Making Progress in the Tech Industry with Code for Progress

The tech industry is frequently hailed as beacon for the national economy. Politicians, pundits, and business leaders celebrate this sector for its ability to create value by developing new and innovative ideas to shake up established industries and build a more interconnected world. Of course, while it does have a great many reasons to be proud, there are a number of problems that the tech industry needs to address if it is to be the city on a hill–or rather, city in a valley–that people hold it up to be.
Diversity, or a lack of it, is one of the greatest issues facing today’s tech industry. In fact, at the largest tech companies in the world, only seven percent of employees were African-American, only eight percent were Hispanic or Latino, and barely one-third were women, and these figures dropped perilously lower for leadership positions. Silicon Valley’s homogeneity spells trouble for the tech industry and the nation because tech companies miss out on the benefits of having a staff that brings a wide range of expertise, backgrounds, and perspectives to the table, but also because it makes jobs in one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy less accessible to women and people of color.
Silicon Valley needs to become more open if it’s to continue its meteoric rise. Thankfully, there are already a number of organizations that are committed to making that change happen. Code for Progress, for example, is an organization that I’m proud to support because of its work in this space. Code for Progress is a nonprofit that strives to help women and people of color enter the coding workforce via education, training, and support. They offer two fellowships–one focusing on back-end web development and one focusing on front-end web development–that include a five month residency in Washington, D.C. for skills training and a seven month post-residency where they help connect participants with internships.
Beyond helping them to find employment, Code for Progress empowers its fellows to support social change in their communities. Alumni of the program take their tech skills back to their communities, where they’ve tackled issues like immigration, mass incarceration, and more. It’s efforts like these that will help to make the tech industry and the nation as a whole a much more inclusive space.
For more information, visit Code for Progress’ website!