SINGAPORE (Aug 17): Up until two years ago, Felicia Chua was a self-professed “tech idiot”. She refused to install the latest iOS updates on her iPhone as she feared it would cause her device to crash.
Her accountancy degree from Nanyang Technological University did not train her to code, much less to teach coding. Chua, a former tax consultant at Deloitte, picked up those skills on her own through sites such as Coursera and Code Academy.
By late 2016, she had become proficient enough to make a business out of teaching coding. Together with long-time friend Jasmine Tang, a former banker who trained as an aeronautical engineer, they opened Coding Garage.
Today, the school has more than 2,000 students, ranging from five to 69 years old. To date, it has taught some 4,000 students. The school offers introductory courses to pre-school students as well as full-scale coding classes for working professionals.
The company rebranded to Empire Code in June, and now serves as an umbrella company to three distinct entities for education, research and development (R&D) and philanthropy: Empire Code Education, Empire Code Launchpad and Empire Code Loves Back.
Tang, who has a more solid technical foundation, handles all R&D for curriculum development under the Launchpad unit. Chua, on the other hand, formulates and develops the courses, which take between 60 and 100 hours to build. Empire Code now offers nine courses with varying price points and complexity.
In a bid to grow its revenue more quickly, the company has licensed the courses to franchisees and institutions across the region.
Read the full interview with Felicia Chua, co-founder and head of education at Empire Code, in The Edge Singapore Issue 844 (week of Aug 20) Empire Code aims to launch new application, expand via franchisees, which is available at newsstands today.