Why don't french schools appear on HackerRank 2016 ?

It is astonishing that France is not at all ranked in the hacker rank 2016. Even Epitech and Ecole 42, which are famous schools, known for their accent on practical skills and highly selective intake.

The results can be found here : http://blog.hackerrank.com/which-universities-have-the-best-coders-in-the-word/

What is HackerRank?

HackerRank is a website that compares skills of developers through coding challenges. Therefore only practical skills are measured. In order to be accurate the number of students per school is taken into account.

It is unclear if any French universities or schools subscribed to the tests but apparently over 5,500 students from 126 schools from around the world participated in the event.

Why does it matter?

This Rank comes at an interesting time where there is a sudden emergence of bootcamps* (Simplon, le Wagon…) and practice oriented learning schools (Ecole42, Epitech) with a pedagogy that contrast sharply with traditional teaching.

What is wrong with good old universities?

Coding is a constantly evolving subject and it is hard to be always up to date with the “best practices” and the best coding tools. The top down approach of universities is not adapted to coding as it requires a lot of practice to understand its different levels of complexity. The different schools quoted above have created more efficient learning methods with the use of collaborative tools and peer-learning (students become teachers).

But why is this a problem?

Web and software developers are some of the most in-demand jobs according to LinkedIn, see here : http://bit.ly/2ht55Ro.

Which shouldn’t come as a surprise in view of the omnipresence of the web in all aspects of daily life coupled with the increase of automation in industries.

More on that subject : “Why Software Is Eating The World” - Marc Andreessen

What should be done ?

According to the article from HackerRank, some of the coders with the best scores started coding at a very young age. One of them started at 11 years old. In some countries, coding is encouraged and rewarded and can help you get into a good school.

In France, most coders start after 18 years old with no experience. Fortunately, since 2016 programing appears in the secondary school curriculum.

More specifically in Lyon, Les Bricodeurs provides programing sessions for children and meetups for adults and Simplon Lyon students give programing courses for secondary school youngsters.

*Bootcamp : 3 to 6 months intensive learning programs to get you started in the digital world.