HackerRank vs Udemy for Beginner | What is The Best Choice?
Hello! Today I want to talk about two fairly popular educational platforms, Hacker Rank and Udemy. In this article, I will figure out what is best for a beginner, what should be paid more attention to and why. I will say right away that I perfectly understand that the format of these two platforms is different. Udemy is a platform with full-fledged multi-hour courses, while Hacker Rank is a sandbox. However, I want to compare them at a more advanced level, namely which learning format is best for a beginner. More on this and more.
For those who don't know, I'll briefly explain. Hacker Rank is a platform for gaining skills and training hard skills like python, JS, SQL and so on. Udemy is an educational platform that includes a huge number of courses (including in the field of IT). Someone will ask - is it correct to compare these two platforms? Again, I want to compare these two platforms conceptually, namely to compare the overall approach to learning.
On Udemy, educational courses are presented in their classic form - these are video courses, divided into sections and lessons, after which you complete a test task to see if you have mastered the material you have covered. This is how all courses are set up. Hacker Rank courses are presented in text format. Moreover, immediately after the explanation of some new material in the paragraphs below, there is a statement of the task that you need to complete. In other words, all theoretical material is built into the assignments.
In this case, I think the material from Hacker Rank is presented better. In general, I believe that the more practice, the better, and the student should be given only the theoretical information that is required to complete the practical task.
Let's say you're making pancakes. Hacker Rank will give you eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt and even caramel, while Udemy will add сhampignon and tomatoes to the same set. From my strange comparison, you understand that Udemy provides a lot of unnecessary information in its courses, which prevents the student from learning. And since the beginner does not yet understand what is important for him and what can be neglected, confusion occurs in the head that interferes with further learning. Therefore, here, obviously, the Hacker Rank is out of the question.
Now, I want to dwell on practical tasks in more detail. As I said, on Hacker Rank theory is integrated into practical tasks, and on Udemy the same tasks come after each lesson. Here my criticism is again directed towards Udemy. The fact is that the platform has a built-in compiler that allows you to perform tasks directly in the browser. This is very convenient, many platforms have it, but on Udemy it has very limited functionality.
Hacker Rank Interface
I'll give you an example. I once took a web development course on Udemy. The course was well-structured and in general I liked it, but that's not about that now. Of course, the web development course required a lot of practice and coding, and due to the limited functionality of the built-in compiler, I had to use an additional code editor. This compiler performed simple tasks, but the simplest directory navigation was impossible (at the time of this writing).
The built-in Udemy compiler did not have the ability to debug the code. You could only see whether you completed the task correctly or not. And I don't like it. Hacker Rank offers a much more advanced built-in compiler in this regard. It also performs the simplest tasks well, but is also capable of more. Passing tasks on Hacker Rank, I have never encountered the need to download the code editor, simply because I had enough internal functionality. Obviously, the ball is leaving Hacker Rank.
I've talked about this huge flaw in Hacker Rank so many times, but I'll recap it briefly. I don't like the lack of moderation in the discussions tab on Hacker Rank. Passing tasks on this platform, you will not find tips and advice from other users, if you need help figuring something out, you will immediately find a ready-made answer. It seems to me that an educational platform should not work like this. The platform should give the user the maximum that is necessary for the student to independently complete the task. Provide documentation, video course, other useful links. Anything but a ready-made answer. There is one small plus in this, which I wrote about in this article, but it is very small.
HackerRank Discussion Tab
The community on Udemy is much more understanding. Here in the comments to the lectures, you will not find answers to the following tasks. Maximum tips and a link to a lecture from the same course, where you can find help to complete the assignment. Also, many curators kindly ask not to distribute the answers to the tasks for respect to each other, and if you have any questions, write a personal letter to the curators.
Udemy - Discussion Tab Example
Udemy's approach to the community has always amazed me. There is also no moderation of comments here, anyone can send answers to at least all the tasks of the course, but most understand that they are here to learn how to do it on their own, and this approach will not teach them anything. It even inspires a little. The ball is leaving Udemy, obviously.
Successful completion of any course ends with a certificate. Both of these platforms have certificates. I have already said that these platforms are conceptually different. Hacker Rank is still a sandbox, where, like any sandbox, there is a leaderboard, that is, users who scored the most points (completed more tasks), where it is possible to pass an exam and get a certificate. In this with Udemy they are very different.
To get a certificate on Udemy, you just need to watch all the lectures of the course and successfully complete all the tasks provided by the curator. You will automatically receive a certificate in your profile and in the mail. To be honest, I don't really like this approach. I believe that you need to show your new skills and knowledge and complete some kind of control task or tasks.
Hacker Rank is up to the task. Here you can take absolutely all the courses, but you will not receive a certificate of mastery of the skill until you pass the exam (if you already have this skill, then you can take the exam right away). If you do the exam tasks on your own, then I would say that they are more difficult than the average. When I got my SQL certification, there was a limited amount of time for the exam, and to be honest, I always feel pressured by it. It is very difficult for me to work when there are tight and very small-time frames.
Here the ball goes Hacker Rank. I think that there should be at least a small exam at the end of the course. This will raise the student's self-esteem, prove to him that he successfully coped and mastered the new material, and most importantly, it will extinguish the impostor syndrome in him and prove to him that the end of this course is not good luck for him, but he deserves it.
So, we have discussed a lot and I would like to draw a line. Which resource do I think is better, Udemya or Hacker Rank. If you are an absolute beginner with no background in IT, Udemy is your option. Here you will find more suitable courses for beginners with detailed explanations in lectures from experienced tutors. Also, here is a more theoretical basis. For practice, I advise you to turn to Hacker Rank. There are more complex and difficult tasks here, which can be a great continuation of your learning after Udemy.