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TypeSubsidiary of Unacademy
FoundedSeptember, 2009
FounderBhavin Turakhia
Key people

CodeChef is a competitive programming community of programmers from across the globe. CodeChef was started as an educational initiative in the year 2009 by Directi, an Indian software company.

Apart from its monthly coding contests for the community, CodeChef has many initiatives for Schools, Colleges and Women in competitive programming.[1] CodeChef is credited with hosting the India regionals of the ICPC for college students, as well as for IOI for school students in India. In 2020, CodeChef’s custodianship was changed from Directi (founded by Bhavin Turakhia) to Unacademy (Gaurav Munjal, CEO).[2]


In the year 2009, Directi launched CodeChef to help programmers improve their problem-solving skills through active participation in programming contests. The goal was to help Indian programmers in honing their problem-solving skills by fostering friendly competition and community engagement.[3]

In July 2010, CodeChef launched the "Go for Gold" initiative to enable Indian teams to excel at the world finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (formerly known as ACM-ICPC).[4]

In July 2013, CodeChef inaugurated the 'CodeChef for Schools' program to foster programming talent in school students. The initiative hopes to enable Indian students to excel at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), one of the five academic Olympiads for high-school students worldwide. The competition requires contestants to show necessary IT skills such as problem analysis, algorithm and data structure design, programming, and testing.[5]

In November 2017, the first CodeChef Certification exam was conducted. Later in 2018, CodeChef also launched CodeChef for Business to target technology enterprises by positioning its decade-old community as its core strength from a hiring and developer relations standpoint.

In the year 2020, the custodianship of CodeChef was handed over to Unacademy from Directi. After the transition, CodeChef is led by Bhavin Turakhia, and Gaurav Munjal.


Monthly Programming Contests

CodeChef hosts three programming contests every month, in which users can participate and compete for prizes and standing on the contest leaderboard.

  • The Long Challenge is a ten-day-long contest featuring questions of varying difficulty. The Long Challenge commences on the first Friday of each month. Every Long Challenge attracts around 30-40 thousand participants from around the world.
  • The Lunchtime is a contest that was primarily started for school students to hone their programming skills. This 3-hour contest takes place on the last Saturday of every month.
  • The third contest is the Cook-Off which takes place on the second-last Sunday of every month and consists of problems to be solved over a 2.5-hour duration. Shorter contests on the platform have around 10-20 thousand participants.

Winners in these contests are rewarded with CodeChef Laddus (goodie points) that can be redeemed for goodies and CodeChef merchandise. The ratings that coders get to have after the contests make sure that every participant gets to have something. Winners of these contests include several big names in the world of programming like Gennady Korotkevich, Tiacheng Lou, among others.


SnackDown is a global programming event that invites teams from all over the world to take part in India’s most prestigious multi-round programming competition. Hosted by CodeChef, SnackDown is open to anyone with a knack for programming.

The first SnackDown was first held in 2010. The competition was based on the ICPC style team contest. After a gap of five years, SnackDown made its comeback in 2015, followed by SnackDown 2016 and SnackDown 2017.[6][7]

SnackDown 2017 concluded with Oleg Merkurev of Ural Federal University and Aleksei Daniliuk of NRU Higher School of Economics from Russia claiming the title and winning a cash award of $10,000. The first runners up title were grabbed by Ryuta Kawai and Kohji Liu from University of Tokyo, Japan.[8][9]

The most recent SnackDown happened in the year 2019. The team of Gennady Korotkevich and Borys Minaiev from Saint Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics claimed the first prize. The first runners up were Ji Ruyi and Apia Du from China.[10]

DSA Learning Series

DSA Learning Series is an educational series put together by CodeChef Volunteers. Under this, CodeChef will be hosting a practice contest which will cover curated problems from a certain topic(s). It will also have a list of curated resources to learn from, along with the hints to the problems, and Learning sessions.

Go For Gold

Directi and CodeChef launched the Go For Gold initiative to help an Indian team win gold at the ICPC World Finals. As part of this initiative, any Indian team at the ICPC World Finals securing a higher rank than the current highest secured by an Indian team will be awarded the Go For Gold Cup and a cash prize calculated using their 'golden formula'. The current rank to beat is 18 set in the ICPC World Finals in 2012 by Team Proof and Team Turing Machine from IIT Delhi and IIIT Hyderabad respectively.[11][12][13]

CodeChef Chapter

CodeChef Chapters are the programming clubs that are run and maintained by the official Chapter Leaders and are mentored by CodeChef. CodeChef Chapters aim at promoting competitive programming in various colleges and schools around the world and help students become better problem solvers which go a long way in learning as well as in their career development.[14]

YouTube Channel For Open Educational Content Around DSA

CodeChef has a dedicated YouTube channel called “Learn Competitive Programming with CodeChef” where it regularly publishes video editorials of the popular CodeChef problems along with detailed explanatory videos of different competitive programming concepts. CodeChef recruits budding competitive programmers from all across the globe to teach on the YouTube channel and create a repository of learning-based content.[15]

Host Your Contest

CodeChef allows schools, universities, and corporate institutions to host their programming contest on the CodeChef platform. Corporates can use the CodeChef platform for various purposes like campus/lateral hiring, online hackathons, internal employee engagement, branding, employee re-skill programs. Around 3,990 contests have been hosted for educational institutions till now on the platform.

CodeChef for Business

CodeChef caters to the technical hiring, employer branding, and innovation management needs of technology enterprises. Being one of the frontrunners in the global competitive programming ecosystem, CodeChef positions its community of programmers proficient in problem-solving as its core strength for technical hiring and employer branding standpoint.

CodeChef Certification[edit]

CodeChef Certification in Data Structures and Algorithms is a certification programme by CodeChef, which tests candidates' proficiency in data structures and algorithms. The Certification is currently available at two successive levels - Foundation and Advanced.

This certification is an assessment of programming proficiency in Data Structures and Algorithms under a proctored environment. It’s a lifetime certification as it tests programmers' grasp on subjects that are very fundamental to the field of computer science, and therefore, they do not change with technological advancements.


  1. ^ Saraswathy, M. (2013-07-30). "Directi launches CodeChef for Indian school kids". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
  2. ^,skills%20vertical%20for%20school%20kids.
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  4. ^ "2-day ICP contest to begin at CSJM University today". 30 December 2019.
  5. ^ Saraswathy, M. (2013-07-30). "Directi launches CodeChef for Indian school kids". Business Standard India. Retrieved 2021-05-26.
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