In a study carried out by HackerRank, a California-based service that administers tests to its community of developers to hone their skills, China and Russia led the pack as countries with the best programmers.
Surprisingly, the US and India did not make top 25 as they ranked 28th and 31st respectively. Nigeria ranked 48th out of the 50 countries ranked (3rd in Africa), coming behind Egypt and South Africa who came in 42nd and 43rd respectively. This means Egypt has the best programmers in Africa.
HackerRank regularly posts new coding challenges of which hundreds of thousands of developers from all over the world participate in. It covers different knowledge domains, from Python to algorithms to security to distributed systems. Developers are scored and ranked based on their accuracy and speed.
In a blog post, HackerRank stated:
According to our data, China and Russia score as the most talented developers. Chinese programmers outscore all other countries in mathematics, functional programming, and data structures challenges, while Russians dominate in algorithms, the most popular and most competitive arena.
If we held a hacking Olympics today, our data suggests that China would win the gold, Russia would take home a silver, and Poland would nab the bronze. Though they certainly deserve credit for making a showing, the United States and India have some work ahead of them before they make it into the top 25.
Learning from the Chinese
A Chinese programmer, Shimi Zhang who is ranked among the top 10 programmers in HackerRank’s Functional Programming domain, has this to say on why China produces some of the best programmers in the world.
In universities and colleges, education resources are relatively fewer in comparison with many other countries, so students have less choices in their paths to programming. Many great students end up obsessed with competitive programming since it’s one of the few paths.
China even has a big population of students who started programming in middle school and high school. They’re trying to solve some hard challenges only few people in this world can solve.
They even host national programming contests for young programmers, like NOIp (national olympiad in informatics in provinces) and NOI (national olympiad in informatics). And after CTSC (China Team Selection Contest), 4 geniuses go to IOI (international olympiad in informatics), and at least 3 have won a gold medal this year. This has been the trend for nearly 10 years.
It’s an even greater achievement considering a special rule: if you had won a gold medal once, you won’t be selected for future IOI team, that means, most IOI team members from China won gold medals with their first try.
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