The Hacking School: Building Tech Workforce Through Bootcamps

India is synonymous with disruptive technology. The brilliant nation is packed with talented software developers who are constantly creating mind-boggling innovations using lines of code. The Hacking School, India’s first coding bootcamp, enables software developers to become an industry-ready workforce. In this interview, we speak with Meraj Faheem, CEO at The Hacking School, to understand how bootcamps contribute to the betterment of the technology workforce.

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Meraj Faheem, founder and CEO at Teh Hacking School

Tell us about India’s first coding bootcamp, The Hacking School. How did it start?

The Hacking School started as a pain point that I encountered whilst building Money Messenger. There was this heavy demand for quality engineers, but absolutely no supply. We noticed the gap between the skills available and the skills required. And so, we took a leap of faith and kickstarted our first Bootcamp in April ’14 and never looked back again.

What is the admission process like? What makes The Hacking School different from other coding communities in India?

After a candidate submits the application, there are two rounds of interviews. The first one is to set expectations and better understand their profile, and the second round is to check their program fitness. Only then do we issue an admission letter.

Once admitted, the candidate must go through a 13 week long intensive product development exercise. We try and replicate the methodology followed by leading tech product companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. Our focus is on building end-to-end products and not just learn ‘how to code’. Towards the end of our program, the candidates build a portfolio of products that they have built from scratch.

We have partnered with several international coding bootcamps in Australia, UAE, and the US, that assist our students to find international internships. We also bring in international instructors who help broaden the perspectives of our candidates with the latest tech trends around the world.

How does your ‘Startup Marketing’ program work? Who can make use of it?

The Startup Marketing program (Growth Bootcamp) is a 4-week long program designed specifically for entrepreneurs who are looking to launch their products in the market.

The program focusses on the growth aspect, which starts from idea validation, building a product that meets the market demand, product market fit analysis, market acquisition, conversion, retention and so on.

We do talk about SEO, SEM, and SMM as part of the awareness channel, but that’s a very small subset of the entire program. Lately, numerous product managers have started showing interest in our Growth Bootcamp.

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Can someone from a non-tech background hope to get into coding? How?

Yes! We do realize that many people want to pick up coding to switch careers and find new jobs due to career stagnation, or have a great idea that’s not letting them sleep!

Although our program starts from the basics, we appreciate and are a tad biased towards people who have self-started with coding. And this is because our curriculum is designed by international educationists with decades of experience in building coding bootcamp programs.

Tell us about some of the success stories of The Hacking School. 

There are two stories that we are proud of. The first is of Mobashshir, a B.Tech dropout, who’s passion for code has enabled him to lead a team of backend engineers working on sophisticated airline optimization technologies.

Another such example is Syed Aleem, a computer science engineer by degree, took our 3-month long program to become a software developer. He started his career as a front-end developer and now handles full-stack. Aleem is currently working in a leading automobile company in the USA.

We have 27 such examples and 8 such candidates in the current batch that we are confident of making it big.

What are your future plans for The Hacking School?

Our focus is on job creation, and not just job finding. Towards this, we are opening bootcamps in 5 new cities in the next 6 months with an aim at supplying product engineers that India needs to sustain this phase of the technology boom.

Also, we plan to take our bootcamps at a collegiate level and work with engineering institutions and universities to create a curriculum that will generate an industry-ready workforce, right after college.

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