Diamond and SiC based wide band gap seminconductor radiation detectors are of interest as charge particle, X-ray and neutron detectors in research and industry applications due to their so called radiation hardness. Both materials are high resistivity and suitable for radiation detection in hostile environments – e.g. high temperatures, strong radiation fields, chemical aggressive environments, leading to applications ranging from basic research in nuclear and high energy physics, to applications in fusion, fission, security, medical dosimetry, industrial monitoring etc. The presentation will highlight the common complications encountered in the operation of wide band semiconductor detectors, and the underlying mechanisms causing these and ways to characterize the relevant radiation induced material modifications. In particular, recent approaches to define a quantitative radiation hardness parameter for heavy ion irradiation will be introduced, before presenting recent developments highlighting current advantages and disadvantages for each material choice. In the case of diamond, electronic grade chemical vapour deposited diamond is routinely available and the research efforts are concentrated on optimizing the electrode fabrication for including their long term stability and degradation with irradiation. In the case of Silicon Carbide, high quality electronic grade thick bulk material is less established and samples by different providers are being evaluated.