Chinese high schoolers out-code university students in worldwide coding competition

Chinese high schoolers from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Middle School “blew many universities out of the water”, nabbing second place in the University Rankings Competition recently.

The school’s delegation of 13 participants managed to score 387.18, which was only beaten by the competition’s champions, ITMO University from Russia, with a score of 407.39.

HackerRank, a ranking platform for computer engineers, hosted the event in an effort to answer the question: “Which universities have students who can roll up their sleeves and code?”

Over 5,500 students from 126 schools from around the world participated in the event, and the results are in: Russia, China, and Vietnam are home to some of the world’s top coders.

Based on the competition’s results, HackerRank then compiled a ranking of the top 50 institutions with the best coders from around the world:

Source: HackerRank

In third place was Ho Chi Minh City University of Science; fourth went to the University of California, Berkeley in the U.S.; while Canada’s University of Waterloo took fifth place.

Institutions from Ukraine, India, and Sweden also made the top 10. The most represented country in the competition, however, was India, with 22 institutions making the list and comprising nearly half of the ranking.

The scores were calculated using a formula based on each institution’s number of participants and high scores.

Besides the fact that they were younger than many of the competition’s participants, what makes Sun Yat-sen Memorial Middle School’s achievement even more impressive was that their delegation was the smallest among the top five institutions – the others all sent over 20 participants.

One of its students, Wentao Weng, who was ranked 13th best overall in the competition, said he first started learning how to code from the age of 11. He added that though computer science isn’t necessarily a standalone subject in grade school, it’s well supported.

“Our teacher supports us in [studying] computer science, and we take some time on it. And we have done many contests both online or offline [to] learn,” Weng explained.

China’s university admissions system is one of the most competitive, so many high schoolers pick up coding in order to gain admission to a good university, he said.

According to Weng, he spends about 4 hours a day during school honing his coding skills, and almost the entire day over the weekend, adding that most student programmers join the Olympiad in Informatics (OI) as an after-school hobby.

Image via Shutterstock 

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