Coding for growth

A literary initiative makes software engineers more employable.

A very popular myth states that you need to be incredibly clever in order to be able to code, thus creating an intellectual divide between those who can and those who wished they could code. The reality is much simpler – taking the first step in coding is tough, and often proficient coders stumble across a language that one wished one knew, in order to complete a software project or compete successfully to earn a more responsible role or assignment.

Vinod Khosla (Venture Capitalist and Entrepreneur) understood the problem from the inside out and decided to provide a free learning platform for beginners to start coding as well as for software engineers to enhance their skills online. He partnered with Regalix to provide opportunities for lateral growth within organizations for those who had a skill but needed a different skill set. It wasn’t easy.

A team of 15 intellectuals from Regalix ran the project to create and market coding lessons online for everyone with the inclination to learn. A program was run on Facebook to invite people to take the trial and the proof of concept was demonstrated successfully. Lessons in Python, Ruby and Javascripst were broken into easy interactive modules. An element of ‘gamification’ was added to increase stickiness – points and virtual badges were given to users on completion of milestones.

An innovative section called ‘Code Garage’ was enabled on the portal. It was composed of hundreds of small projects that users could take up as a challenge, getting hints and help all the while, to complete the project. Users could also submit their own problems to be included in Code Garage, thus building its knowledge base.

The Regalix team also came up with the ‘Teacher’s Dashboard’ another innovation to help teachers assign coding problems to their students, assess progress and performance – an excellent tool to assist those teaching programming courses.

Wiley also teamed up with Regalix to turn the book Java for Dummies into interactive online material. Orders starting pouring in from individuals as well as corporates who wanted to train their staff; the online book still sells like hot cakes!

An example of how Regalix and customers can partner innovation for long-term benefits.

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