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HackerRank Now Offers Industry-Vetted Skills Rubric

Standardizing the technical interview process is the key to making effective, unbiased hiring decisions. And creating a standardized interview process starts with defining the skills—and subsequently, the key competencies—needed for success on the job.

When it comes to hiring, following a well-documented skills rubric is key to ensuring a uniform evaluation process. By defining required skills and competencies, they enable every interviewer to align around a shared definition of each skill. Using that shared definition, panelists can ensure they’re evaluating each skill in the same way: no matter the interviewer, the candidate, or the team involved. That helps to ensure hiring decisions are based on skills fit—not external biasing influences.

So to help our customers reap the benefits of a standardized skills rubric, we’re launching the HackerRank Skills Directory.

Accessing standardized skills rubrics via the HackerRank Skills Directory

The HackerRank Skills Directory is a detailed library of in-demand technical skills—from .NET, to AWS, to Kubernetes, and many more—validated by industry experts. Each listing in the directory has two core components: a definition of the skill, and a list of associated key competencies.Within each skill, those key competencies change across multiple levels: from basic, to intermediate, to advanced. The result is a library of well-defined, level-specific technical skills, and the core competencies that define them. Many skills in the Skills Directory also come with their own curated subset of questions within the platform, vetted to effectively evaluate corresponding competencies.

Example of a skill from the HackerRank Skills Directory that defines key competencies for three distinct skill levels

The key competencies outlined in the Skills Directory represent the core of each skill: or, the knowledge required to be proficient in that skill.

Introducing the HackerRank Skills Advisory Council

To validate these skills and key competencies, we formed the HackerRank Skills Advisory Council. The Skills Advisory Council is a panel of industry experts dedicated to identifying, validating, and standardizing HackerRank skills. It’s a group composed of technical thought leaders, each renowned for work in their respective fields.

In order to create the skill rubrics in the HackerRank Skills Directory, each member of the council received a set of base skills aligned to their expertise. Using that as a guideline, the members identified key competencies that define proficiency in each skill. The council leveraged their collective industry expertise to outline key competencies for more than 60 individual skills.

We’re excited to introduce the founding members of the HackerRank Skills Advisory Council:

Kesha Williams: Software Engineer, Training Architect, AWS ML Hero, & Alexa Champion

Kesha Williams is an award-winning software engineer, machine learning practitioner, and AWS training architect. An Amazon-recognized pioneer in machine learning and an expert Java developer, Kesha is an expert technical instructor in Java, cloud, DevOps, and machine learning topics. She’s taught and mentored thousands of developers across the world through her work.

For Kesha, joining the Skills Advisory Council is a way to share some of the expertise she’s gained over her 25+ years of experience. “I joined the HR Skills Advisory council as a way to give back to the tech community,” Kesha said. “I’ve used HackerRank for years, and frequently in my roles as a software engineering manager and an adjunct professor. I was excited to join and help set the direction for HackerRank, because it’s one of my favorite tools.”

Karthik Gaekwad: Principal Engineer

Karthik Gaekwad is a full-stack developer and cloud infrastructure expert. With a robust background in technologies like Kubernetes, Docker, Java, Ruby, Python, MongoDB, and SQL, Karthik has held leadership roles across engineering, product, and developer advocacy. He’s an expert in cloud infrastructure, and an organizer for DevOpsDays in his spare time.

Karthik was motivated to join the Skills Advisory Council to help create better interview experiences. He hopes that the Skills Directory will help create better interview experiences for hiring managers and candidates alike. “It allows for both parties to know what themes, problems, and ideas are important from a technology perspective. That allows for everyone to be better prepared,” Karthik said. “From a hiring manager standpoint, a skills directory will enable one to think about more real-world questions to ask a candidate, and ultimately, craft a better conversation with the interviewee.”

Sijin Joseph: Director of Engineering at CampusLogic

Sijin Joseph is a technology leader, developer, and long-time open source contributor. Well known in the tech community as the creator of the Programmer Competency Matrix, Sijin is a Microsoft MVP Award winner with deep expertise in Azure and other open source stacks.

It was Sijin’s work on the Programmer Competency Matrix, in part, that drove him to join the council. “Having worked on the Programmer Competency Matrix, I knew the importance of having a roadmap to navigate the vast and ever changing landscape of software technology,” Sijin explained. “For candidates, this is a great guidebook to follow when preparing for an interview or just looking to get up-to-date. For employers, this directory allows them to develop a standardized question set so that they can make apples-to-apples and unbiased comparisons when looking at different candidates.”

Errol Hooper: Lead Platform Engineer at Georgia Tech Research Institute

Errol Hooper is an expert in cloud infrastructure solutions and IT leader at Georgia Tech Research Institute. He brings a wealth of expertise across cloud computing, engineering, and data services from a career that’s spanned multiple technical verticals: first in IT as an enterprise warehouse data developer, and later in engineering as a software developer.

Janani Ravi: Co-founder at Loonycorn

Janani Ravi is the Co-founder of Loonycorn, a studio for technical technical video content, and an alumnus of Microsoft, Google, and Flipkart. A seasoned engineer, Janani was one of the first engineers to work on Google Docs, and currently holds 4 patents for its real-time collaborative editing framework. She’s authored more than 120 courses on IT ops, software development, and more.

For Janani, joining the council was a way to enable engineering orgs to make the shift to skills-based hiring . “I just can not emphasize how important it is for the tech industry to become more meritocratic, more based on objective, clear-cut judgments of competence than on bluster or pedigree,” Janani said. She hopes that hiring managers can leverage the Skills Directory to do just that. “The HackerRank Skills Directory is a mechanism for exactly such hiring processes, and that’s why it is such a great tool for hiring managers.”

Harishankaran Karunanidhi: CTO and Co-founder at HackerRank

Harishankaran Karunanidhi is the CTO and Co-founder at HackerRank, where he’s scaled HackerRank from its first lines of code to a platform that now assesses 1 developer every 8 seconds. He previously worked as a software engineer at IBM, where he worked with DB2, Websphere, Cognos, and Datastage.

Using skill rubrics for technical interviews

We’re excited to share the HackerRank Skills Directory to help hiring managers create more standardized skill rubrics. To learn more about the skills in the Skills Directory, visit the roles management page in your HackerRank account, or visit the full directory here.


Darshan Suresh is a product manager at HackerRank. As manager of the content team, Darshan empowers HackerRank customers to make better hiring decisions through insightful technical content. One of the most tenured members of the HackerRank team, he combines his extensive platform knowledge with his expertise in software development to shape impactful hiring experiences.

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