Rant HN: I hate hackerrank

I’m currently going through interview stages for several companies for the first time in years and the en vogue trend seems to be a timed hackerrank test. Without fail this involves an algorithms-heavy rip off from leetcode/projecteurler/googlefoobar/topcoder culminating in some trickily smart O(N) DP solution. I’m an experienced developer with 5 years of thorough product experience in the domain. I’d completely appreciate the importance if the role actually did involve trying to eek out efficiency in a distributed system with high throughput… but 9 times out of 10 it’s boilerplate business logic.

On the one hand I like that it normalises the application process against prejudice (I was lucky enough to go to a top engineering school) so it allows a fair entry level to all, however, it appears to be just an utterly irrelevant IQ hazing.

Anyone else going through this pain? What are we to make of the recruiting scene going forward? Are we now at a point where an engineer should at all times be intimately familiar with competitive programming and codegolf techniques?

Ask HN: Learning to code, without a computer?

I have a friend who is incarcerated, and is dedicated to learning how to code, no matter how slow or arduous the process may be. He has no access to a computer, just books and writing utensils. While it may be very difficult, what are suggestions you have on how to give him the best chance for success?

Even if he’s not learning a specific language, what are some background concepts he can learn in depth that will help him understand coding? I recommended he study algorithms as a starting point but I am not a dev and am not sure how to proceed without a computer.

I realize this is an unusual question, but I greatly appreciate any responses. It’s sad that someone so badly wants to improve themselves and can’t easily do so because of our archaic prison system. I want to help give him a chance to have a real profession once released. Thank you!

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