HONG KONG - Perhaps not so many people in China have even heard of the site, www.interviewstreet.com, but for those Chinese hackers who dominate the site’s leaderboard, it is their arena: nine out of the top ten are from the country. The only American in top 20 ranks 12.
The site is a problem-solving platform for some of the world’s elite programmers. It provides coding challenges and helps corporations like Facebook and Microsoft to identify the talent.
Gild, a social networking and skills sharing site for programmers, did a study in October, 2011, examining the core skills of almost half a million programmers via more than one million tests. The study showed that Chinese programmers outscored their American counterparts in logic and math by 20 percent, although they lagged behind in core programming languages.
"Software development remains a bright spot for the U.S., with American programmers the best in the world, but is it sustainable?” said Sheeroy Desai, CEO of Gild, in a statement. “America must invest in education to stay ahead. Developing nations such as China are clearly putting an immense focus on core skills education, particularly math."
In 2010, Operation Aurora, in which Google, Adobe, Yahoo, and some other 20 American companies were attacked by hackers from China, caught global attention. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the top universities in China, and Lan Xiang Vocational School, which is said to be tied to the Chinese military, were the origin points of these “highly sophisticated attacks.”
In Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s 2011 Report of the Work of Government, the government plans to spend 4 percent of the country’s GDP on education in 2012, a long time goal at last achieved. “We have been waiting for the 4 percent for decades; it finally came true,” said Professor Ma Guoxian at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. “It means that we are joining the moderately developed countries in terms of education spending.”
Now it doesn’t matter that whether the Chinese central government or military is behind every alleged cyber-attack on the US; what matters is that the cyber-war is on, and China is getting ready for it.