U.S. developers have the numbers, but China and Russia have the skills

A report from HackerRank finds that while the U.S. and India have lots of developers, Chinese and Russian programmers are the most talented

While the United States and India may have lots of programmers, China and Russia have the most talented developers according to a study by HackerRank, which administers coding tests to developers worldwide.

The study looked at the results of 1.4 million of HackerRank's coding test submissions, called "challenges," during the last few years. "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," said Ritika Trikha, a blogger at HackerRank.

The United States and India provide the majority of competitors on HackerRank but only manage to rank 28th and 31st, respectively. "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," Trikha said. "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."

HackerRank's coding challenges cover aspects of computing ranging from languages to algorithms, security and distributed systems. Developers are scored based on a combination of accuracy and speed. The algorithms category has nearly 40 percent of developers competing, featuring tests on sorting data, dynamic programming, keyword searches and other logic-based tasks. Following algorithms were Java and data structure tests, with 10 percent of developers participating. Distributed systems and security were the least popular tests, although thousands still took them.

To determine which country had the highest-scoring programmers, HackerRank looked at each country's average score across domains. Data was restricted to the top 50 countries with the most developers on HackerRank. Following China and Russia with the top developers were Poland, Switzerland, Hungary, Japan, Taiwan, France, Czech Republic and Italy.

"Since China scored the highest, Chinese developers sit at the top of the list with a score of 100," Ritikha said. The 100 score does not mean Chinese developer had a perfect score on the tests but represents the country's being first in the rankings. "But China only won by a hair. Russia scored 99.9 out of 100, while Poland and Switzerland round out the top rankings with scores near 98. Pakistan scores only 57.4 out of 100 on the index, (ranking 50th)."

Poland was tops in Java testing, France led in C++, Hong Kong in Python, Japan in artificial intelligence, and Switzerland in databases. Ukrainian programmers led in security, while Finland was number 1 in Ruby coding challenges.

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