November 9

#107 Chris Samiullah – How to Use Project Based Learning to Learn Coding?

Self-Taught, Software Engineering



Chris is a self-taught developer from the UK. His career path has been unusual in that he studied English (undergrad) and went to business school after that. This led to work in consulting which he decided was not for him. After some random work in dental practice acquisitions, he was able to get his first job as a frontend developer. He learned coding on his own through project based learning.

Then he went to China for 3 years, managing teams of developers. During this time he built some noteworthy side-projects such as Digital Grappling (a playable state diagram for martial artists) which had a dedicated but small user-base over four years, and RollTech, a wearable for martial artists which ultimately failed (write up: but sparked an interest in data science.

After returning to London, Chris worked as a developer in fintech, maintaining a loan application pipeline which disburses >$1 billion per year. He then joined one of Europe’s Healthtech unicorns, Babylon Health, where he has grown the flagship Healthcheck app from prototype to over a million users in more than a dozen countries.

Chris is the author of two online courses on machine learning model deployment and testing, and has over 10,000 students:

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A note from Grant

From self taught developer to teaching 10,000+ developers, our guest today has turned a degree in English Literature from York and a Master’s of Science in International Business and Management into a 7+ year in tech as a developer. Over the course of his career, Chris Samiullah has worked in consulting doing dental practice acquisitions, healthcare and fintech, holding down titles like analyst, software engineer, developer, development manager, AI Software Engineer and tech lead.

Chris has also worked globally, spending three years away from his home in the United Kingdom working in China. In addition to his day job, Chris teaches two popular Udemy classes on machine learning with over 10,000 students. 

-Grant Ingersoll


“Project based learning is so important and its definitely been the foundation for me. It has kept me motivated. Early on I had a series of projects, first of which was a choose your own adventure Brazilian jiu jujitsu game/tutorial.”

“For a structuring project learning I would start with something I could realistically do in a day then go on with something I could finish in a weekend. Whenever talking about the self taught route, difficulty calibration is something I talk about a lot. And I feel like its what boot camps are giving you, just in a structured way.”

“I think people want to help others if they feel like they are people who are ready to be helped. So its about demonstrating that you’re ready to be helped. The way I did that was by building all of these projects. It’s not just saying ‘I’m really interested’, but showing it. So I would send them code snippets, I would send them screenshots of what I was building, etc.”

—Chris Samiullah

Additional Resources

Connect with Chris Samiullah

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