Techrise is a coding boot camp and an initiative that teaches young people to code and help them learn a set of marketable skills that will enable them to write web applications. Techrise was set up six months ago to bridge the gap between educational opportunities and an individual’s competency.
In conversation with Republica, Takehiro Mouri and Natsuko Robyn Shinozaki, the Japanese founders, share the reason behind establishing the company in Nepal, the challenges and prospects of IT worldwide.
Why did you choose Nepal for your project?
Natsuko Robyn Shinozaki: I first came to Nepal four years ago and loved the people I met, and that’s why I decided to came back. I then decided to stay for a couple of months and that was when the earthquake happened. Nepalis helped me a lot during that experience and that is why I wanted to give something back. I realized there are young, talented people here and wanted to support them.
Takehiro Mouri: I went through an intensive training program that are often called coding bootcamps. It’s very expensive, usually around $4000-$18,000 to participate. But the idea was that in three months you can become a professional developer and start earning money. I joined the coding boot camps and I had really good results. Years later, as we always thought we wanted to do something in Nepal, and so this project like a coding boot camp would be a good place to start.
What are the applications that you teach to the students?
How long is the course?
It depends on the students. One of our fastest students has finished it within three weeks. For others, it usually takes around 2-4 months.
Do your students get opportunities for internships and job placements?
Yes, we do. We have about seven people who have completed the course relatively fast; they usually spend 3-5 hours everyday practicing on their own. So, we select the people who are motivated to join our internship program. Our ‘Fellowship program’ enables students to work on outsourcing and other internal projects. We also try to pair some of them with external organizations.
Who teaches all the courses?
Our courses are all online. We wrote the curriculum but it’s not like a teacher is going to teach the student, it’s more where the student goes through the curriculum. It’s designed that way so as to become a programmer the learner must learn things on his/her own. As the technology changes every year, maybe every month, the learner must be able to self-learn the material and students can’t really rely on teachers to learn everything.
But at the same time it’s really tough to just self-learn everything and that’s why we provide mentors. Anytime students have questions, they can ask us online, or ask on Skype, or come to our office.
What is your take on Nepal’s IT market?
We think a lot of people are really talented, and they are willing to work hard. But everyone wants to go abroad.
Are the students here any different compared to other countries?
We don’t see much difference in terms of the potential that the students have. In the US there are more opportunities to start learning from a younger age, but ultimately we think that what matters is a passion to learn.
What are your future plans here in Nepal?
The people that we are working with right now are the ones that put in a lot of time and effort into learning coding, so we definitely want to nurture them, and develop them into top talents in Nepal.
And also for other students that are going through the curriculum right now, we want them to really dive into coding, and make them start enjoy coding, and hopefully become top talents too. In the long term, we don’t want to limit our projects only to Nepal.