[Exclusive Interview] Find Out How This Edtech Startup Has Delivered 80,000+ Programmers, Coders
Recently, we interacted with Ankush Singla, co-founder of Coding Ninjas, and asked him about the ideas, vision and mission of his edtech startup, and how they are disrupting the tech education space.
Here are the interview highlights:
1. What is Coding Ninjas and the idea behind its inception?
Coding Ninjas is an online learning platform for aspiring & professional coders. The edtech brand was conceived with the vision to bridge talent gaps in the IT industry. Today, Coding Ninjas is a leading name in the Indian edtech ecosystem. Founded by Ankush Singla, Kannu Mittal and Dhawal Parate in 2016; Coding Ninjas boasts of world-class teaching faculty and a state-of-art coding education platform with courses delivered by mentors from IIT, Stanford, IIIT and Facebook. Coding Ninjas teaches 17+ programming courses from Foundational to Advanced level in Data & Development courses such as Machine Learning, Data Science, Web Development, Android and more. To date, the platform has delivered 80,000+ coders and hosts a network of 1000+ Campus Ambassadors, 2000+ Teaching Assistants, and 150+ employees.
2. The growth of the company and the journey so far?
Company Co-Founder Dhawal Parate responds “We took a huge risk to become a completely online learning platform. We taught our last offline batch in August 2019 after which the courses went online and we’ve never looked back ever since. We have experienced growth exponentially through the last few years thanks to our funding and step by step structured segregation within the company. As offline tutors we were teaching batches of 40-50 students per class. Now we are able to teach tens of thousands of students across the country and help them become skilled coders through our courses and TA doubt resolution system. Perhaps our most revolutionary contribution to the community is CodeStudio, a multi faceted coding community which offers free content, guided paths and QnA bank from actual interviews. Apart from this, CodeStudio offers access to a library of learning sources and a college wise community of coding forums to freely discuss anything and everything. We are continuing our growth and at this pace foresee a bright future for the company”
3. What were the challenges faced by the brand during its initial years and how did they overcome the problems?
Like most of the startups, securing funding for the company initially was quite difficult.
The three of us co-founders bootstrapped some half-a-million rupees and kickstarted our vision to build an upskilling ecosystem with Coding Ninjas. Co-founder Kannu Mittal states “We were optimistic that our business model is scalable and were adamant that this idea would work. After we secured the funding it was a race to systematically structure the company and prepare for the massive amount of students we were about to have on board every month.
Large number of students meant a dedicated doubt resolution system within the learning process. This was our second challenge as a company and we took the matter head-on and integrated Teaching Assistants to guide the students throughout the course with whatever problems they had. It was quite a difficult and challenging undertaking to resolve 1000-1500 doubts on a daily basis in the beginning. Thanks to the company’s structuring, the TA system is fully integrated and working marvellously making us one of the best choices for a ‘turn-key’ coding career”
4. The importance of coding in our day-to-day life. How has it become important to learn coding?
Coding is the backbone of the modern world. Every single device from a mobile phone to supercomputers use some kind of code. Majority of the industries have gone digital and rely on technology for their daily routine, be it work or entertainment. Emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence and automation are being adopted across the board in almost every manufacturing industry. Without coding, none of this would be possible.
This multifaceted demand makes computer programming a booming job market with one of the highest valued skills today. The analytical approach of coding has obvious benefits apart from a steady job and ample opportunities; it inculcates critical thinking, problem solving and develops a sense of creativity; which are some of the most valuable skills to have in any workforce.
The current education curriculum doesn’t fully support the level of tech skills demanded by the IT industry, hence making institutes like Coding Ninjas an absolute necessity to shape the young talents.
5. Do you believe that coding is a big market and can be explored as a career option?
There was a time when coding was considered a hobby for tinkering geeks who wanted to play around with computers, reprogramming chipsets from redundant electronics such as walkmans and pagers. Today, coding is perceived as a critical skill thanks to a demand surge across the globe for talented programmers. A bonus side to these demands is the willingness of companies to deliver highly competitive pay scale to coders and programmers, making it an attractive profession.
Of course, no one gets a better paying job just by learning to code; personal and soft skills play an important role in building a successful career. In any case, coding is a positive asset to have in most business environments.
6. What skills are required to get into the coding industry and their benefits?
Problem-solving aptitude, good IQ and logical reasoning, form the three essential pillars to excel in almost any industry. And IT industry is no different in terms of its basic requirements from an employee. Top mentor from Coding Ninjas Mr. Mohammed Afzal says “It is pointless to pick any course blindly and learn it. Instead, learn what enhances your problem solving skills. Coding is nothing but an extension of your problem solving skills used by computers to create things which help the modern world to operate.
Choose a language based on the kind of problem solving skills you have, so it compliments your skill set rather than create difficulty in learning. An essential skillset to get into the industry is Data structures and algorithms which covers the basics of any programming language and helps you to understand coding at a fundamental level. After understanding these factors, anyone from even a non-computer science or technical background can learn coding and get into the industry”
7. How is coding changing the technology world?
Response: Everything from your smartphone to your laptop is powered by different languages of code. Thanks to coding the entire world is switching from an offline world to a globally online world. Coding has enabled people sitting in one corner of the world to communicate freely to someone in an entirely different part of the globe, effortlessly. Without programming none of this would be possible. If technology is the spear of evolution for mankind, then coding would be at the very tip of this spear. Every revolutionary technology has been made possible thanks to a little bit of creativity and hundreds of lines of code behind the tech. Virtual reality, mobile gaming, even your car has embedded codes to drive its hardware.
The future relies on amazing programmers and coders to work in tandem with technology innovators. Coding is to technology what DNA is to the human body.
8. Tell us about your programs, courses, etc, and how they are benefitting your students?
Response – There are three different ways to secure income with our different offerings – online + event based models:
1. Prepaid Courses
- Courses for both college or university students and for working professionals.
- These are up-skilling courses, foundation courses for beginners, and advanced courses for working professionals such as Data Analytics, Data Science, Machine Learning, etc.
- There are also preparatory courses for competition exams, interviews, placement assessments, etc.
2. Career Camp
1. Career camp fresher’s program – It is one of a kind career program designed to enhance the technical skills of the students from different colleges and universities. It takes students from being a beginner to become job-ready in nine months, and sets them on a path to better employability and higher earnings. This course is open for both final year and freshly graduated students.
2. Career camp for working professionals – Career Camp Professionals is a unique career enhancement program designed to upgrade technical skills of working professionals from a novice to an expert in nine months. Candidates applying for this course are required to have an experience of at least 10 months in the IT industry.
In both the programs, there is no fee charged at the time of enrollment and comes with assured placement at a product-based company. Fee is charged once a candidate lands a job at an organisation. The ticket size for these programs is much larger as compared to prepaid courses and it has witnessed exponential growth in number of enrollments for these programs in the previous quarter.
It is Coding Ninjas’ free-for-all job-preparation platform which has grown as India’s largest community of programmers comprising of both students and working professionals. The mission is to build an active community of learners who are engaged with activities like hiring challenges, hackathons, contests, and global level coding competitions; inviting budding developers and coding from different corners of the globe.
-Recently, Adda24 hired via CodeStudio contests while receiving 12,000 registrations for the placement assessment. Activities like these ang weekly coding competitions are hosted to improve the overall algorithmic understanding of aspirants.
– Coding Ninjas is also a host to India’s largest coding competition, CodeKaze. This national event is held twice a year, in an online format, inviting talents from across the world to compete with nation’s leading coders. Its latest edition, hosted March ‘22 witnessed 1.2 lakh registrations, making CodeKaze one of the largest online coding competitions in the country.
9. Future Plans
Response: Company Co – Founder Ankush Singla reports good news coming left and right from the current state and the future plans of the company
“The last two years have been amazing and very successful for us in terms of growth and user’s traction. We have received a large number of enrollments of students across all the courses. Amongst them, our Career Camp programs for both freshers and working professionals were a big hit and made a huge dent in the last 5-6 months on the success charts.
Career Camp Freshers for example has charted a 10x growth in 6 months time with enrolment numbers jumping from an initial 76 registrations in Feb to an astounding 793 enrolments in July.
We are expecting to sustain our current market position and strength of students, including school and college students, graduates and working professionals as well. We will try our best to come up with career-oriented and up-skilling courses on our platform. Also, we will try to reach maximum students with our career camp programs in the coming years.