The world is changing at a fast pace, which is particularly evident in the education sector, where the global Ed-tech or online learning market has emerged to be a multibillion-dollar industry. According to HolonIQ, In 2021, the global Ed-tech market will be valued at around $268 billion, which will likely exceed $400 billion by 2025. There are approximately 125 Ed-tech startups operating in Bangladesh, such as 10 Minute School, Shikho, Bohubrihi, and Upskill. These platforms cover academic subjects as well as IELTS, Learning English, Web Development and many other courses altogether. However, there are very few platforms in the country dedicated to learning programming, of which ‘Programming Hero’ is the most prominent one. A Bangladeshi entrepreneur ‘Jhankar Mahbub’ launched a platform called ‘Programming Hero’ that helps individuals to learn Programming in a fun and interactive approach. In less than two years since its inception, the platform has developed substantial local popularity while also attracting international learners as well.
History of Programming Hero
Jhankar Mahbub planned to introduce an app-related education system after seeing the prevalence of app usage among the young generation. He began brainstorming and extensive research on the issue. He observed that a couple of programming-related apps such as ‘Sololearn’, ‘Programming Hub’ and ‘Mimo’ are already serving international learners. However, these apps cover a wide range of topics and provide primarily surface-level information in a difficult-to-understand language, which is inconvenient for new learners. Jhankar Mahbub had an idea to create an app that focuses on a niche topic and provides a fun interactive learning experience. Besides that, he wanted to integrate an intelligent system for customized and dynamic content offering for each individual audience depending on his own preferences. In 2018, an alpha version of the app named ‘Programming Hero’ was launched. At that time, the app was mainly serving global audiences. They primarily offer free game-based courses to learn python, mobile app development, C programming, C++, cyber security, and many other topics through the mobile app. However, at the end of 2019, the startup faced a funding crisis and Mr. Jhankar Mahbub went to silicon valley for VC funding. Unfortunately, he couldn’t receive any funding from there. Then, he got an alternative idea to start a Bootcamp type course, in which he planned to offer hands-on teaching. Following the idea, he opened a YouTube channel by the name ‘Programming Hero’ and intended to catch international learners from YouTube for the Bootcamp course. However, in January 2020, a Bangladeshi person suggested that he can try his new approach in Bangladesh. Although there were a lot of challenges to starting a business in Bangladesh, Jhankar Mahbub liked the idea and decided to proceed with the plan.
But he noticed that the Bangladeshi online learning market has some major issues. First of all, Bangladeshi learners have access to a wide range of free resources via YouTube and pirated content, but many lack the dedication and patience required to learn on a regular basis. On top of that, many individual learners do not follow a compact pathway to learn in-depth on a specific topic. Rather they saw different types of videos and most of them gave up at one point. Besides that, Bangladeshi learners lack a proper problem-solving channel. As a result, when a student encounters a problem while learning ‘programming’, he is unable to seek a viable solution and, as a result, gives up his learning. Finally, most competent learners in Bangladesh lack the confidence to start a career using their expertise.
After evaluating all those issues, the ‘Programming Hero’ team designed a unique Bootcamp type interactive learning model that helps overcome all those challenges for learners. In this approach, all enrolled students will be given a set of videos every day at 10 p.m. that they must watch within 24 hours. There will be multiple questions at the end of each video. If any learner finds it difficult to understand anything, he can always ask for help on the dedicated Facebook group. After each 5 to 6 days, an assignment will be assigned for everyone which needs to be submitted within 1-3 days. The course will continue for 16 consecutive weeks and those who completed all the assignments on time will be selected for ‘Super Charged Interviewee Club (SCIC)’, which will facilitate employment opportunities for the learners.
With big hopes, the ‘Programming Hero’ team moved forward with the model and launched just one course on the topic of ‘Web Development’ in Bangladesh on 4 February 2020. Surprisingly, they got a lot of traction in Bangladesh and in the first batch, they got 973 students enrolled on the course. After that, the number of students keeps increasing in every batch. In Batches 2 and 3, they enrolled 1740 and 3100 students respectively. In their recently finished ‘Batch 4’, they have enrolled 5150 students. At the end of the course, the start-up also assists the learners in local and foreign job placement. The Programming Hero team now employs 51 full-time employees and another 25 part-time and volunteer personnel. Within just 2 years of operation in Bangladesh, ‘Programming Hero’ became one of the largest and most popular online programming learning Ed-tech platforms of Bangladesh.
‘Programming Hero’ Mobile App
‘Programming Hero’ also has a dedicated app for learning to code for anyone. The app provides a variety of courses that can be learnt through gamified and entertaining approaches. The app has more than 1.1 million download counts. The app has a large global audience, with the majority of users coming from India and the United States.
Programming Hero provides an in-depth web development course with an interesting and engaging approach, allowing individuals to learn effortlessly. They charged around BDT 4.5 – 5.5 thousand for the 16 weeks long course. Besides that, they have a dedicated mobile app called ‘Neptune by Programming Hero’ which helps enrolled learners to watch videos as well as save videos to watch offline later on. The main purpose of the course is to create mid-level expert web developers who can serve a company as a ‘junior web developer’.
Full-Fledged Support Center
As the course is related to programming, it is pretty obvious that learners will face difficulties and often seek help through the entire learning period. In order to serve the need, ‘Programming Hero’ has a full-fledged support center for enrolled learners. Learners can ask for help on the dedicated Facebook group where they can find the solution within 24 hours. Apart from that, the platform has an online video conference support center run by ‘Google meet’, where enrolled learners can join and seek solutions. So far, the ‘Programming Hero’ team answered around 50k questions on the Facebook group and around 30k support has been provided by the Google meet.
The ‘Programming Hero’ has a specialized team that assists students in obtaining job placements. This is a special reward incentive for dedicated learners who have finished the entire course and submitted all the assignments on time. A 1.5-week training session is usually held, during which students receive free interview training and their CVs are forwarded to various organizations in order to get a job as an intern or full-time developer. According to the CEO of Programming Hero, around 70% of students get placements after finishing the courses and the rest of the students are offered further training completely free of cost. Some ‘Programming Hero’ students are presently working at local companies such as Rokomari, Brain Station 23, Sheba.xyz, and weDevs, while some are working in foreign companies as well.
‘Programming Hero’ YouTube Channel
‘Programming Hero’ also has a YouTube channel in the English language for all programming learners around the world. Anyone can learn basic to advanced programming tutorials from the channel.
The CEO and founder of ‘Programming Hero’, Jhankar Mahbub identified that the number of freelancers in Bangladesh is increasing at a rapid pace. However, most of them have no formal education or training on specific topics. Aside from that, Bangladesh’s traditional four-year CSE degree curriculum is merely theoretical and outdated, which is inadequate for any company to employ a CSE graduate. As a result, there is a huge gap between academic education and corporate jobs. Programming Hero’s long-term goal is to offer more in-depth interactive courses on specific topics in order to close the gap and tap into the local workforce’s potential as well as exhilarate local and foreign job placements.