When companies inundate the public with ads claiming to turn their kids into the next Steve Jobs and the next Sundar Pichai, it’s expected that some people would want to check them up on their claims. And if a viral video is to be believed, WhiteHat Jr hasn’t exactly come out with flying colours.
The parent then asks the instructor to explain what a “high-programming level language is” — Java is a high-level programming language — but the instructor then admits that she doesn’t know what it means. The instructor also appears to have not heard of popular code repository GitHub.
We wrote to WhiteHat Jr for a comment on the video, but haven’t received a specific response.
WhiteHat Jr has run an extremely aggressive advertising campaign in recent weeks. Some of its ads show young kids, trained through its coding classes, get salaries of Rs. 15 crore per year at Google. Other ads tell parents that after attending their coding classes, their kids will become the next Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Yet another ad shows a group of people fighting outside a couple’s house. It later turns out that they are investors who are fighting to be able to invest in the app their kid has developed. WhiteHat Jr’s marketing campaign was so egregious that five of its ads were taken down last week after complaints to the Advertising Standards Council of India.
Somewhat surprisingly, WhiteHat Jr doesn’t require people applying to become its instructors to have any prior coding knowledge. The instructors are put through a training module, and can then go ahead and teach coding to young children. WhiteHat Jr’s website clearly says that its instructors aren’t required to have any prior teaching experience. “No resume required,” its website tells prospective instructors, adding that “no previous experience in teaching is required.”
While it could hypothetically be possible to teach very young kids the basics of coding without knowing any coding yourself, but this doesn’t seem to have gone down well among users on social media. The video of the instructor struggling to answer coding questions has gone viral, and spawned a variety of responses.
Some people marveled how someone who clearly knew nothing about programming could teach others, even if they were young children. “I am not into coding but JAVA mein C++ I mean what ?? I am not criticising her but at least these should be having a basic knowledge of what’s gonna be taught,” wrote a Twitter user.
Other users hinted that the video showed how the company was spending more money on ads than on hiring high-quality instructors.
Soon people started sharing memes about the company.
WhiteHat Jr is one of the hottest startups to have come out of the coronavirus pandemic. Founded in 2018, the company was acquired in August by Byju’s for Rs. 2250 crore after having raised only around Rs. 80 crore from investors. WhiteHat Jr is one of those rare Indian startups that makes serious money — when it was acquired, it was generating an annualized run rate of $150 million. But even as the company has expanded at a breathtaking pace, as the viral video shows, it appears that some users aren’t exactly thrilled with its services.