I met Moksh Jawa (W, E ‘21) on a Saturday afternoon right after his meeting with his teammates from HCMG–391 on Healthcare Entrepreneurship. Though he knew nothing about health care prior to enrolling in the course and didn’t have to take the class for any requirements, he was simply interested in learning more about the industry. He said, “Everyone else in the class is very experienced in healthcare. For me, it’s more about getting some experience on something that I didn’t know about.”

Exploring the unknown has probably been a life motto for Moksh, who is also an opinion columnist for The Daily Pennsylvanian. Growing up in the Bay Area, Moksh was immersed in the Silicon–Valley tech environment from a very young age. However, back then, he knew nothing about coding. His parents didn’t work in tech, and his high school didn’t offer a course. However, ninth grader Moksh Jawa wasn’t deterred. “I thought, ‘Facebook headquarters is 30 minutes from where I’m sitting right now. There’s no way that there isn’t a computer science class here,’” Moksh said. 

He began to learn computer science by himself, and in the spring of his freshman year, he took the AP test and got a five. When asked about the reasons he decided to learn it himself, Moksh said, “I was very self–motivated because when I heard all of my friends whose parents were engineers talking about computer science and were really excited about it, I felt a little bit left out.”

A heavy portion of Moksh’s self–taught coding knowledge relied on watching random YouTube videos. In the summer after he passed the AP test, he had an epiphany. “There were a lot of friends who were in the same boat as me.” Moksh said, “I’m sure a lot of my friends would be able to figure it out too.” He began to help some of his peers in coding the following year, teaching them four days a week at hour–long sessions and even including quizzes in his classes. 

Initially, Moksh had 30 students. But after one month, the number dropped to 15, and then over next month, he only had seven left. “Those days in high school, especially in the Bay Area, everyone thinks about curing cancer, getting a 4.0 GPA, or eight hours of sleep.” Moksh said, “There are so many expectations that it’s really hard to just take a course for the fun of taking the course.”

Moksh wanted to develop a better way to approach students who might have an interest in studying computer science. He decided to make cold calls to different tech companies and ask them for suggestions and thoughts on his project. He knocked on many doors, and Udemy, a start–up that offers catalogs of online educational courses, expressed interest and ultimately helped him create the course.

Moksh’s online courses have been largely successful. So far, he has 20,000 students online and each student spends 10 hours total on learning the materials. “It started just teaching a few friends through word of mouth.” Moksh said, “I guess a lot of people liked the way I explained concepts and relate to it a lot.”

After receiving a lot of positive feedback on his online course, Moksh decided to write a textbook from the perspective of a high schooler. After nine months of preparation, the book was released on Amazon. 3,000 copies have been sold and used by almost 50 computer science classes across nation.

Moksh, however, didn’t decide to stop there after coming to Penn. A second edition of the textbook will be released at the end of this year with updated practice tests and better content.

As a current student in MKTG–101, Moksh is thinking about expanding the branding of his textbook by collaborating with other students to write a textbook in their specialties, such as biology or art history. Every textbook will be written by a high schooler for another high schooler, which is the key differentiator that distinguishes this textbook.

According to Moksh, the value of coding is how it can be applied to solve other problems. Though he’s not sure about which industry he will go into after graduation, he’s interested in creating and maintaining a long–term project. “One thing led to another and I ended up doing it,” Moksh said. “People told me it’s so hard to keep up what you did in high school once you’re in college, but I’ve been continuing it a lot more than I thought. And I really enjoy it.”