California, home to Silicon Valley, ranks third in developer survey

HackerRank looked at average coding scores on its platform to find out who performed best. The result may surprise you.

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Abrar Al-Heeti is a video host and producer for CNET, with an interest in internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. Before joining the video team, she was a writer for CNET's culture team. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
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HackerRank's survey found that Washington is home to the country's best developers.


Which US state has the best developers?

You may be inclined to guess California since, y'know, it's home to Silicon Valley and all. But a new new survey by tech recruiting company HackerRank places the state third, after Washington and Wyoming.

HackerRank, which uses online coding challenges to match developers with companies that are hiring, determined the rankings based on average submission scores between 2015 and 2016. And it found that although California has the highest number of developers, Washington -- home to Amazon and Microsoft -- and Wyoming saw the best average scores per developer.

HackerRank co-founder and CEO Vivek Ravisankar said the results were surprising (they still need to dig deeper to find out why Wyoming topped the list), but they're a good reminder that developer talent can be found anywhere.

Developers have long been drawn to Silicon Valley because of its status as a leading tech hub, home to companies like Apple , Google, Facebook and Hewlett-Packard. But as companies across all industries -- from retail to health care to auto -- are increasingly focusing on technology, developers are finding jobs in all sorts of places. According to a study by The App Association, 89 percent of software developers work outside of Silicon Valley.

"You can be at Ford in Detroit and working on a division that's going to build self-driving cars," Ravisankar said. "Every company is becoming a software company."

The findings are based on scores from 450,000 developers who participated in HackerRank's challenges, so it's not entirely representative. But Ravisankar said the results help explain why more companies, such as Stripe and MemSQL, are opening offices in Seattle, where they can still find developers without incurring the costs Silicon Valley has become known for.

"I think this is the direction in which companies are moving and developer talent pools are moving," he said.

Ravisankar the study may serve as a starting point for companies to consider more locations when they open new offices.

"Maybe they'll all choose Washington," he said.

And don't worry, it already has a techy name: Silicon Canal.

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