HackerRank help solve?

Vivek Ravisankar: HackerRank is a developer skills company that helps businesses like Walmart, LinkedIn, Amazon and PayPal attract, evaluate and hire the best technical talent from around the world. Companies across all industries, including 25% of the Fortune 100, rely on HackerRank to raise their hiring bar. More than 15 million developers (40% of the global developer population) trust HackerRank to learn and practice coding skills, and every eight seconds, a developer completes a HackerRank assessment.

Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer

All Posts by Sarah Schlothauer

Sarah Schlothauer is the editor for She received her Bachelor's degree from Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey. She currently lives in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband and cat where she enjoys reading, writing, and medieval reenactment. She is also the editor for Conditio Humana, an online magazine about ethics, AI, and technology.

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