Ramana Telidevara,CEO Most engineering graduates in our country do not have the needed computer programming skills in spite of having it in their curriculum. Programming is like swimming. One extra moment under the water in those first few minutes and panic ensues. It makes a lasting impact on the students, creating a subconscious fear that manifests as "hey, programming is difficult". The traditional pedagogy for programming at most of our engineering colleges focuses on chalkboard and less on learning by doing. "You don't learn swimming or playing a mridangam on a blackboard and so with coding", says Ramana Telidevara, quickly adding with his trademark smile, "perhaps, mridangam you can on a blackboard, but definitely not with a chalk!" The words ring very true.

In their many years in the industry working on some of the bests and firsts of software products, working at companies like Pramati Technologies, PartyGaming, Amazon, co-founding other companies along the way, Ramana and Ravi, witnessed the potential of fresh graduates in programming, no matter their background, once they get past their fears. They are afraid of facing any new coding problem because of their college years where programming was learnt by rote. Ramana and Ravi remain hopeful to make a change and make aspiring engineers better programmers, giving the Indian IT industry no excuse to not hire from the colleges in the hinterlands.

Using Learner Centric Model
Ramana spent years investigating the root causes, taking on many cohorts of students, teaching them and proving that they can be just as skilful and employable, as those from any reputed colleges. His students from those cohorts are today placed at many reputed companies. He himself has
hired most of his engineering team from this group.

"With over 100,000 students and 200 daily classes, CodeTantra is now a prime choice for engineering colleges and universities across India"

As students at BITS Pilani, Ramana and his co-founder Ravi Sekhar Chilmakuri, were earning money churning out commercial software. He asserts, "All these young, impressionable minds with an amazing potential to be brilliant programmers! Just make coding interesting and engaging to learn, and see what a difference it makes!" CodeTantra's cloud-based interactive teaching and learning platform, iTL, as Ramana calls it, embodies all his learnings from teaching students first hand and interacting with numerous reputed professors and professionals. With an engaging, highly interactive and a strictly-no-passive-video, programming content, where the learners learn by doing, CodeTantra has been making major in-roads with the universities and colleges across India.

"It was a really tough sell, initially. Well, it still is, but is slowly getting easier, to get colleges to adopt this new blended approach. Most of our partner colleges today do not have distinct lab periods from theory periods. Their classroom is the lab and vice-versa. Our game like interactive animated code walk-throughs are a hot-sell with both teachers and students alike," adds Ramana. Having partners and customers such as NIT Warangal, IIIT Guwahati, IIIT Kurnool, Lovely Professional University and PSG iTech is helping in no small measure. The director of IIIT Guwahati and former director of IIT Guwahati, a former head of Computer Science department at IIT Kanpur and a venerated computer science professor of the country, Prof. Gautam Barua, personally acknowledged the initiatives taken by CodeTantra to drive towards 100 percent programming literacy.

Marching Ahead with Spectacular Ideas
CodeTantra's success did not come overnight. While the company was registered in 2014
as a private limited company, it spent the better part of the initial three years researching learning techniques, teaching methods, outcome focused education and social impacts of skilling. The very first client, Raghu Engineering College, Vishakhapatnam, that used CodeTantra's unique platform to impart coding lessons as part of their curriculum, signed up in the middle of 2017. Prof. S. Sadagopan, founder director, IIIT Bangalore connected CodeTantra to Vidya Vardhaka Sangha in Mysore, who ended up as their third client in early 2018. From these humble beginnings, CodeTantra has now become a prime choice for engineering colleges and universities across India, with over 100,000 students and 200 daily classes.

With its auto-evaluation tools, CodeTantra makes it easy for students to learn programming with instant feedback and even easier for the lecturers to stay on top of the learning progress of all students. The adaptive learning models, very flexible course structures cater to all categories of curriculums and blended teaching methods. Colleges such as PSG iTech in Coimbatore, Sri Shakti Institute of Engineering & Technology in Coimbatore, Christ University in Bangalore, Malla Reddy Group in Hyderabad have also been leveraging CodeTantra's assessment platform for qualitatively assessing and training up their students for campus interviews.

With exciting expansion plans into new market segments and new product lines, CodeTantra is one hot digital learning start-up to watch out for.

Ramana Telidevara, CEO
Graduates from BITS Pilani, Ramana and Ravi started CodeTantra. With 2 decades of industry experience each, working for companies such as Pramati, PartyGaming and Amazon, working on some of the toughest technical problems, they now bring their immense experience to building and operating India's largest cloud-based interactive Teaching and Learning platform
Top 10 Most Promising Digital Learning Portals - 2019