Published: 24th October 2017
Baabtra, a Kozhikode based start-up provides college graduates with a platform that helps them get job ready
Baabtra, derived from an urdu word that means 'door'attempts to open doors for aspiring programmers
Mohammad Harris and Anoop K C are no strangers to the working of big companies. Having spent their early 20s working for Bengaluru's biggest ones, they dreamt of creating one of their own. And it seemed like an unattainable dream when they went their separate ways until they both quit their jobs and came back to the town where it all started, Kozhikode. From there, the question was about what they could do differently.
After roping in three more members — Deepak K C, Monish Mohan and Ijas Ali, they set up a registered company in 2010. Initially, the idea was to build an average start-up. With hundreds of product ideas, the team wanted to develop software for other companies. However, by this point, they had delved too deep into the business world to go on without addressing what they perceived as its biggest weakness.
"There were no skills or endurable resources in sight," says Deepak K C, "The Malabar region has a huge pool of talent, but they all find work abroad, leaving the local industry dry of any creativity. We realised that starting a company would mean adding to this dysfunctional system. So we decided to address it." When M T Vasudevan Nair inaugurated their office in Mukkam on January 2011, the company was called Baabtra, derived from the word ‘door’ in Urdu. And the idea was to open doors for aspiring programmers.
"Companies, big or small, are not able to employ students fresh out of college as they do not possess the necessary skills. As a result, students end up without jobs and end up being desperate." explains Deepak, "The solution is not to source talent from outside, but to provide students with a platform where they can access the information that can help them succeed in their various fields. This is what Baabtra does."
The company provides mentoring and training services in software technology programmes like .NET, PHP, Android, Python, Java and so on
Today, the company has set up an office in HiLITE Business Park, where they take in about 100 students for their three-month-long training programme. They employ unorthodox methods to teach students the basic tenets of coding and programming that will be useful within any organisation. The team has also built a software that allows students to log in and perform various tasks and exercises in association with professional engineers and companies to get a practical idea of what is required of the average engineering job. They have also partnered with a number of colleges to help spread these newly-devised methods among educational institutions at the basic level.
"Students join our programme after finishing B Com or graduating from engineering. I think that there is a growing understanding among students that joining the workforce requires more knowledge than they are taught at school," Deepak explains. In fact, many students have confessed that they have learnt more in those three months than through other courses that span over four years.
Job Ready: Baabtra wanted to address the problem of few resources and limited skill sets
The team is currently working on introducing their education software through an online platform so that students will be able to learn from the comfort of their own homes and simultaneously with their college education. Recently, they have also introduced Cybersquare, a school-level education programme to inculcate 21st-century technical skills to children starting from class V. A CSR programme that they’ve devised to provide the same education to underprivileged children in government schools has also been approved.
"Here, students only develop an interest towards their future when they fail their first job interview. This is not a skill set that should come out of fear, it's one that they should actively absorb through their education," Deepak says. "At the same time, companies are also very satisfied because we have been able to solve a major issue that they had to deal with when they were scouting for talent. We have been able to make small changes and generating more job openings is a small but relevant step towards a vision that we all share for our youth."