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HackerRank CEO Vivek Ravisankar: “This is a school that I would love to study at.”

On Wednesday, August 23, HackerRank CEO Vivek Ravisankar and VP Abhijit Tamhane visited 42 to find out what we’re all about. Vivek loved us: “This is a school that I would love to study at. It’s very inspiring to see this sort of initiative as well as everyone here.”

Ravisankar was a computer science major, worked at Amazon right out of college, and conducted a lot of technical interviews in his role. He found that resumes were a poor indicator of actual skills and didn’t translate well into what people actually knew. Out of this frustration grew HackerRank.

HackerRank on 42

Ravisankar spent some time with 42 students in a impromptu Q&A session. Vivek said, “The next great company isn’t the one with the best operations or distribution system; it’ll be the one with the best software.” He encouraged students that with more industries experiencing the digital revolution and a still greater need for developers to come, that they chose well in coming to 42. “I’m starting to see a big revolution…tremendous amount of hope in the future.”

With respects to the 42 curriculum, our robotics projects, and the fact that students learn in C, Ravisankar said, “The fundamentals of everything is on a shell and C level for robotics, so those kinds of companies use us to look at those skills.”

Quick Q&A with HackerRank CEO Vivek

Q: What’s the decision-making process for adding new languages to HackerRank and how do you add them?
Answer from Vivek: We strongly encourage companies to test on problem-solving ability rather than just language ability. That being said, new language decisions mostly come from the HackerRank community. For example, New York financial services needed Q, so HackerRank looks at adding Q.

Question from Vivek to students: what is it that you need us to improve?
Answer from students:
– Different way to spend your hacks that you’ve earned
– Understanding tactical sugar people use in forums
– Not a huge fan of how you do the boilerplate code; larger window

Vivek commented, “We want to figure out what skills relate to which jobs so that developers have a better idea of what they need to have to get a job they want or what jobs they should look at based on the skills they have. We want to recommend the best jobs for you as a developer.”

Q: How technical interviews are not representative of a skill set a job needs? How are interviews skewed away from what a job actually needs?
Answer from Vivek: 95% of twitter phone interviews don’t have whiteboards – we’re trying to push them away from that. Companies need to have some sort of real-world in the interview process. A lot of companies are starting to use hard-core algorithms as a means of testing developers. You should stick to problem-solving skills, not obscure data structures. Stick to a level of data structures and algorithms that people can quickly grasp and learn how to solve. Google is the biggest culprit.

Vivek then piped up, “We should’ve brought t-shirts! I will ship you t-shirts! Or I’ll bring them here and deliver them myself.”

Well Vivek, we can’t wait for your next visit, regardless of the t-shirts! Consider yourself part of the 42 family 🙂

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published by Kim Alvarez – August 23, 2017