Jobs in the tech sector are getting more and more coveted these days thanks to them paying more and offering more stability in a challenging economy.
However, there’s a glaring lack of diversity in this job sector with Black and Latino people only making up a minute fraction of its workforce. That’s bound to change soon though as coding academies work to debug the diversity gap in the tech industry.
At the forefront of this movement is All Star Code, a nonprofit organization focused on offering learning opportunities for young men of color who want to code. It currently runs a summer program that imparts coding skills and networking guidance to selected applicants.
All Star Code’s executive director Danny Rojas believes that minorities shouldn’t just be consumers of new technology but also be the creators of it. Thus, he finds it important to provide people of color with skills and access to the tech sector at a young age.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black people only make up 6% of all software and web developers despite them being 12% of the nation’s entire workforce. Meanwhile, Latinos only make up 5% of software and web developers even though they are 18% of the U.S. workforce.
Data also show that 77% of the founders of startups funded by venture capital firms are white.
Djassi Julien is among the many graduates of a coding boot camp sponsored by All Star Code. Now a software engineer at Google, he credits the program for sparking his interest in computer science.
He said that before All Star Code the topic was a concept that was totally foreign to him. Thankfully, the coding program opened his eyes to the power that tech has.
Julien participated in the program at 15. During the six-week boot camp, he and his classmates were tasked to recreate their favorite iPhone apps.
The experience proved to be an empowering one for him, especially the process of completing a project from concept to the final product.
The skills that programs like All Star Code’s impart isn’t limited to young people who enter the tech industry.
For example, Charley Moore, one of the few Black CEOs in the tech industry, uses his tech skills in the field of law. He is the founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer, a company that provides online legal services to small businesses.
Moore, who is a former corporate attorney, even says that being a computer scientist can make one a better physician or lawyer.