What’s Common Among the 10 Best Countries for Computer Programming

HackerRank is a site that has ranked over 1.5 million coders by providing coding challenges and grading its users on speed and accuracy. It has also collected a huge amount of data about coders from across the globe.

In a 2016 study, HackerRank asked which country would win the “Programming Olympics.” Among the Top 10 might be a few surprises, but particularly surprising are the omissions: the United States and India, widely known for programming–although apparently not the best programming–scored 28th and 31st, respectively.

What are the countries? From 10 to 1, they are Italy, the Czech Republic, France, Taiwan, Japan, Hungary, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, and China. Outside coding skill, there’s not necessarily a lot to link these countries: they are located in the East and the West, they range in size, GDP, and average income.

Yet there must be some factor that we can find to link these countries. While there isn’t solid information about all of them, one factor that stands out is that several of them: these countries take coding seriously.

Particularly, France, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland offer classes in coding in their public school systems. These countries start coders off from a young age. In some countries[1], coding is explicitly treated as a “link to the future.” With education widely available and the culture shifting more toward the embrace of programming, it’s important to note what these countries are doing correctly.

Furthermore, in Asia-Pacific, a Microsoft study has found that 75% of students request coding as a core subject. These students specifically note that they are aware of the impact that technology is having on society[2].

While the US and India work to catch up with the countries that are so far winning the “Coding Olympics,” it would make sense to follow the example of Australia, where millions of dollars are being invested in a Digital Technologies curriculum from students starting age 10[3]. Italy, as well, is increasing efforts to introduce its children to coding and information technology in schools[4].

In the meantime, however, companies in the US and elsewhere can benefit from remote teams in these countries. Given the US’s relatively high cost of living, it’s worth considering countries that can offer similar benefits at a competitive price. In particular, countries with a high standard of English, a similar work culture, and excellent coding skills, such as Poland, are the ideal remote work affiliate.


[1] https://jaxenter.com/the-countries-introducing-coding-into-the-curriculum-120815.html

[2]https://news.microsoft.com/apac/2015/03/23/three-out-of-four-students-in-asia-pacific-want-coding-as-a-core-subject-in-school-reveals-microsoft-study/

[3]http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/education/phonics-faith-and-coding-for-primary-school-kids/story-fn59nlz9-1227534083014

[4] http://www.italy24.ilsole24ore.com/art/government-policies/2014-11-10/school-reforms-to-bring-digital-education-and-coding-lessons-to-primary-schools-185247.php?uuid=ABP7gJCC

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