It is easy to assume that the United States still wears the crown for having the best programmers in the world with the fame of movies such as Hidden Figures. The film depicts the effort input by American programmers to making a remarkable first-time expedition to the moon. History depicts the United States as the producer of some of the best revolutionary tech minds such as Grace Hopper, Dennis Ritchie, Donald Knuth and Ken Thompson. This notion has, however, evolved with globalization and the internet’s rapid explosion in the recent years. Businesses around the world realize the fundamental need of having an online presence and securing the operations with expert IT services. More countries are producing brilliant minds that are making their mark at the top of the list of leading nations in the programming arena.

Multiple programming platforms have conducted analyses over the recent years and months to establish which countries rank at the top in programming. HackerRank is a popular learning forum that allows newbie and expert programmers to sharpen their skills, gain new understandings and improve on accuracy and speed. The platform currently has 1.5 million users. In 2016, the group collaborated with Google to evaluate 50 nations that record the most active participation on the platform.

The study grouped the study into four subsections: which nations led overall, the most popular challenges undertaken by each country and the leading participating country in each as well as the languages most preferred by each entry. HackerRank standardized the results for each subsection to find the average mark that would rank the nations overall. The four leading nations included China, Russia, Switzerland, and Poland.


China’s expertise was evident in their participation in projects pertaining data structures, functional programming, and mathematics. Its programmers’ strongest attraction is data structures, which they dominate among competitors such as Russia, Japan, and Taiwan. One HackerRank employee, Shimi Zhang, is a Chinese native who grew up in Chongqing. After his undergraduate, he relocated to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science. He was among the top ten best functional domain programmers in HackerRank’s evaluation.


Several hypotheses state that the reason for Russia’s domination in programming has a strong likening to that of China. The big population in those countries consequently produces plenty of programmers. Russia took the lead in algorithm tests and was among the top five in C++, Python, SQL, functional programming and artificial intelligence. Russia was also enlisted among the leading country in programming in a separate study conducted by Stack Overflow, a Q&A platform for coders around the world.


Poland has many schools that offer specialized studies on programming. They ranked third overall and led in HackerRank’s most popular subject which is Java. Poland’s expertise in Java is vital in the development of software like Apache Kafka. Other areas that Poland have finessed are Ruby, Python, and Shell. It ranked second in algorithms after Russia.


This country prides itself in birthing Pascal, one of the earliest programming languages. Switzerland had consistently high performance in all the 15 categories available on HackerRank. It was number one in the Java test. HackerRank labeled Switzerland as the country with the most diligent programmers who rarely give up on a project. The nation was number one in the 2016 Global Innovation Index report.

One of HackerRank’s content manager explained that a reason China and Russia produce the best programmers could be because of their education culture. Heraldo stated that the two nations have an intense fascination with programming, sciences, and mathematics. Children are taught the basics of these subjects early on and develop an innate passion that pushes them to pursue programming at the tertiary level. Shimi Zhang backed up Heraldo’s theory, saying that Chinese kids have intense diligence that is heavily inclined towards coding. Heraldo concluded that nations that leading in specific subjects might have the benefit of having a school curriculum that supports the particular programming facet or a big company that demands expertise in the subject.


by: Mark Palmer