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The Hacker Rank – How Failures Led to the Mission of Helping Graduates To Build Killer Resumes

Hacker Rank
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India is a top-ranked country that makes 1.5 million (Approximately) Engineering students each year. But, ⅔ students are left unemployed. The issue lies:

  1.  Either with the student unable to cope-up with the update skills in the industry.
  2. Or high grades or GPAs are essential to land on a decent job.

The 2nd case of getting a good rank in the college or university is important in today’s techy world and a vast majority of the Intelligent talents out there are struggling to even attend a job interview, due to low marks, hence misjudged as a ‘poor resume’ of the student.
But then two guys came along to help you build your resumes and founded the Hacker Rank.

Hacker Rank
This is a prominent condition in the case of Computer Science engineers (CS), specifically software developers and coding engineers as they are more in the count. Furthermore, the Founder of Infosys, N. R. Narayana Murthy states the same: “I think India has several advantages in the knowledge sector, in the software sector.

When Indian graduates wanted a proper support system, 2 young men turned this scenario into a history. I additionally, the boys mastered coding skills and started a journey from different extremes of the world. The failures on their path did not stop their journey and today, ‘Vivek Ravisankar’ and ‘Hari Karunanidhi’ are lifting Indian CS students to build killer resumes and helping them get a job that perfectly suits their professional skills! Yes, this is none other than the legend of “Hacker Rank”.

In the words of Vivek Ravisankar ~ “HackerRank has been an incredible journey. It all started as a vision for improving the way developers find jobs!”


Born in Bangalore and raised in Chennai, Vivek Ravisankar had a keen interest in the domain of computer programming. This made him pursue CS in college. He and his friend Hari Karunanidhi from NIT Trichy (National Institute of Technology), had issues with their marks and college, yet were excellent students in terms of coding.

A few words from the Founder, Vivek ~ “The problem is that grades and alma mater aren’t an accurate reflection of true ability. That was certainly the case for me. During college, my friend and eventual co-founder Hari Karunanidhi and I spent hours programming and competing in (and winning) online coding challenges for fun. We had solid fundamentals and were really strong coders, but didn’t necessarily have the pedigree that recruiters were looking for, especially in such a competitive candidate pool.”

The Hacker Rank - Colitco

During a coding contest that was conducted at his centre, Vivek participated and proved his talent before the recruiters of Amazon. Impressed by his skills, the Amazon team opted him for a position of recruiting other software developers from the field. Later on, he realized that it takes quite a lot of time to recruit even 1 person for the job. Vivek once mentioned in an interview that it takes more time to recruit someone when compared to originally building a product software on the system.

A snippet from his interview ~ “During my time at amazon, I spent a lot of time — hours every week — interviewing technical candidates only to find out later that some of them didn’t even pass the baseline skill requirements. What’s more, for every one position we’d fill, we’d interview roughly 50 candidates! These interviews took up a ton of my time that would have been better spent building products.”

This was the case even with Hari. Soon, the duo started to think of how to fix this broken model of hiring someone. And the results are now a brand today: Hacker Rank. However, it wasn’t an easy shot! Let’s get in-depth on the story of Hacker Rank and its co-founders.


The Hacker Rank - Colitco



You might have heard this name during your college exam preparations. Founded by Vivek and Hari, this is a platform to offer students with interview assistance. Furthermore, this was a failed project as students did not come forward to pay for virtual assistance and attend mock tests online.


Moving on from the failure of their 1st project, the duo opened avenues for an academic plan, where the bright students from India are to be matched with the Masters and other Post Graduate Programs in the United States. It was once again a defeat since that was the beginning of their ideas and they were suffering from a shortage of proper earning.

Vivek and Hari’s words ~ “We realized that in order to create a viable business, we needed to rethink our revenue stream while still aiming to match every developer to the right job.”


2011 was the year that hit the bull’s eye. The idea of Hacker Rank was established with the support of “Y Combinator”. YC is an American company that focuses on offering seed money acceleration to many startups, every year twice.

  • Moreover, the notable part here is that HackerRank of Vivek and Hari was the 1st Indian brand to get acceptance from YC. (The 1st two ideas got rejected). The 2 were moved to the final interview round of a 10-minute conversation at the Silicon Valley.

Vivek Ravisankar successfully got his expedited business visa, travelled to the US, for the 1st time in his life and landed on the country on Thursday. However, Hari Karunanidhi’s H1-B visa was denied. With the level of experience and support gained from the ‘YC Summer 2011’ batch in the US, Hari and Vivek started their 3rd idea HackerRank from 2 extreme corners of the globe: United States of America and Bangalore. 7 years from then, the 2 friends are still running and continuing their business from their respective origins!

ALSO READ:- Inspirartional Success Story of Haptik and Co- Founder, Aakrit Vaish


  • After 2 failed attempts, the startup idea of HackerRank was moving over a profitable line. One of the popular frameworks, CodeIgniter, was the PHP that Hari and Vivek used for building the brand. But due to its long duration, the framework was not conducive. For a time being and considering its active participation, ‘Ruby on Rails’ was decided as the framework for HackerRank.
  • The entire product was completed within a week using Backbone.JS for their front-end. The application started to grow gradually but due to the difficulty in managing multiple codebases, they had to move to ‘React’.

From asking his ex-manager at amazon to creating ‘fake resumes’ on job portals, Vivek and Hari struggled yet managed to get their first few users. Notably, the American Zynga, famous social game-development platform, was 1 among their early clients/customers! The team said this as follows: “we decided to create a fake resume that boasted the best of the best credentials and we put it up on various job posts. We ended up receiving a slew of inbound phone calls from recruiters interested in speaking with this candidate.” and whenever we would receive a phone call, we would say, “hey you know what, I’m not that person. But, if you use our product we can help you find people like this.”

Hacker RankImage Source Venture Beat

And today, “HackerRank” under the CEO and Founder ‘Vivek Ravisankar’ and Co-Founder ‘Hari Karunanidhi’ proudly presents the following stats:

➔Raised $30 million in Series C funding, under JMI Equity on February 13, 2018.

➔The Cloud-Based server ‘Mimir’ was acquired by HackerRank in December 2019 (this is the team’s first acquisition).

➔Walmart, Yahoo, Facebook, Quora, Evernote, Citrix, Adobe, Amazon, and Twitter are a few of their honourable enterprises and customers.

➔Online competitions from “CodeSprints” are conducted to rank users.

➔SudoRank, CodePair, DbRank, and DroidRank are some of the well-known releases from the years 2014 and 2015.

Even after this success trail, the company is handling and maintaining its offices from Bangalore and Silicon Valley. Therefore, this is a proud moment for the entire startup India scenario!

One of the 2 lessons we have from the story of these young men is that even 1000 failures should NOT make you stagnant and YOUR present situation is not an excuse to give up on your dreams. Even Sanjay Kumar, the CEO of Elior India once said: “It is easier to succeed if you have failed!”. Therefore, with the current business trend of India, a student entrepreneur can flourish greatly with additional support from initiatives likeMake In India and “Vocal for Local”.

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