Improving HackerRank Community


The HackerRank community is the most significant learning and competition community for programmers. It currently has over 6 million registered developers who actively use the HackerRank community to practice coding, participate in contests, and prepare for coding interviews.


I helped build the product's 2-year vision with stakeholders from different teams. I was responsible to design and ship the product with a junior designer.


5 Months : Dec 2020 - Apr 2021


1 Product Managers, 2 Product Designer, Team of Engineers

The Process


HackerRank has a strong brand with various developers’ cohorts resulting in almost 1M unique sign-ins a month.

It is this population that enables us to build and launch highly successful new products. In recent times, the community’s growth rate has been flat, and it needed immediate attention.

How can a platform supersede the traditional career fairs to tackle COVID-19 and other problems?


HackerRank attracts two primary personas: Learners and Job Seekers. We focused on both personas equally, and the growth rate had been flat in 2020-21. So we wanted to concentrate on one and de-prioritize the other one.

We surveyed 360 users to understand our community better and found that 63% of our users are here to prepare for jobs, and 31% of our users are here to improve coding skills(learners).
From the survey, we learned that most community developers come to HackerRank to prepare for jobs, and we wanted to focus on this cohort as this was also the most relevant one for other parts of HackerRank. We planned to double down on this persona and sideline anything that doesn’t help job seekers.


Our objective in 2021 was to attract more job seekers and help them prepare for job interviews in the shortest amount of time and effort.


After speaking to several developers who have recently changed their jobs or got their first job, we gained several insights and identified their pain points.

Some of them were:

There is a lot of content out there, and it isn't easy to understand where to start.

Following are the quotes from developer interviews:

"I had to establish the structure for study, which gets hard when deadlines are close."

"There is a lot of content, but nothing is compiled properly. Articulation of the resources could be better."

Do not know how are interviews conducted at different companies and how should I prepare for them.

Both Students and Professionals spend a lot of time on discussion forums to look at past interview questions and others' interview experiences.
Past interview questions and company-wise interview preparation kits are prevalent among professional developers because they give them direction to prepare.


Based on the interviews, we built out two key personas that aligned with our primary persona: Job Seeker.

  • Student

  • Professional



Large projects have their pros and cons. The pros of it are that we get to break down the task into smaller chunks. It gives us a chance to understand and gain insights into a future piece from the previous one.
The pieces should also be interconnected so that the insights from them are helpful for the next part.


Our overall objective in 2021 is to help job seekers ease their interview preparation.

We broke down the project into four smaller parts and worked on each of them step-by-step.

The objectives of the project were:

  • Align our current product experience with job seekers and de-prioritize every other experience.

  • Update the onboarding experience and understand what the users use HackerRank for.

  • Investing in the interview prep experience and content to offer a customized preparation plan based on the job seeker's need.

  • Build a discussion forum to enable job seekers to seek help from other job seekers.


Based on the user flow and the information architecture, I had sketched out some concepts for the pages. Due to short deadlines, the sketches were just made for sharing the idea and receiving feedback.

Part 1: Onboarding


We did not know the motivations of most of the users who sign up with HackerRank Community every month. ~60% of these users do not even mention if they are students or working professionals.

The solution was to update the current onboarding process for new users to identify who they are, what they are looking for and provide them with a tailored experience.

Why did we focus on onboarding?

We wanted to prioritise new users as we do not know anything about more than 50% of the users who sign up every day. That’s quite a large population we know very little about.

A job seeker who signed up with us 3 months or 6 months ago may not be searching for a job anymore, but new users are much more likely to be active job seekers, which is our primary KPI.

2. How will the user benefit by going through this onboarding?

We were going to use the information provided by users during the onboarding to customise the interview prep experience, the next part of the project.



The drop-off percentage decreased from 55% to 28%, which was significant for us.

90% of the users went past the first step, thereby letting us know their intent to customize their preparation.

Onboarding also helped us increase the number of candidates solving at least 1 question after signing up by 25%.

The engagement funnel looked like this

Step 2: Interview Preparation Kits


Developers still struggle to understand where to start since there is a lot of content out there. We believe by understanding the developers and providing them with a preparation plan that best fits their needs can help solve this problem.

Why is an interview preparation Kit?

An interview preparation kit is a collection of questions and mock tests that are curated to help developers prepare for interviews in specified time duration.

How did we manage to tailor a kit for a user?

Interview prep kits are based on time, and we recommend each job seeker the kit which suits their timeline.
The goal is to understand how the time-based preparation kits work and then launch kits based on roles and companies.



  • Large projects need to be broken down into smaller parts to ease the design processes, understand the insights pre and post-launch and plan the next part based on the results/performance of the first one.

  • Talk to the users to understand what they need. Make them feel comfortable first, and then go for the questions instead of bombarding them with questions right away.

  • What users tell you and what they need are not always the same things. Understand what they need and work on it accordingly.

2023 Portfolio by Siddharth Simharaju