Shweta Doshi: Hands-on & High-Tech – The Future of Education in India
Hi again, I’m Spiffy, Interplanetary journalist. I love learning by experience, that’s part of why I travel the galaxy reporting on entrepreneurial heroes! My next interviewee is one of those heroes who helps people get hands-on experience in tech! Meet
SPIFFY: Hi Shweta, thank you for meeting with me today! Tell me, what challenge does GreyAtom address?
Shweta: The emerging technology space is changing at a rapid pace and what our education institutes teach is completely out of alignment to the skills industry needs.
We are bridging this gap with our job-ready programs in AI, Data Science, machine learning, and full-stack web development.
Each learner's journey starts on our homegrown learning platform GLabs, which provides hands-on coding experience with realtime code evaluation, live mentorship, access to a huge peer community, and brings them to a large network of hiring partners - all at an affordable cost for a vast majority of our programs.
SPIFFY: And who are your students?
Shweta: We cater to a large spectrum of learners - from mid-career professionals to freshers.
Our “Pay when you get a Job” programs are oriented towards bright talent from across the countries, beyond the big cities - they are accessible to learners from smaller towns and villages who do not get the right exposure and opportunities. We help them aim for high paying jobs at some of the best companies in the country.
In summary, GreyAtom makes it possible to connect great talent to great jobs!
Shweta receiving the award for EdTech at SheSparks 2018. Courtesy of Shweta Doshi
SPIFFY: You’re exposing people to cutting edge technologies for the first time, but you’ve worked with tech your whole career – What experience motivated you to do this?
Shweta: The idea stemmed from our own previous experience while hiring people for emerging technologies. People lack hands-on experience when starting off a tech career. Traditional educational institutes haven’t been able to modify their curriculum so as to impart relevant skill sets to students and lack experiential learning methodology.
We strongly believe that pure online, self-paced learning doesn’t work. So we devised a hybrid – there is a balanced mix of online learning and offline community interactions, and that works the best!
SPIFFY: How are you using these programs to make a more equitable world?
Shweta: Our programs have been able to elevate the lives of families whose annual incomes have been less than INR 1 lakh per year (~$1,338 USD) - taking it to over 5 lakhs. Our learners have been able to get back from sabbaticals, post their maternity breaks, and award themselves a gift of new careers. It gives us immense pleasure when learners are able to find long term careers with our programs. Folks who never coded up in their lives before are now leading Data Science teams. 87% of GreyAtom learners, who put in the effort with an aim to pivot/kick off careers have been able to do so.
SPIFFY: The pandemic has pushed educators to new places, have you reached any milestones as a result?
Shweta: We recently partnered with AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and opened up a lot of our programs on our platform for free during COVID times for students across all colleges in India. With the colleges shut across the country - we had more than 150,000 learners sign up to these programs and get started with early steps to AI education and skills of future work. A new class of practitioners is needed to navigate this new future. Our free programs are a great starting point.
I also recently wrote a book Art of Solving Business Problems - The Data Science Way.
SPIFFY: How have you dealt with failure in your journey? Are there any instances where you’ve had to learn from it?
Shweta: Failure has been a constant on the startup journey for the past 3 years. I like to think about failure as learning what not to do the next time.
It’s hard to single out one instance of failure - but it has been in smaller aspects of entrepreneurship – when I doubted myself or did not reach out for mentorship early on or did not assert myself enough. I’ve definitely turned wiser over the years and soaked all the learnings for everything that lies ahead.
SPIFFY: What’s something you’ve learned unexpectedly from someone during the pandemic?
Shweta: Since my maternity break - this is the most amount of time I have been spending with my 9-year-old son. He constantly amazes me with his maturity and understanding of things. His singular focus on doing one thing at a time is something the "multi-tasking me" needs to build. I got him a new lego set a few days back. He built it non stop for 3 days - 4 hrs every day - it would break and fall and he would build it again and again - without turning attention to anything else. As Founders, it’s important to keep an eye on the URGENT and IMPORTANT and always prioritize it over everything else. We get carried away by noise a lot of times.
SPIFFY: Kids are always a source of inspiration! Thank you for the interview, Shweta.
For the past 4 years - I’ve been a passionate Tech Educator, first-time entrepreneur, and an accidental Product Owner. An unapologetic idealist, I firmly believe that to gain quality education, we need to transform the way we teach & learn. On this journey - I have discovered my latent affection towards education and some strong perspectives on how it must be done right. I keep sharing my lessons learned throughout my entrepreneurial journey in my blogs. I am also a mother to a 9-year-old Avengers and Lego crazy boy, and I try my best to keep up my energy levels with him.