Internships are one of the most important ways to gain industry experience as a Computer Science Student. During my final semester, I decided to intern at an Education Technology Startup as a Business Analyst Trainee. The reason behind choosing this particular internship was that the EdTech industry is booming during this pandemic period and I was really curious about the internal workings of the industry and how they are processing the huge amounts of data that is being generated regularly.
One of the perks of working at a startup is that you don’t have a fixed role and you get to work on multiple tasks ranging from interacting with the clients to developing the product to conducting research for new features. During the initial period of the internship, I was asked to analyze school enrolment data for different states in India and the private expenditure in the K12 segment. I was surprised to read the reports concluding that almost half of the school-going population in India is in Private Schools while the total number of private schools in India is not even half of the number of government schools(Fig 1 and Fig 2).
On-time fee collection, Funding, Lack of fee financing options are some of the problems that private schools often face and we wanted to solve this problem by creating a platform that can provide customized fee collection plans to students. My research played a key role for the startup founders to pitch their idea to the investors. Also, the marketing team was efficiently able to utilize the research to target specific states for the platform’s promotion.
In Feb 2021, the startup started working on another idea — an OTT Platform for the education Industry. Many students invest a huge amount of money for using Ed Tech services on yearly basis, and most of the existing EdTech platforms in the market charge a particular fee for enrolling in a specific course. There is an increasing need for online learning platforms in the market. The idea is to provide access to students for the same educational content but on a subscription basis. This will eliminate the need for paying money for every course and the student can have access to a huge amount of learning resources at a reduced price. I was fortunate enough to work closely with both the Business and Development Teams on this idea. We wanted to make sure that we have an ample amount of content for the students to watch before we launch the platform and therefore we started approaching individual teachers and instructors from different domains. I was personally responsible for bringing in around 30 content providers to the platform. We wanted to make sure that we give equal importance to vocational as well as academic courses on the platform(Fig 3 ). It was a fun experience talking to them and explaining to them about the platform and its features. On the other hand, I was working on website development with the technical team. I developed the blog page for the organization individually using React and made it responsive for different screen sizes.
Because the pricing model for students is subscription-based therefore we had to come up with an effective revenue sharing model for the content providers on the platform. We decided to move forward with the pay-per-second model through which revenue generation is dependent on the watch time i.e. the total time spent by the user on a particular video. After deciding on these business requirements, I took the responsibility to research about existing technologies through which required functionalities could be achieved. We wanted to track every second that a user spends on a video and add that to the total watch time. I found that this could be achieved using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. After researching, I started working on implementing and integrating Google Analytics with the existing setup. I believe that this was an extremely efficient use of Google Analytics and the results were very impressive as well.
During my internship, I developed several components of the website which included — creating a course and uploading course content, course view screens, course approval, and rejection screens, content view screens, API integration for various functionalities, Course Enrol screens, Dashboards for the admin and Superadmin(Fig 4), etc. It helped me gain great experience with the MERN stack and specifically the front-end development of a website. I got to know about the best practices of writing clean and reusable code and structuring the whole project. I was also responsible for making sure that all use cases for a component are covered and resolving bugs in different components.
I also helped the business team in deciding the analytics to be shown on Instructor dashboards. We chose — the total watch time on different courses, the total number of unique views, monthly view data, month-to-date revenue, daily revenue, etc (Fig 5) to be shown to the instructors so that we can keep things transparent and build trust.
Another benefit of working at a small startup is that you get to work closely with the founders and experienced professionals and it actually proved to be pretty beneficial for me. I was able to understand the latest technologies being used in the market and I was also able to gain knowledge about the efficiency of existing technologies. I was a part of the whole process, from planning and finalizing business requirements to implementing and developing the features to achieve them. Working with multiple teams also made me understand the importance of communication between different teams. Overall this was a fruitful internship that helped me pave my way to the technology industry.