Learn Now, Pay Later: This Startup Teaches Coding, Without Upfront Fee
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Student loans disbursed by banks have been declining through much of 2018 and 2019. While to a certain extent it is true that banks have become reluctant given non-performing assets in this category, the other reason is also that education cost is going up and many students find it difficult to repay due to low salaries post-course completion. And so decide not to opt for upfront loans.
Here is where Coding Ninjas, an ed-tech startup that solely focuses on teaching programming, has come in to ensure that its students first secure a job and then pay for the course.
In an exclusive interaction with Entrepreneur India, Ankush Singla, co-founder of Coding Ninjas, gives an insight into his platform and shares his future plans.
Inception of Coding Ninjas
Witnessing a dearth of proficient programmers even after acquiring coding degrees from various institutions, Singla understood the need for a dedicated programming learning platform. “I was perplexed after seeing these offline coding institutes that made students learn code and practice on notebooks. One has to understand coding can only be practised on a computer,” said Singla.
Another reason that drove Singla to start Coding Ninjas is the difficulties faced by Indian students while learning through online western courses. According to him, the language barrier and unintelligible American accent became a double whammy for Indian students. “There was no one to solve their doubts, no one to hold their hands and teach the basics. Students’ plight made us realize the importance of an Indian online programming course,” added Singla.
Coding Ninjas was launched offline in 2016. Understanding the effectiveness of online learning and teaching more students without the limitation of physical infrastructure, it went online the next year. Since then, Coding Ninjas has seen a steady rise in student participation.
Courses and jobs
From C++, Java to advanced-level languages such as Python or for that matter artificial intelligence (AI), Coding Ninjas provide a spate of programming classes for a student to choose from. According to Singla, the reason his startup is able to provide so many opportunities in coding is that it has solely focused in this area. “From the beginning, we knew what we were good at so we put our hard and soul in this area to enhance users’ learning experience,” said Singla.
Apart from teaching, Coding Ninjas provides real-time assistance to students facing difficulties. Shedding more light, Singla said they use Code Zen, an auto evaluate platform wherein a student can immediately see his result and even clarify his doubt simultaneously. Around 3,000 doubts are solved every day.
At present, Coding Ninjas have two sets of learning programs—Learning Module and Career Camp. In the Learning Module, students come and understand coding and end up getting certificates. More than 12,000 students have enrolled in this module.
Career Camp, however, follows a different flow. Students have to take a test first, followed by an interview. Once they clear both, they get enrolled in Career Camp. The distinctive characteristic of this module is that students will pay after they have secured a job. “We see the attitude among students who apply in Career Camp. We know with a right attitude, a student can prosper early on,” said Singla.
Career Camp which, which was launched last year, saw over 25,000 applicants of which 350 students were shortlisted.
Last week, Coding Ninjas launched a learning programme for school students. Right now the course is open for standard 3-8 students. However, Singla plans to give the same opportunity to students from other standards too.
Recently Coding Ninjas also partnered with Talent500 by ANSR, the exclusive talent acquisition partner for Fortune 500 companies in India, to create employment opportunities for aspiring engineers and tech professionals. The strategic partnership intends to offer placement opportunities to students and tech professionals with leading tech companies.
All successful and qualified graduates from Coding Ninjas will have the opportunity to apply for exclusive opportunities on Talent500. Talent500's proprietary AI-based algorithms then match candidates’ profiles to job requirements and select the ones that are the best fit for the role.
Impact of COVID
As most of the businesses are grappling with the unprecedented outbreak, looking for ways to make a profit, Singla considers himself lucky because of a few life-changing decision he took earlier. According to him the decision to completely go online and shut their offline classes last year has been fruitful during this pandemic.
The company also bagged a funding worth INR 37 crore in Series A round in February this year. “The fact that we closed our funding just before the pandemic gripped the world has been beneficial for us,” mentioned Singla.
The virus has however slowed the startup’s expected growth rate. Since last year, the company’s student enrollment has gone by up 30 per cent compared with an expected 150 per cent.
Singal believes that due to the lockdown, people are liquidating their cash in a restricted manner. However, he believes that the numbers will go up, as in the post-COVID era people will prefer online classes.