Posted by & filed under Human Resources, industry analysis, revenue model, Software.

Description: It’s a tough economy out there, but there’s at least one skill in high demand: programming.  Industry veterans insist that almost anyone can master the basics of software coding.

Source: cnn.com

Date: Nov 28, 2011

“Coding is going to be the literacy of the 21st Century, and we think we have the easiest way to do it,” says co-founder Zach Sims.

After working with a variety of startups in business development roles, Sims, who is 21, dropped out of Columbia to focus on his own venture. He teamed with Ryan Bubinski, 22, who graduated from Columbia with a degree in computer science and biophysics — and, more importantly, an extensive knowledge of programming.

Codecademy isn’t the first site out there to teach people programming skills, but Sims says its secret sauce is its focus on making training accessible and affordable.

“It’s totally different from books that are one-way learning experiences,” he says. “We think it should be more interactive, more fun than something in a book, where you read for half an hour and then you go code.”

Right now, everything on Codecademy is free. Users receive badges and points for completing lessons. The site currently has four multi-part courses available — a “coding 101” class and three JavaScript trainers — but it hopes to ramp up quickly.     READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you think this business model for training programmers will work?

2.  What is this firm’s competitive advantage? Is it sustainable long term?

3 Responses to “Codecademy says it can turn anyone into a Web programmer”

  1. Nathan Jensen

    I think this idea might work in the early stages of developing programmers. I feel that for someone to really excel as a computer engineer or a programmer they will have to end up having direct lessons from an individual. The business model seems to work for now but the concept is still in its premature stages. It does appear to help give people a base knowledge and understanding of what programming consists of. I do however think there is not much future in real education using this model. The firm really has a competitive advantage in its costs, it’s free. To get actual interactive lessons, it is rare for it to be free. Another advantage of the model they have in place is the convenience factor of it being available to anyone that can access the internet. They don’t need to have an instructor or go to a school they have the ability to do it from the convenience of their own home. I really can’t see this being sustainable for a long term. It just doesn’t sound like it would be possible for someone to really excel at becoming a programmer through the use of this interactive plan.

  2. Moire Hogg

    This is a very interesting business model and the way they have started is clever. Provide an effective product that many people are generally intimidated by but interested in, make it easy to use and FREE. At some point there might be a cost for the course, but if the course itself is evolving and popular, people will pay for it, or at least pay for additional courses if the first one’s are free and are working for the customer. Income does not have to come solely from the customer/user. Already they have secured a sizable amount of funding from well recognized companies in the industry. In addition, revenue is often generated from advertising on web sites. With already over 4 million students learning from the site advertising revenue should be simple to obtain.

    Their competitive advantage is the ease of use and the cost for users/students. While there are other companies providing a similar product, the number of companies is low providing Codecadamy with a head start in gaining strong market share. The alliances they have created already also give them and advantage. Having access to funds and other resources from these relationships will no doubt help the company to grow and maintain a healthy market share in a relatively new on-line service.

    While this is a sustainable model, it will be important for the company to expand the product offered. There are many computer languages that can be incorporated into this business model. Besides learning computer codes, there is potential to take this model and apply it to learning popular software, thus expanding with a variety of products/services for customers.

  3. Mark

    I believe this strategy to teach people how to build code will be an effective technique. It will be a good way to motivate people to progress at writing code for a couple of reasons: First, the fact that this service is free will be appealing to many people. Second, an interactive program makes it inticing to learn. For example, learning to type can be painful and boring for some people, there have been many programs developed that teach you to type while making it a fun experience with little rewards as you progress through the different levels.

    This model of learning programming has me intrigued. When and if my schedule permits I would like to visit this website and give it a try. Who knows, I may be able to put this extra skil down on my resume one day.

    The downside of their business plan is the revenue aspect – there isn`t one. I can see this being a success as a funded program, but heavy awareness and positive rapport of this product will have to be acheived before a price can be put on the product, in that high revenue streams would be the goal.

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