HackerRank | Honest Review to Beginners
Today, I will try to put together a fairly detailed overview of HackerRank from the point of view of an educational platform for beginners. In this article, I will answer the following questions:
- Is HackerRank suitable for beginners to learn hard skills?
- What are the advantages/disadvantages over other platforms?
- Is it worth spending time learning with HackerRank and getting their certifications.
I say right away, my opinion is independent. I am writing this article on a voluntary basis, no one paid me for my opinion. Now that I've mentioned it, let's get started.
What is HackerRank anyway?
HackerRank is a platform for learning hard skills. There are a lot of similar ones, but I'm going to review it because I have something to say and there are things that I don't like.
They provide a wide range of topics to explore. In the screenshot below, you can see how wide it is.
It is important to note that these are not courses, but training tasks. You will not see explanations in each of them, only the wording of the task and the field for your code. This platform is similar to all other sandboxes.
Like other similar sandboxes, HackerRank has a reward system. For each completed task, depending on its complexity, you get points. After collecting a certain number of points, you get medals, which, according to the developers, confirm your possession of a certain skill. This is how all sandboxes do it, there is nothing special about it, except for one point, which I will discuss below.
HackerRank Points Value
Each task has a Discussions tab. I suppose that, according to the logic of the developers, this should have been a built-in form where students would share tips and advice with others. But something clearly went wrong and this built-in form essentially turned into a collection of answers, where everyone offers their own solution, and instead of looking for a hint, you are forced to look for the simplest answer in order to understand it.
HackerRank Discussion Tab
In the student discussion format, courses on Udemy have clearly succeeded. Almost every course leader clearly indicates that it is forbidden to share answers in the comments to the video - this is disrespect for others, for students. I agree with this. Developers should think about this and, in my opinion, ban users who provide a ready-made answer to solving the problem.
The fact is that the answers in the Discussion tab, in fact, devalue all those points that are issued for the completed task, and skill mastery medals. Anyone can enter the platform and, according to the answers from the built-in form, complete tasks for a gold medal. So this shouldn't work.
Another interesting tab on each training task is the Leaderboard. To be honest, I don't see much point in it.
First, what is the point of having several hundred first places with the same number of points. Yes, you can achieve the first place in the leaderboard, but there will be a million more such first places besides you. In this sense, it would be logical to use the same logic as the developers from Hack The Box, where each team has detailed activity and achievement statistics.
Hack The Box Team Profile
By implementing a similar practice on HackerRank, I think it would be easy to distinguish between those who completed tasks on their own, and who copied the answer from the built-in forum, based on the time to solve the task, for example.
On HackerRank you can also get a huge number of certificates that will be displayed on your profile. There are not many tasks in them and enough time is allotted for each of them. Enough time to make yourself some tea.
But here we run into another problem. For each of the tasks when obtaining a certificate, you can find the answer in Google. I won’t say now that you can find answers to everything in the world on the Internet, it’s so stupid to argue with this, but the answers to these tasks are literally everywhere. They are too easy to find. For example, on the SQL Academy platform, it is almost impossible to find answers to assignments, because the developers are worried that students will cheat.
Udemy vs Skillshare | What is better choice for me?
I believe that the very presence of such platforms already indicates that the education system in the world...Continue reading
In this case, the HackerRank developers could either make more certification tasks to make it harder to find answers, take less time to complete tasks to reduce the student's time to find an answer, or somehow think about the fact that answers fly so freely on the Internet. And resolve this issue.
Separately, I want to say about the Job Board. I will say right away that I like the idea of the developers. When recruiting candidates, the employer will see all the achievements of the candidate, his certificates, the courses he took. HackerRank also allows you to fill out a profile with work experience, place of education, contact and personal information, just like in a regular resume or on LinkedIn.
Hacker Rank Job Board
But what's the point. Here I again want to return to the moments about which I have already written a hundred times. Answers, which are literally at every turn, devalue this too. The employer does not see the difference between those who copied the answers and those who did it on their own, they only see certificates and in-platform medals. And the difference is big!
I already wrote about Hack The Box and their solution to a similar issue (I understand that they have their own specifics of activity, but you can still borrow their practice). Such statistics can be opened at least for the employer, so that at least those who hire them can see that two minutes spent on obtaining a certificate is suspicious and strange.
I still find HackerRank to be a great platform for getting new hard skills. All those disadvantages that I have listed are only an advantage for beginners. For beginners, I highly recommend including this platform in your training plans. First, because of the structure. The structure of each course is well-built, covering all the necessary topics with ranking by difficulty level, which is an advantage for a beginner who cannot yet distinguish a difficult task from an easy one. Secondly, because of openness. As I have already written a hundred times, the answers to the tasks are all around - just switch the tab. This will help with difficult tasks. Just do not write off thoughtlessly, analyze the code.
As for obtaining certificates, it is only your choice. I consider it necessary and useful to practice performing rather complex tasks for a while, especially if you do them yourself. In addition, there is no need to pay intra-platform fines for a failed test.
About the advantages and disadvantages of the platform, I think I spoke in sufficient detail above. I do not want to say that the platform is terrible, and it has many flaws. This is not true. It's just that there are things that need to be improved to make the platform more friendly to its users and put everyone on an equal footing.
If the developers of the HackerRank team are reading me, please resolve the issue with the answers. They are everywhere. They devalue the work of those who completed the tasks themselves and exalt those who copied the finished solution.