Online mentoring platform Practical Coding lets coders teach in their free timeSharanya Chandrakantha Rao Inna
Skills such as development of apps running on Android, iOS and the web, and game design are in high demand now. With mobile and web-based startups mushrooming around every corner, it is no surprise that developers are seeing a boom in incoming projects. Capitalising on this wave of interest, the founders of Practical Coding are hoping their mentor-based code learning platform will give a personalised, impactful experience for all its consumers who are looking to expand their technical knowledge.
Practical Coding has nearly 100+ mentors who are quality engineers, own startups, and work in large MNCs or are experienced IT professionals.
The story behind Practical Coding
Basavaraj Hampali was an Android developer and Founder of an EdTech venture - KanheriEdu.com. He also worked for a short time as an Android developer at Traffline. During this time, he understood that people who did not possess coding experience were teaching coding. He then started teaching interested Android learners and found that he was able to juggle a fulltime job and his teaching stint quite comfortably. The concept for Practical Coding took shape in his mind when he realised that mentors who specialised in web, IOS + Android and game development were increasingly sought after.
The company is based out of BVB CTIE, an incubator at Hubli, and is powered by Basavaraj and his sister Saroja, who is a self-taught coder channeling her love for technology and teaching by overseeing customer care and technology at Practical Coding.
More about the venture
All course content provided by Practical Coding is well-defined and structured. The mentors take classes at fixed timings so that both learners and mentors are used to a certain regularity during training. Most of the classes occur during the weekends and are conducted using Google Hangouts. Students can also rate their teachers on a scale of 10. Mentors teach a maximum of three students at a time. It is with a sense of pride that Basavaraj states that all the mentors have received nine plus ratings from their students.
The venture has a thorough screening process for mentors through social profiles and an interview, and shares earnings with them. Practical Coding’s portfolio of learners includes quality assurance engineers, entrepreneurs and students. The venture hopes to serve all professionals through their offerings.
The team has also got on board Lalit Mangal, co-founder of commonfloor.com, as an advisor for the venture.
Basavaraj believes that their idea has a lot of potential. Codecademy in the US has nearly 24 million users to date. “According to a study, 66 per cent of QA engineers stand a better chance at getting a pay two-three times more than their existing one by moving to coding. So they can start learning the hottest coding skill in the market while still working as QA engineers. At the end of course they will build a product which will be hosted on app store/web and their source code will be hosted on Github as to serve as proof of their work,” Basavaraj says.
There are a number of options that Practical Coding could explore. Horizontally, the mentor-based learning model could be used for a variety of courses, including yoga or music. The venture could also expand to countries like Indonesia which is experiencing an IT boom. The challenges of finding the right mentors and scaling rapidly using the current model still remain. The team would have to increase marketing efforts to bring in more learners to the platform so that mentors with better skills are attracted to join in. Basavaraj says he would like to explore all options before taking a call on which route to take. He says he is unfazed by competitors such as Acadgild and Edureka. “The space is still at a nascent stage and having more ventures might create more interest in the mentor-based model,” he notes, adding that ensuring quality of the mentors on the platform and incorporating the personal touch to learning will go a long way in helping them carve out a niche.