Providing Advanced IT Automation Training for Global IT Professionals
Carving a distinctive niche in varied arenas, women of contemporary times are vivaciously thriving. We spoke with Rituparna Mukherjee, the founder of a Bangalore based training institute, providing training services for the last 3 years to a worldwide customer base spanning the USA, UK, Rest of Europe, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Australia.
Study9 is an internet-based training institute for IT professionals. They are specialized in providing project-oriented training over web conferencing systems. DevOps, BigData, Artificial Intelligence Cloud Computing and Machine Learning are some of the learning paths they offer. Apart from online training, they also have a vast library of self-paced video training that one can purchase along with an included support service of 10 hours, which means if you don’t understand from video, you can sit with the trainer who created the video for 10 sessions of each being of 1 hr. duration.
This is a unique and quite distinctive offering in the market of online training. They provide classroom training for B2B customers at their site or office spaces. In a short period since their inception, they have managed to bag contracts from prestigious companies like TCS, Oracle, HCL, IDRBT (Established by Reserve Bank Of India), TIBCO, etc.
Although they focus primarily on web-based training services delivery, they also have the infrastructure readiness for delivering large B2B corporate training in any corner of the globe, by leveraging their existing partnership with a global office space provider company. Corporates which wish to take training in a third party location with all necessary facilities, highly appreciate the value of this arrangement.
Starting from a humble beginning of being a teacher, Rituparna Mukherjee has been successful in building a stable business over last 3 years. We interviewed her and put across a few questions to understand her journey and viewpoints based on her experience.
Q: IT Training is a competitive industry. Business Connect readers would like to understand how do you think you have been able to stay ahead in such competition?
RM: It is more about carving a niche rather than leading the competition in our case. Normally, online training services have a very high rate of student drop-offs. But, Study9 falls in the category of probably one of the very few institutes with the highest rates of course completions, owing to our unique engagement model in class.
First of all, we strategically maintain small batches where a trainer can provide dedicated focus to students in a completely interactive mode.
Second, unlike many of our competitors, we don’t believe in muting our students unnecessarily when the lecture is going on. The classes happen in a conversational mode where the trainer shares his/her experience and expertise and students can share their doubts and unique situations, which they are facing in their respective job roles. For that matter, we advise our trainers to treat our students like their colleagues with equal respect.
Third, we ask our trainers to use the laptop of the students to teach the topics rather than showing some presentation or practical on the trainer’s own system. The trainer logs into their systems draw diagrams and animations on their system to explain complex IT concepts, hand holds the student in setting up the environment on their laptop, where the student does all the lab work by himself/herself while the trainer guides the student through appropriate steps.
This is vastly different from the approach opted by many of our competitors. In other places, trainers show PPTs and lab work on the trainer’s own system and students are left to follow all by themselves when they want to do the same. Our approach instead makes the student more confident about the subject at the end of the class, due to the fact that they have done the whole thing themselves on their own familiar system.
Fourth, we understand that sometimes the student may not have adequate hardware to do the lab on their systems. We in those cases, enable them with cloud-based labs.
Fifth, we don’t hide our trainers from direct access by students. Even before joining the class, we arrange demo sessions and discussions while sharing the direct contact of our trainer. The students get connected to the trainer on calls and WhatsApp even if they don’t register for the course. We don’t micromanage their relationship. This results in not only good quality learning but a relationship beyond the course between the student and a knowledgeable trainer.
Finally, to really keep Study9 ahead in the game, we constantly upgrade our curriculums every 3 months to match the constantly changing technology trends in the market. Students once registered for a course can always return to learn the new topics added.
We also have a strong focus on Open Source technologies. Our goal is to create a vendor-agnostic robust platform for online learning of open source technologies in various domains.
Q: So you just said that you constantly evolve your courses every 3 months to match the trends in the market. Do you have a research team focused on making these continuous upgrades?
RM: Well it’s not easy, but it is the only way to stay relevant and one step ahead in the competition. We prepare ourselves constantly and do forward planning proactively. So, when people come to us with their learning requirements, we are ready to fulfill the demand. It’s critical to pace up with the evolving technological landscape.
Most importantly, when people trust us that we are one of the fast movers in cutting edge technology domain, then it’s our responsibility to fulfill their expectations. Especially, in EdTech, it is essential to constantly analyze and improve qualities to match customer expectation always. Discovering new verticals which are having the potential to stay ahead of the competition. For example, the future of DevOps is DevopsSecOps.
The more you automate, the more it is important to secure the automation. So, by realizing this puts us ahead in the industry, we are ready with our DevSecOps training course before most of our competitors. Entrepreneurs are innovators and creators. And I always believe innovation is a process not an event.
We are constantly evolving out learning delivery mechanism, by increasing the intuitiveness and better interaction options between students and trainers. We are working on leveraging more AI technologies for making the learning experience even better.
Q: That sounds really interesting. We congratulate you on being such a technology-focused entrepreneur. Can you tell us your thoughts on the participation of women in entrepreneurship?
RM: Women are natural negotiators. In most cases, especially in India women are the best home managers and negotiators. So in every situation be it at grocery stores or suppliers, they inherently mastered this skill of negotiations. When it comes to winning a deal, they effortlessly succeed.
Q: So final question, what are your future plans from here?
RM: In a very short period of time, we have been able to gain the trust of large multinational companies and government organizations to become their training partner of choice. We have also been considered as
one of the top big data training institutes in Bangalore by The Higher Education Magazine.
We are now focusing more on customer experiences. Education is changing. These days customers prefer online training more than traditional classroom training. But, still, somewhere inside they want to get that traditional classroom feeling. We are trying to bridge that gap by involving various hardware and software tools that will lead to more effective learning.
We are also trying to expand our footprint through local marketing in different parts of India. Many cities are simply unaware of these online training services, and the people in these cities are unable to upgrade their skills due to a lack of quality offline training options in their cities. We wish to reach out to such people and enable them with the knowledge of this option to get skilled through online training.
People around the world are taking training from us, but we believe India itself is a big untapped market for online training. With the advent of low-cost fast internet, this is not even as hard to get into as it used to be 5 years back. Internet penetration is growing exponentially in India. We are working on focused marketing to make people think of upgrading skills over the Internet.
Recently, we have also started looking into building a physical presence in other countries of strategical location advantages.
We are only 3 years old and growing at a stable healthy pace to occupy a better place of employment as well. After all, we encourage a humane culture where customers, partners, and employees are treated with equal respect.
Her message to the Readers of Business Connect:
“I have learned many things by reading tips from magazines such as Business Connect.If I may add, my one such suggestion would be for wannabe entrepreneurs. If you have some idea in mind, don’t just keep it to yourself. Try as soon as possible to launch a business with that idea.
Even if it fails, you will learn from it and correct the mistake in your next venture. You just keep trying, and one day, one such venture will suddenly become well-received by your targeted customer bases. And, you will then suddenly have a real business. But all that will happen when you get out to the real market with your idea, instead of just pondering over the idea. So start fast, fail fast, recover fast, and start fresh again.”