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Work-life balance in a future job is more important to U.S. student developers than any other early career goal, according to HackerRank’s Student Developer Report 2018, which includes a survey of 10,350 student developers in the U.S., U.K., India, and Canada.

HackerRank is an online resource for developers interested in learning new skills.

Work-life balance was defined first and foremost by student developers in the U.S. as flexible work hours, followed by good vacation or paid time off benefits, remote worker support, and a company that focuses on goals rather than a particular number of hours worked.

“To speak to these students, employers shouldn’t just talk about work-life balance; they should actively encourage it. Even when younger generations are offered balance opportunities, they fear what coworkers will think if they take advantage of them. Openly encouraging a culture of balance will help them feel at ease,” the report reads.

Students in India, Canada, and the U.K. ranked professional growth and learning as their top priority, followed by work-life balance.

The report also found that about 27 percent of developers who participated in the survey said they are self-taught, while roughly 38 percent had a combination of independent learning and instruction from a computer science school or university.

At 17 percent, the U.S. has the smallest share of computer scientists who were solely self-taught.

Developer students were far more likely to use YouTube as a resource than professional developers were. While both students and professional developers look to Stack Overflow first for fixes and learning, (88 to 77 percent), 73 percent of students look to YouTube, compared to about 64 percent of professionals.

Both use YouTube and Stack Overflow more often than books, online courses and tutorials, or academic papers.

Generally speaking, there’s a shortage of developers in a variety of IT fields, but among those surveyed, JavaScript was the programming language where employee demand most outstripped the current number of available workers.

“As the direction for web applications has moved from static to dynamic, JavaScript has become increasingly dominant in the industry,” the report reads. “Employers need it more than any other skill.”

Among the most popular coding languages student developers plan to learn next, 39.3 percent of those surveyed said they plan to learn Python, followed by 38.9 percent for JavaScript, and 40.3 percent for Ruby on Rails.

The HackerRank survey follows the Octoverse report from GitHub this fall, which shared insights from tens of millions of developers who use the platform. JavaScript ranked as the most-used coding language, followed by Java and Python.

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