With early college admissions under way for many universities around the country, we got to thinking: Which colleges have the best coders in the world?
While there are academic rankings, like the Top Computer Science Programs by US News & World report, there is no list that ranks colleges purely by their students’ ability to code. The criteria for the US News & World Report, for instance, includes number of research papers produced, global research reputation and number of conferences. In fact, practical coding skills aren’t even part of their methodology at all.
We decided to answer the question: Which universities have students who can roll up their sleeves and code?
At HackerRank, millions of developers, including hundreds of thousands of students, from around the world regularly solve coding challenges to improve their coding skills. In order to figure out which colleges have the best coders, we hosted a major University Rankings Competition. Over 5,500 students from 126 schools from around the world participated in the event. Companies also assess developers’ coding skills using HackerRank to hire great developers.
The University of California, Berkeley was the #1 college in America, and came in fourth overall.
Two Russian universities ranked #1 and #6, respectively in the HackerRank University Competition. Meanwhile, Russian universities aren’t listed among the top 50 universities in the traditional US News & World report list. Similarly, we found that Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh university has talented coders, but they didn’t rank high in US News & World report either.
This is not to say that the US News & World Report is misguided. Instead, the results of the HackerRank University Competition suggest that such traditional academic rankings aren’t the only source of the best coders in the world.
In fact, one acclaimed high school in China blew many universities out of the water. San Yat-sun Memorial Middle School (which in the US equates to high school level of education), placed 2nd, above UC Berkeley and IIT. One Chinese blog mentions that the school is actually bigger than most universities in China, and includes a science museum.
Wentao Weng, who ranked the #13 overall, says he first started learning how to code in what he calls “Junior 1,” which is 11-years-old. Wentao told us that computer science isn’t necessarily a standalone subject in grade school, but it’s well supported:
“It’s not one of the subjects; however, we can also try to become the one of the best coders among high school students to [get admission] into a good university,” Weng says. “So our teacher supports us in [studying] computer science, and we take some time on it. “And we have done many contests both online or offline [to] learn.”
He practices roughly 4 hours per day during school, but almost the whole day on weekends. His classmates have a similar work ethic. Cai Ziyi started coding at 12 years old. He says that most student programmers join the Olympiad in Informatics (OI) as an after school hobby.
In order for a school to be listed on the School Leaderboard, the school must have at least 10 students submitting code in University Competition. Students are ranked by score. If two students have the same score, the tie is broken by the time at which the user finishes the first correct submission of the last challenge solved.