HackerRank is one the most popular technical assessment tools available today.
Companies like Dropbox, Lyft, TransferWise, and 2000+ other companies conduct the technical stages of their interviews on HackerRank. While more than 15 million developers use it to hone their coding skills and participate in competitive programming.
HackerRank is good for developers because it allows them to practice the questions they’ll face in a technical interview. It also means they can practice on the the same interface they’ll be using.
The coding challenge platform is also good for employers. It provides a one-stop shop for assessing a candidate’s technical skills and allows them to conduct interviews.
Developers looking to learn and develop their skills will use HackerRank differently to those prepping for an interview.
We’ve looked at whether HackerRank is useful. But now let’s take a closer look at who benefits from using HackerRank and the situations where it may not be the best option.
Is HackerRank good for beginners?
Imposter syndrome can be hard to shake in the tech world. Figuring out when you stop being a beginner and move to the intermediate or advanced stage can be tricky.
HackerRank is often touted for its user-friendliness and the ability to choose challenges with different difficulties.
They have easy, medium, and hard difficulty questions, and also split skills down into basic, intermediate, and advanced. It means the platform should be suitable for all levels.
However, the reality is that HackerRank isn’t the right platform for absolute beginners.
You need to have a basic grasp of how functions are put together and an understanding of basic programming principles. Without any prior knowledge, even the easiest challenges will seem alien.
They have tried to broaden their appeal with challenges like “30 Days of Code”. But it isn’t comprehensive enough for absolute beginners. You also can only answer one question a day which is a bit of a buzzkill.
HackerRank is ideal for beginners who understand the basics of programming, have put together a few small projects, and want to broaden their technical knowledge. The platform is built around coding challenges so is great for those who want to learn algorithmic problem-solving. If you want to learn data structures and algorithms it can be incredibly beneficial.
But if you are still struggling to build basic apps or understand the fundamentals of the language you have chosen, then steer clear of HackerRank. It may end up demotivating you because the questions can be tough.
Is HackerRank good for learning?
Search around and you’ll hear a few different arguments about the effectiveness of HackerRank as a learning tool. Some developers swear by it and have gotten job offers based on their competition scores. Others revile it and think it should be avoided for anyone looking to do serious development work. Like all good things, the answer is usually in the middle somewhere.
If you are trying to learn front-end development, check out one of the boot camps on Udemy or a Nanodegree from Udacity. Both offer a far more immersive and in-depth experience than learning on HackerRank.
However, HackerRank is a good resource for learning algorithms and data structures. A lot of the questions on HackerRank are the same trivia-style algorithm questions from coding interviews. It is a fantastic place to learn the basics of these skills and challenge your understanding of these concepts.
HackerRank also has a slight lean towards back-end development with Ruby, C++, Python, databases, and SQL comprising a large number of their skills. It is still good for front-end developers but other learning resources may be more useful.
Is HackerRank good for interviews?
One of the reasons HackerRank has gained notoriety among developers is because it is used so frequently in the interview process. If you are applying for a large company the changes are your interview will be conducted on HackerRank.
Overall, HackerRank is fantastic for interviews. Their giant library of questions means that you can tackle any question you may face ahead of time. The biggest bonus for developers is that it’s completely free. For employers, it provides a solid testing platform and a way to weed out weak candidates early on, without having to create a testing platform in-house.
For developers, it provides an opportunity to practice similar questions to the ones you will face during your interview. You can also gain familiarity with the platform you’ll be tested on ahead of time which is the perfect way to get rid of any nerve. The algorithmic question style used in interviews is HackerRank’s bread and butter. So you’ll be in shape if you use the platform for interview prep.
The wide variety of challenges also means there is something for everyone to answer and you can take on more difficult questions as you become better. They also have competitive coding and a Hackos score which potential employers can view. It may not be the deciding factor for an employer but it can help swing things in your favor.
Employers flock to the platform because it means they don’t have to create their bespoke solution and look after the overhead themselves.
Is HackerRank good for jobs?
At the time of writing HackerRank’s jobs board has a serious lean towards the American market. All the searchable locations are in the U.S. apart from one listing in India. So bad luck if you live elsewhere.
It means that HackerRank is a great resource for those looking for jobs inside the United States. The platform covers all major cities and tech hubs across the U.S including the Bay Area, Seattle, and cities throughout North Carolina. The companies listing on HackerRank are some of the biggest companies in the world, think FourSquare, Lyft, and Peloton.
However, in all honesty, the jobs board is not half as extensive as you would expect it to be for a platform of its size. There were less than 50 jobs posted when I check which is a tiny number when compared to your average jobs board.
If you are looking for new opportunities keep HackerRank in mind but don’t use it as your only source for your job hunt. Make sure to expand your search and keep an open mind.
A plus side to jobs on HackerRank is that some people have gotten employment through their programming competition results. Employers have approached various people with top scores and offered them jobs. The public nature of the contests is part of the reason they are taken so seriously by those looking to climb the rankings.
How good is HackerRank for competitive programming?
The public nature of all your scores on HackerRank makes it the perfect playground for those wanting to participate in competitive programming. Weekly and monthly challenges, as well as ongoing practice scores, will keep even the most competitive among you on your toes.
There are two main sections where competitive programmers are likely to land on the HackerRank site.
The Leaderboard keeps a running total of everyone’s practice scores for the various skills. It also measures. It also tracks the scores people achieved in various contents. For the competitive programmers among you, it is a great way to measure yourself up against people from all around the world.
The Compete page displays all active an archives contents. It is where you the details of a contest and sign up.
What is cool about competitive programming on HackerRank is the contests themselves. They are super diverse and usually always around a specific topic, and many of them are for good causes. Prizes included giving $500 to a charity to help those with disabilities, or to help those most in need, as well as various chances to win $500 of Amazon vouchers.
HackerRank doesn’t host the most serious competitive programming competitions. Topcoder is becoming the place to be for those keenest to prove their programming prowess. So if you want to take it super seriously it may be worth heading over there.
HackerRank has proven itself to be a fantastic platform for a variety of reasons. It’s a great place to practice for interviews, brush up on your algorithm knowledge, and even learn some very basic coding concepts.
It’s used by developers and employers alike because of its ease of use. The competitive programming space has become a little more crowded now so HackerRank will need to keep their offering consistent to keep up with their competitors.
Nathan Britten, the founder and editor of Developer Pitstop, is a self-taught software engineer with nearly five years of experience in front-end technologies. Nathan created the site to provide simple, straightforward knowledge to those interested in technology, helping them navigate the industry and better understand their day-to-day roles.