11 Popular Skills Assessments to Test Programming Skills | Toggl Hire
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11 Popular Skills Assessments to Test Programming Skills

Post Author - Juste Semetaite Juste Semetaite Last Updated:

Hiring a great programmer is difficult for several reasons. Namely, technology is advancing at unprecedented speeds, and coding skills that were relevant two years ago might hold little value today.

Java and C are great foundational coding skills to have in 2024, but regardless of the skills you need your developers to have, the only way to identify excellent candidates is to offer a programming test specific to those skills.

If you’ve ever tried to test programming skills, you’ll know these skills assessments can take many forms, too. From simple programming tests to live coding challenges and take-home assignments — how do you decide which is best for selecting the best candidates for a development role?

Simple — it all comes down to a fine-tuned recruitment process that leverages the power of proper programming tests.

TL;DR — Key Takeaways

  • Coding tests are a type of skills assessment that companies can use to evaluate the programming skills of candidates. These tests typically involve asking candidates to solve coding challenges in a set amount of time.
  • While a programming assessment is a great way to test a candidate for their technical skills, it’s also important to use skills assessments to test for other skills, including soft skills like cognitive abilities, teamwork, and communication skills.
  • Some of the most popular coding skills assessments in 2024 include JavaScript, React, C, and HTML and CSS.
  • Offering candidates the same programming assessment test helps streamline the hiring process while also reducing hiring bias and improving the candidate experience.
Hire technical talent with skills tests

How do companies test programming skills before hiring developers?

There are three key ways to test a candidate’s programming skills before bringing them on board. Use them in conjunction with each other to develop the best assessment process.

1. Review a candidate’s entire portfolio

Evaluating a candidate’s portfolio, projects, and GitHub and Stack Overflow activity is a great way to determine the quality of their programming skills.

You should look at their past projects, hobby projects, and examples of code, as well as any blogs or open-source projects they’ve worked on that can help highlight their key coding skills. This can help you weed out candidates and decide who gets to the first round of interviews.

2. Conduct candidate interviews and screening tests

Interviews are a great and traditional way to understand if the candidate has good communication skills, assess their problem-solving skills, and see how they work together with others on projects.

That said, structured interviews can also help you gain an overview of your candidates’ technical coding skills. Ask them about projects they recently worked on or about the programming languages and frameworks they will need to use.

3. Test programming skills with coding tests

If used in the right way, a coding skills assessment can be an even better way to objectively assess your candidates’ skills.

When deciding which coding test to use, however, it’s important to consider the overall user experience based on the seniority level of the candidate. Not all programming tests work for every seniority level, so choose the coding challenges that are appropriate for the position.

What can coding tests reveal about candidates?

Coding tests are a type of skills assessment that companies can use to evaluate the programming skills of candidates. These tests typically involve asking candidates to solve coding challenges in a set amount of time.

An online coding test is used to assess the candidate’s knowledge of specific coding languages, frameworks, and technologies, as well as compare the candidate’s abilities to others applying for the same position.

Here are a few of the key factors programming tests reveal about candidates, especially when used at the beginning of the hiring process.

Evaluating programming skills

As the name suggests, coding tests accurately evaluate a candidate’s coding skills by providing a reliable and objective assessment of their abilities. These online tests can help companies determine a candidate’s proficiency in specific programming languages and technologies and their ability to write clean and efficient code.

Soft skills

While most coding tests focus on assessing coding skills, customized skills assessment tests can provide insight into a candidate’s critical thinking skills, communication abilities, and time management skills. Assessing these skills ensures you know how a candidate would fit into your team and company culture and whether they have the necessary qualities to succeed in the role.

General cognitive abilities

Again, customized coding tests can not only assess a candidate’s coding skills but also provide a measure of their general cognitive abilities. These abilities include problem-solving skills, creativity, and the ability to learn new things — all of which are important for success in software development. After all, you want to ensure they’re capable of adapting to new technologies and challenges.

11 programming skills to test in 2024

While you can test for general coding skills (and we suggest you do!), here are some of the top programming skills and languages hiring managers and companies are on the lookout for this year, according to internal data from previous years and current technical hiring trends.

1. General Coding

Coding is an essential skill in today’s digital world, as knowledge workers use coding skills in various fields, from software development to data science and machine learning. General coding skills tests will assess a candidate’s ability to process to write general instructions for a computer to execute. Even spreadsheet formulas are a type of general coding.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript is a popular programming language that is widely used for developing web applications. It’s easy to learn and use and is supported by all major web browsers. Developers use JavaScipt for various purposes, such as creating interactive elements on websites, building web servers and back-end systems, and creating mobile and video game applications.

test your programming skills
Are you a candidate looking to test your technical skills? Take a free JavaScript skills test.

3. React

React is a JavaScript library that’s widely used for building user interfaces (UIs) for web applications. Its popularity comes from its ability to make it easier to build complex UIs by breaking them down into smaller, reusable components. Many renowned companies, including Facebook, Netflix, and Airbnb, use the React language.


HTML (HyperText Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) are two widely used technologies for building and styling web pages. HTML is used to define the structure and content of a web page, while CSS is used to define the style and layout. Together, they’re essential components of almost every website on the internet.

5. General Database

Databases are an essential component of many systems, providing businesses of all sizes with a means to store and manage their data. There are a variety of different database types, including relational, NoSQL, and in-memory databases, all of which can be used to facilitate efficient data storage, management, and retrieval.

6. SQL

SQL (Structured Query Language) is a widely used language for managing data stored in relational databases. It is popular because it is easy to learn and use, and it is supported by most database management systems. SQL is used by businesses of all sizes to manage data, create reports, and gain insights from their data.

test your SQL skills
Want to test your SQL skills for your next interview? Take a free SQL skills test.

7. Node.js

Node.js is another popular JavaScript runtime environment that is used for building server-side applications. Its popularity comes from its ability to allow developers to write JavaScript code for execution on the server rather than in the browser. Node.js is often used to build web servers, microservices, and other types of back-end systems.

8. Rest

REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style for building web APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). It is popular because it is simple, flexible, and widely supported. REST is used to build APIs that allow different systems to communicate with each other over the internet.

9. Git

Custom tests allow you to design skills assessments that test programming skills in a specific niche
If you want to assess a specific skill, the fastest way to generate an assessment is to build a Custom Test and use our library of 15,000 peer-reviewed questions to autogenerate a test.

Git is a widely supported, easy-to-use version control system that provides software development teams with a range of features and capabilities for tracking changes to files, managing their codebase, and collaborating on projects. It is a popular choice for many teams due to its robust and user-friendly design.

10. TypeScript

Built on top of JavaScript, TypeScript provides optional static typing and a range of other features. By adding extra safety and security to the programming process, TypeScript is frequently used in the development of large, complex JavaScript applications and is supported by a variety of development tools and frameworks.

11. Python

Thanks to its easy-to-learn syntax and straightforward approach, Python is a popular programming language. With a large and active community of users, there is a wide range of online resources, libraries, and frameworks available to developers. Additionally, Python’s versatility makes it suitable for a variety of tasks, specifically data analysis and artificial intelligence.

What other non-technical skills should employers evaluate in their hiring process?

Non-technical skills, also known as “soft skills,” are important for software developers to have because they help developers work effectively with others, handle challenges and change, and navigate the demands of their job.

Employers should evaluate candidates for these skills during the hiring process because they are essential for a developer to succeed. Some non-technical skills that employers may want to evaluate in their recruitment process include the following…

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Want to test candidates for these soft skills along side their standard coding challenges? Use Toggl Hire to create a custom skills assessment test and include both hard and soft skills questions. Click on the links below to view samples of what each soft skills assessment test includes and the kinds of questions you can expect to see when building your tests.

Communication skills

Being able to clearly and effectively communicate with team members, clients, and stakeholders is crucial for a software developer.

Problem-solving abilities

Developers must be able to identify and troubleshoot issues that arise in a project.

Teamwork skills

Developers often work in teams, so being able to work effectively with others is essential to completing the task at hand.

Work ethic

Having a strong work ethic and a dedication to producing high-quality work is important for a developer. This includes being self-motivated, reliable, and willing to put in extra effort when necessary.

Time management skills

Developers often have to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines, so good time management skills are important for staying organized and on track.


The field of software development is constantly evolving, so developers must be able to adapt and learn new technologies and techniques quickly.

Leadership skills

Developers may be called upon to take on leadership roles, so having the ability to lead and guide others can be useful.

Being open to criticism

Receiving and responding to feedback is an important part of any job, and software development is no exception. Being open to criticism and being able to use it constructively to improve your work is a valuable skill for a developer to have.

Ultimately, the specific non-technical skills that are important will depend on the specific needs of the employer and the role that the software developer will be filling.

Ready to implement programming tests?

At Toggl Hire, we’re biased because we love skills tests! However, in today’s competitive technical hiring market, it’s incredibly important to test programming skills when evaluating candidates for a software development role. Skills tests make it much easier to autogenerate programming tests and review sample questions.

For example, here’s how it works with Toggl Hire programming tests:

  • Select the programming language that the coding test will be based on
  • Choose the difficulty level of the test
  • Select the time limit for the test
  • Customize the test by adding or removing questions as needed

Once you’ve created the coding test, it’s a good idea to share it internally with subject matter experts and have them complete the test to provide a benchmark score. This can help you get a sense of what a strong score looks like and identify areas for improvement.

Upgrade your hiring process by adding a programming test or a coding challenge in no time with pre-built assessment templates!

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Juste Semetaite

Juste loves investigating through writing. A copywriter by trade, she spent the last ten years in startups, telling stories and building marketing teams. She works at Toggl Hire and writes about how businesses can recruit really great people.

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