An Indian software icon says kids need not learn coding early

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An Indian software icon says kids need not learn coding early
Zoho/Canva
  • Sridhar Vembu is the founder of India’s one of the biggest software bootstrapped startups, Zoho Corp.
  • Vembu highlighted that he consciously avoided programming and computer science because he did not have any interest in it.
  • Vembu was 26 when he first started coding and founded Zoho at the age of 28.
  • Several startups in India have been pulled up for aggressive marketing campaigns to promote their coding for kids products.
As coding for 6-12 year olds is on a growth trajectory, Indian software icon Sridhar Vembu has emphasised that late blooming is fine too.

Vembu, founder and chief executive (CEO) of India’s one of the biggest software bootstrapped startups, Zoho Corp, highlighted that he consciously avoided programming and computer science — the hottest subjects even back in his days — because he was not interested.

The Padma Shri awardee (India’s fourth highest civilian honour) said that he was 26 when he wrote his first code and it was only by the age of 30 that he had developed deeper thoughts about software.

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Platforms like WhiteHat Jr and later Lido Learning have also been pulled up for creating aggressive marketing campaigns based on the fear of missing out. Later, both the companies redacted the ads.

An Indian software icon says kids need not learn coding early
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Currently, startups working in the segment are Tinker Coders, Camp K12, StayQrious, Coding Ninjas and CodeYoung. Byju’s alone has two such startups in its portfolio — WhiteHat Jr and Toppr that also offers Toppr Codr. It is now in talks to acquire a US-based company Tynker.

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Vembu’s recent statement just adds to the debate that kids should not be pushed into coding at such an early stage. Over the last couple of years, with the advent of startups like Whitehat Jr, an increasing number of parents are pushing kids to learn how to code.

The recent disruptions led by new technology has added to the demand for an early start in learning. However, there are many who believe this fear of missing out may be unwarranted.

Vembu seems to be one of them. He is an influential voice in the technology space ⁠— also member of the National Security Advisory Board led by Ajit Doval ⁠— who founded Zoho Corp when he was about 28 years old. The company is currently in its 25th year of operations and has never raised money from investors despite being profitable.

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Zoho currently has over 50 apps in nearly every major business category, including sales, marketing, customer support, accounting and back office operations. It also offers an array of productivity and collaboration tools.

ALSO WATCH: Sridhar Vembu explains why he is not interested in taking Zoho for an IPO.

The company is headquartered in Chennai in India and has offices in several countries — United States, Japan, China, Singapore, Mexico, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.

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The company claims to have more than 60 million users around the world, across hundreds of thousands of companies. It employs over 9,000 individuals.

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