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To Code Or Cut The Chord In The World Post COVID With the world rapidly becoming more tech-focused and data-driven, the importance of programming and other digital literacy skills will only increase

By Prabhjeet Bhatla

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Masai School

When the pandemic hit the globe, learning coding at home became a medium of turning imagination into reality for kids. Kids nowadays can easily learn programming, coding, software development, Web development, and even Python, that too from the very beginning just by simply enrolling themselves on various online programmes.

The demand for learning coding and programming is expected to increase in the future and it requires zeal in kids as well to rise and shine in this particular field.

Coding is a near-essential skill nowadays. From Web development to data science and even pure-bred programming, coding is a skill that can never go wrong.

With the world rapidly becoming more tech-focused and data-driven, the importance of programming and other digital literacy skills will only increase.

According to a report by the World Economic Forum report in October, 80 per cent of businesses plan to accelerate the automation of work processes over the next five years, while half are set to increase the automation of jobs in their company. At the same time, COVID-19 has created an urgent need for businesses to rapidly adopt online-first operating models as working from home becomes the norm.

With programming skills becoming more essential to success, and with developers becoming the new hot item for recruiters, its little wonder that more people are looking to coding courses to supercharge their skillsets.

Masai School chief executive officer and co-founder Prateek Shukla, told Entrepreneur India, "We have been able to leverage several technologies to better optimize our learning system at Masai School. Video-conferencing software Zoom is used for all kinds of teaching, Slack is used for all layers of communication, doubt-clearing, feedback, etc. GitHub is used for source code management and developing software applications. At Masai School, we also built our own learning management system (LMS) and online judge (OJ), to track the learning activities of the students, down to the most basic level."

During his pre-final year of engineering at IIT Kanpur, he said to have understood the importance of quality and impactful education, and the amount of untapped potential the country's youth has. Shukla later co-founded a home rental startup Grabhouse in 2013, which he sold to Quikr in 2016, and worked in the real estate industry for a few years.

"After quitting the job, I traveled to Kenya and Tanzania and came across the local Masai Mara tribe. Upon interacting with their Chieftain, I learned that the tribe does not have access to formal education, yet their people are very skilled and take pride in their skill sets. The tribe of Masai focuses on Skilling, and that's when I decided the name — "Masai School' to help realize India's potential, and place our youth at reputable technical jobs.

A question that I asked myself before starting Masai School along with co-founders Nrupul Dev and Yogesh Bhat was, What if the educational institutions in India shared their monetary risk along with the students over the course of their education," he reminisces his entrepreneurial journey to his current venture.

Together with his co-founders, the Bengaluru-based entrepreneur charted out a reverse-engineering framework to teach the necessary programming and software skills to the youth of India. The result was a military-style coding school, based on 9-9-6 intensive training that runs for 6 days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. The holistic programme included 1000 hours of hands-on coding, 100 hours of soft skills training, and 100 hours of mathematics.

Masai School was thus founded in June 2019, with a pilot batch of 10 students.

Shukla affirms that his startup is making the world a better place to live by tapping into the untapped potential present in tier-II, tier-III, and tier-IV regions in the country, and those with financial constraints and underprivileged backgrounds, they are also able to bring out large-scale impact in the jobs market, bridging the gap between the demand for highly skilled and talented tech professionals and the tech companies.

"Above all, contrary to the popular belief that only Computer Science graduates and students can code and become successful software developers, Masai School produced developers out of all kinds of educational backgrounds. B.Sc, B.Com, BCA/MCA, Polytechnic and Diploma holders, Psychology, Mechanical/Electrical/Industrial/Civil Engineering, College dropouts - the mix is all the more diverse, and these graduates are also now hardworking and successful developers, and fan favorites at their respective workplaces (tech companies)," he proudly states.

The company has been said to have bagged total funding of $7.7 million from Seed, pre-Series A, and Series A rounds. Pre-Series A fundraise of $2.5 million was led by Unitus Ventures, which saw participation from IndiaQuotient and AngelList India. The recently concluded Series A fund-raise was led by Omdiyar Network India and saw participation from the existing investors. Angel investor and co-founder of Instamojo Sampad Swain is also an investor in Masai School, who participated in a Seed round along with IndiaQuotient and in terms of their targeted users, there are about 8.5 million graduates coming from different colleges across the country, while the employability ratio is only around 20 per cent. In this context, the platform is trying to scratch the surface, in its attempts to tap into the target user base.

Currently, the company offers courses that are in full-stack web development and full-stack Android development. Right from the onboarding stages until the students finally get an offer letter or more, the Masai staff claims to walk hand-in-hand with the students, to unlock their potential at every stage, and thus enable them to be fully industry-ready.

Their Thrive Program is another initiative that is a continuous evaluation, feedback, and support mechanism that fixes the loose ends in a student's learning curve. The program is for those Masai graduates who are yet to crack a tech job interview and are struggling with soft skills, incomplete technical expertise, or confidence issues. The students are trained in all forms of communication and soft skills like attitude, behavior, critical thinking, negotiation, and also remote-working. They say, their objective is to make students highly competent and industry-ready for the tech companies.

"The new target segments would be aspiring user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers, product managers, data analysts. In addition, we also want to build stronger capabilities in the team to be able to cater to more and more full-stack web developers and full-stack Android developers in the country.

We are already present in about 25 states in the country, on a virtual level. We are further looking to add a pod-like agile methodology, where a hiring partner can get a full package of designers, developers, product managers, and data analysts from Masai School," he further adds while mentioning his next trigger of growth for his company.

Prabhjeet Bhatla

Former Staff

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