HackerRank is a programming practice platform that provides competitive challenges and tests for learning skills and preparing for technology careers. Many major employers, like Google and Meta, use HackerRank or similar platforms to assess the coding skills of potential candidates. However, students and seasoned professionals can also use HackerRank to work collaboratively with peers and keep their skills sharp.
What Is HackerRank Used For?
HackerRank is an online platform featuring competitive coding, programming, and technical assessments. Through interactive challenges, HackerRank gamifies learning, studying, and assessments for students, consumers, seasoned professionals, and businesses.
For students and those learning coding or programming, HackerRank is an excellent tool for practicing new skills and developing proficiency in programming languages. Employers also use HackerRank to analyze candidates’ coding abilities before investing in interviews.
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Accenture Know the Code
Help a client take control of their fast growing code base in this advanced coding and software engineering job simulation from Accenture.
Avg. Time: 4 to 5 hours
Skills you’ll build: Object oriented programming, Java, Spring, code refactoring, continuous integration, Jenkins, DevOps, agile methodology, software development lifecycle (SDLC)
HackerRank Tests for Candidates
From an employer standpoint, these tests “provide a standardized and objective way to evaluate coding proficiency, problem-solving abilities, and algorithmic knowledge,” says Joseph Harisson, CEO of IT Companies Network.
Companies can also determine minimum scores for HackerRank challenges, so those without the required skills are weeded out before progressing.
The platform allows employers to “tailor the assessment process and identify candidates with the right technical expertise,” says Harisson.
In a tech career hiring process, the employer may ask you to complete a challenge on HackerRank in subject areas like:
- Data structures
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
- C and C++
- Databases and data storage
- Functional programming
Cognizant Artificial Intelligence
Expand your knowledge of machine learning models and artificial intelligence with this free job simulation from Cognizant.
Avg. Time: 3 to 4 hours
Skills you’ll build: Data analysis, Python, data visualization, data modeling, problem statement, machine learning, model interpretation, communication
How Can You Use HackerRank?
You can use HackerRank as a learning tool even if you aren’t preparing for an employer-assigned test.
Using a series of challenges, “students can learn new algorithms, data structures, and problem-solving techniques,” says Harisson.
This platform can be a great resource if you’re ready to apply for a variety of tech roles and have specific skills you need to improve, like coding in C++ or understanding data structures. You can also take practice tests to prepare for upcoming interview-related challenges.
HackerRank can “simulate a real coding interview experience,” says Harisson. So, using the platform, students can “practice their communication skills, problem-solving skills, and ability to explain their thought process under pressure.”
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Crush the coding test
Prep for your next assessment with our free Girls Who Code Technical Interview Prep course.
HackerRank vs. LeetCode
Both HackerRank and LeetCode allow you to build specific programming skills through interactive challenges.
LeetCode features a “vast collection of coding challenges categorized by difficulty, company, and topic, allowing users to practice specific skills and assess their interview readiness,” says Harisson.
Some employers use LeetCode for testing candidates, while others use HackerRank. Since both platforms provide similar tools for practicing coding and programming, you can use either to prepare for tests. However, if somewhere you’re applying for uses one over the other, it may be best to use the platform they’ll be testing you on. That way, you can get a better understanding of the user interface and style.
Electronic Arts Software Engineering
Learn fundamental game building and design skills in this free job simulation from EA.
Avg. Time: 5 to 6 hours
Skills you’ll build: Communication, feature design, feature proposal, object-oriented design, class design, code analysis, data structures, code readability, game engine technology
How to Prepare for HackerRank Tests
If you’re preparing for a HackerRank test, make sure you know what skills the employer is looking for. Knowing which skills to focus on can help you prepare more effectively and use your time wisely. You should also take the time to prepare for interviews, assuming you ace the technical test.
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Take a Bootcamp
Chances are, you’re not a complete beginner if you’re preparing for a HackerRank test and technical interview. However, if you’re new to programming, coding bootcamps can be a great way to build your skills and explore your career options and interests.
Check out our rankings for the best bootcamps in 2024:
“Consistency is key to improving your coding skills,” says Harisson. “Set aside dedicated time each day or week to practice on the platform.”
You can also practice using online job simulations or joining clubs or coding groups in your community.
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Having friends who understand the challenges and topics you’re practicing can be an excellent motivator.
“Join online communities of programmers and participate in discussions,” says Harisson. “This can be a great way to learn from others, ask questions, and get feedback on your solutions.”
Talking through things you’re struggling with, learning from more experienced coders, and seeing other approaches to problems will also make you a stronger programmer down the line. While programming may seem like a career where you sit in the dark alone all day, it’s actually a highly collaborative environment where professionals bounce ideas off each other and use teamwork to create innovative solutions.
Kickstart your coding career and learn the skills employers are looking for with Forage’s Software Engineering Career Path.
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