Richard Wang: Transforming the Future of Work and Reinventing Education

We live in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where powerful technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Data Science, Bio Science, Virtual Reality and many more are driving the global economy. But while these technologies are becoming indispensable to modern jobs, the traditional education model is failing. Four-year university and college degrees are largely ineffective in equipping students with practical technological skills. As a result, the global economy is inhibited by an under-skilled workforce, poor digital literacy, and underemployment.

This is why Richard Wang, a highly accomplished entrepreneur and a well-respected thought leader in the future of work, firmly believes that traditional education will not work for everyone. He’s on a mission to strengthen digital literacy in the global workforce through effective education that teaches essential, modern technological skills. “Many people feel they have been, or will soon be, left behind by the growing importance of technology in our economy.

Resized_Richard Wang
Richard Wang
Co-Founder & CEO, Coding Dojo

The rapidly changing economy, along with the rising cost of a four-year degree, has made traditional education a less feasible and less effective option—especially for career changers and marginalized communities,” Richard says.

Tracing Richard’s Entrepreneurship Journey

“My experience immigrating to the USA from China when I was a child is foundational to my entrepreneurial journey and motivation to make the digital economy more inclusive,” Richard shares. Growing up, he observed that proficiency in the English language was crucial for success in business. He understood the crucial importance of effective education for individuals as well as society. “My own education at the MIT Sloan School of Management has challenged me to tackle bigger problems, become a better leader, and motivated me to change the world,” he reflects.

Richard founded his first startup THINKBURG, an online coupon platform, soon after college. Although the startup failed, he learned tremendously. He then served at Boeing for six years, holding several respected positions. As he worked, he observed that participating in the 21st century economy, particularly through coding, was a modern ticket to success. Later on, he founded another startup ‘Mentor 2.0’ as a platform to connect mentors with people wanting to advance their careers, skills and interests.  

In mid-2014, Richard joined the world-class technology education company Coding Dojo as a co-founder alongside like-minded entrepreneur Michael Choi. Within two and a half years, Coding Dojo’s team increased revenues by 10X and the enterprise value by 20X. Today, it’s an award-winning organization that has trained more than 5,000 self-sufficient developers at onsite campuses in 10 U. S. cities and via an online program. From single parents and creative professionals to military veterans and political refugees, the Coding Dojo curriculum is transforming many lives through highly focused educational services.

Coding Dojo: The Success Story and Why it Succeeds

Coding Dojo provides an easy, convenient means to learn computer programming—anybody, regardless of their education, industry or background can apply and pick up essential coding skills.

“The challenges we are addressing are workforce development, underemployment, and economic mobility. By offering comprehensive coding bootcamp programs, as well as new programs on emerging technologies such as Data Science, Coding Dojo is addressing the growing skills gap in the workforce,” Richard adds.

Against the backdrop of similar services, Coding Dojo stands out because of the following factors:

Learning Science: Richard and his team have spent years perfecting the learning science behind how Coding Dojo functions. Coding Dojo teaches three full stacks while its competitors teach one. As students learn more stacks, they become more versatile, attracting even more job opportunities.

Career Support: “We work with students to identify their strengths and provide a wide range of career services that not only lands them a job, but also puts them on a path toward their desired career,” Richard says.

Curriculum: “We continually refine our course materials to reflect new or rising technologies and corresponding job demand in our markets,” Richard explains. They’ve designed an advanced and veteran curriculum—effective for both experienced developers as well as beginners. The program is powered by a proprietary Learning Management System, the SkillX platform, that combines data analytics and learner behavior to continually improve the experience.

An Integrated 360° Solution for Upskilling and Reskilling

Coding Dojo invested over six years and millions of dollars to create and refine the SkillX platform. Years of iteration driven by market feedback has yielded a robust educational experience for Coding Dojo’s B2C students and their corporate partners.

SkillX is AI-enabled to provide unmatched insight and management options to Chief Learning Officers or other education-focused professionals. “By using entrance exams and surveys, in tandem with machine learning algorithms, we utilize predictive analytics to identify top performers and/or learners who will need extra assistance before the program even starts,” says Richard. 

Coding Dojo continually updates and iterates SkillX based on programmatic learnings and new technology offerings. Custom machine learning algorithms can be implemented to further boost the platform’s predictive analytics and learning science capabilities.

Today, SkillX is used by organizations ranging from universities and governments to Fortune 100 companies to fully manage and deliver their onboarding, reskilling or upskilling programs, and other educational initiatives.

Personal Values, Professional Lessons and Definition of Success

Apart from a passion to promote effective education globally, Richard has cultivated a personal love for learning. Over the years, he also learnt the importance of co-creation, collaboration, and avoiding flash or knee-jerk judgments in professional contexts.

As an entrepreneur and business leader, Richard has observed that business success boils down to customer success. Within his organization, he asks three key guiding questions to continually improve employee management: (1) Can employees trust me? (2) Do they feel financially, physically and emotionally safe? and, (3) Do they feel I care about them? “You can’t have a world-class company without world-class employees. It’s a challenge to do this in a startup environment when resources are limited, and you must balance investment in your company vs. investment in your people,” he explains.

As an individual, Richard defines personal success as making a difference in the world as well as finding happiness and fulfillment. “I also look outside my organization to make a difference. I regularly identify and pursue opportunities with nonprofits, NGO’s, and other charitable organizations to launch initiatives that increase access and exposure to the tech industry for disadvantaged communities and individuals,” he shares.

Everlasting Support to the Underserved People in the Tech Industry

Richard is wholeheartedly committed to the journey. As a person, he wants to continually strive towards the lifelong process that his friend Dr. Eleni Tousimis always promotes: finding peace and happiness within. He looks forward to helping his community, the company, and the global economy in even bigger ways through creating opportunities for education and economic mobility with underserved communities in the tech industry. “For the company, I look forward to expanding Coding Dojo’s footprint to continually fulfill our mission of transforming lives through programming literacy. Our offerings are unmatched and will help millions of people pursue meaningful employment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he sums up.