In this Slogging AMA, the team at Hackernoon talks to Yasser Jilani, Code With Us founder, an EdTech start-up pioneering in coding education for children and teenagers and improving their academic performance and career skills.
This Slogging thread by Mónica Freitas, Linh Smooke, Yasser Jilani, Limarc Ambalina, Verushka Buonaffina and Jack Boreham occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.
I have here Yasser Jilani from https://www.codewithus.com/en; it is a Silicon valley EdTech start-up that pioneers in coding education for students ages 6 to 18, to improve their academic performance and elevate their career skills. Their belief is that through coding students develop a wide range of competences applicable both at school and work.
We discussed an AMA event with https://www.linkedin.com/in/yjilani/, who’s the COO of the company. These are some of the topics we mentioned for the activity:
Hey Yasser Jilani, thank you for being here with us.
Awww intersection of technology + education = my passion! So glad you are doing it! What explains your early interest in these topics?
Hi, Linh Smooke Our main interest grew when we saw a shortage of technology education. In the U.S., we always speak about a shortage of tech workforce and our need for foreign talents to bridge the gap. I strongly believe we need to invest in tech education to deal with this shortage, and that it should be part of early school education. My wife and I were looking for coding schools to enroll our kids to get a head start with that in mind. To our surprise, we couldn’t find quality instructor-driven EdTech resources that would address our needs, and that was the moment we realized the market opportunity and our social responsibility to prepare a tech-ready generation for our future.
How old are your kids? in your research, what (if any) were available for that age range?
In the beginning, we started with after-school programs, then we transitioned to in-person, online, and now offering in-school graded classes at many school campuses throughout North America and Europe.
We started our organization with the goal of making coding education ubiquitous at all elementary, middle school and high school campuses globally, and making the service readily available and affordable for all.
I have three kids, ages 5, 11 and 12.
Our program teaches kids ages 5 to 18. Currently, we are in talks with career bootcamp programs to teach students fresh out of high school to prepare them for a high-paying technology career.
Ours is still young, age 4, but so surprising to me that there’re so little available coding resources for kids that are affordable! When did you start and when did you first see traction?
We started our journey in 2017. And from the beginning, we saw a great demand.
We pivoted to Online starting 2019, and our business wasn't affected by the pandemic.
We started our push towards in-school programs in the beginning of 2021, and our bookings are solid.
Many schools are looking for coding programs, and we have the capability to customize programs based on their needs.
Thanks for joining us Yasser Jilani! It was only a matter of time before kids started to learn coding alongside mathematics.
When do you think coding will become a mandatory class in all schools in the United States? Do you think it ever will?
Hi Limarc Ambalina, thanks for asking! I believe in the near future we will see our children learning coding besides math and science at school.
Coding is getting more popular among early schoolers. Some states in the U.S have taken steps towards formulating CS framework for K-12 students, which is a great step towards making CS a part of the standard education.
We started our journey with the goal of making coding education ubiquitous at all elementary, middle school and high school campuses. Recently we are observing huge responses to our school marketing efforts, which is very promising.
That's great to hear! I actually looked into a few kids coding platforms and really loved CodeCombat
I think for teaching children especially, gamifying ALL learning, not just coding will be key in the future. Is your team looking to gamify your programming education for kids?
Yasser Jilani, What are the main challenges you face when introducing your startup?
Hi Mónica Freitas, one challenge we face is finding an effective marketing channel. Our product and service are great. When a student or a school comes on board, they stay for a long period. Our trial to conversion rate is excellent. But we are seeking a cost-effective marketing medium to broadcast our messages to end-users. Our current CAC is high, and we would like to bring it down.
Yasser Jilani do you think that your marketing difficulties could also be connected to the type of service you offer and how new it is!
Also, what are children learning when they learn to code?
Hey, Yasser Jilani Which abilities (soft and technical) does coding trigger in young kids?
Hi Mónica Freitas The coding industry is still evolving, as coding awareness increases, organic demand for our service increases too.
Hi Verushka Buonaffina.
Having children learn coding at a young age prepares them for the future. Coding helps children with communication, problem-solving, creativity, math, and teamwork.
Hi Yasser Jilani, great to have you with us. What kind of coding do you teach children?
Hi, Jack Boreham We teach 15+ topics and programming languages to students, and thousands of projects they can work on with their teacher to gain the necessary skills. Our six popular topics are; Game Design in Scratch
Software Design in Python
Roblox Game Design
Robotics with Arduino & C++
Yasser Jilani that's great! In your experience what are children's favorite topics to learn? What gets them really excited?
Mónica Freitas, Children love to play games, that's the reason our curriculum is focused on game designing in coding languages. Children love creating animation games and playing with their peers, this gives them a sense of accomplishment of playing with a tool that they have created by themselves.
Game Designing in Scratch and Robotics with Arduino are two most favorite topics with younger kids.
Kids 10 to 14, love to design creative Mods in Minecraft, also, design obbys (obstacle course games) and games with scripts using Roblox Lua.
Yasser Jilani that's amazing. Thank you! That's a wrap on this AMA. Thank you for joining us; it has been a pleasure to have you. 😊