CodeChef was started in 2009 as an educational initiative for the programming community by Directi, an Indian software products company. Today, CodeChef is one of the world’s largest and popular global competitive programming platforms preferred by student & professional programmers. In 2020, CodeChef was added under the aegis of the Unacademy brand.

CodeChef promotes constant learning and friendly programming competitions for its users, along with the support of its large community of problem curators.

CodeChef was created as a platform to help programmers make it big in the world of algorithms, computer programming, and programming contests. It hosts three featured contests every month (Long Challenge, CookOff, LunchTime & Starters) and gives away prizes and goodies to the winners as encouragement. Apart from these, the platform is also open to the entire programming community, especially academic institutes, and student bodies, to host their own contests. Major institutions & corporates across the globe use CodeChef’s platform to host their contests, internal & external coding assessments. On average, 30+ external contests are hosted on CodeChef’s platform every month.

CodeChef also partners with schools, colleges, and student groups to create local CodeChef Chapters, meet-ups, orientation sessions & programming workshops. In addition, CodeChef sponsors coding contests and teams of Indian programmers as part of its Go for Gold Initiative for ICPC & IOI.

SnackDown by CodeChef is a world-renowned annual programming competition that attracts participation from programmers from 140+ countries.

Very recently, CodeChef launched its new program - Learn Competitive Programming With CodeChef - on Unacademy’s robust learning platform. Read more about this launch here.

CodeChef’s YouTube Channels are also a source of free learning and knowledge for the community with video editorials and recorded problem-solving sessions from top-rated programmers.

How it all started and when?

It was in the year 2009 that CodeChef was founded in Mumbai, Maharashtra (India). The goal & the discussion point was - How to improve and expand the Indian programming community. This goal was shaped by the following turn of events:

Directi had made its first visit to campus for hiring freshers in the year 2009. It was an active phase in Directi’s history when as an organization, it wanted to make a significant transition. Directi wanted to build some great products, and for that, it wanted to hire the best talent from across the country. It was a big leap for Directi. The only question was how?

Key members at Directi were in a discussion and came to know about the ICPC through a few of their lateral hires. The members explored more about ICPC, and it was then that they figured out for the first time the value of competitive programming, also known as Sports Programming.

It dawned on the team that there was a direct correlation between the best software engineers and the best competitive programmers. While the team did find a path towards their hunt for the best talent, they realized a bigger problem that India was facing.

They came to know how poorly India had been performing at ICPC, the most prestigious international programming event across the globe. In spite of the vast amount of intellectual talent available in the country, India’s performance has not been close to top-notch. It was disheartening to see India lagging behind vis-a-vis other nations when it came to solving complex programming problems. The team launched CodeChef as an experiment to address this situation. They wanted Indian students to have fun while learning & improving. It was also important for them to bring the global competition home so that Indian students can learn to compete with the best out there.

In 2010, CodeChef launched the Go For Gold program. The goal of the Go for Gold Project is ambitious: CodeChef wanted an Indian college team to win the ICPC contest, the most competitive programming challenge in the world. In 2013, CodeChef extended the Go For Gold program to cover the International Olympiad in Informatics for school students. And in the year 2020, the custodianship of CodeChef was transferred from Directi to Unacademy.

More than a million programmers worldwide have joined CodeChef so far, and we're always looking for more.

Initiatives taken up by us

  • Host your own programming contest: CodeChef provides its platform to any educational institute and organization across the globe to conduct its own programming contests. Under this initiative, CodeChef takes care of the infrastructure, platform, and support aspect of hosting the contest.
  • CodeChef College Chapters: College Chapters are programming clubs targeted specifically towards competitive programming, which are guided and mentored by CodeChef. The idea behind forming College Chapters is to create a strong culture of competitive programming across all colleges and schools in India and exchange knowledge amongst themselves using the CodeChef platform.
  • Evaluation platform for teachers/educationists: Collaboration with various education institutions like NITTR, IIIT Delhi, IIT Madras, NIT Trichy, IIIT Hyderabad, Amritapuri College of Engineering. One of the major success of these collaborations was the inclusion of competitive programming in IIIT Delhi’s curriculum. A detailed case study of its inclusion can be found here.
  • CodeChef for Schools: CodeChef has started promoting competitive programming among school students by creating awareness about the International Olympiads in Informatics (IOI). It also has freely accessible learning resources for school students to prepare them for the Olympiad. Several workshops have been conducted in schools with the help of our ‘problem-solving through programming’ curriculum. A learning program was started by the team to help students preparing for the ICO.
  • CodeChef Certified Data Structure & Algorithms Programme (CCDSAP): CodeChef conducts the Data Structures and Algorithms exam under an invigilated environment to assess the proficiency of learners in Data Structure and Algorithms. It is CodeChef’s mission to provide a reliable, valid, and fair method of assessing the skills and knowledge needed to become better programmers and develop a community of highly skilled certified professionals who are good problem solvers.
  • Learn Competitive Programming with CodeChef: CodeChef has launched live courses on Competitive Programming, taught by the most passionate competitive programmers, and helped by a great team of teaching assistants. It was launched on Unacademy on 15th September.
  • Learn Competitive Programming with CodeChef YouTube Channel: CodeChef launched its new YouTube channel providing video editorials and recorded problem-solving sessions from top-rated programmers. You can read about this jubilant development here.
  • Conversations with CodeChef: CodeChef has come up with a series of Ask Me Anything (AMA) live sessions called Conversations with CodeChef. Here we talk with the leading figures in the corporate world and the people who have made significant progress in their programming careers, aiming to provide the viewers with all the insights about how they made it big in their fields.