You have made the decision to hire tech professionals from diverse cultural, racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds. Congratulations – you should feel good about this decision. Not only will it greatly benefit the creative flow of your team, it will also greatly benefit your local community, as well as the greater community of the tech industry.
You may find yourself wondering as to what channels may be available to you that will allow you more easily to recruit from a more diverse applicant pool. Well, you have come to the right place. This article will help serve as a guide to some excellent tech related nonprofits that serve as an educational incubator for diverse talent. Organizations, like Black Girls Code (BGC) and Code2040, specifically help people of color from traditionally marginalized communities break into the tech industry. They also help those who identify as Black and Latin to overcome statistical roadblocks that might otherwise prevent them from serving in management positions within the technology sector.
In addition to hiring tech talent from diverse cultural, racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds, you should also seriously consider hiring talent from diverse educational backgrounds as well. More aspiring tech professionals today are moving away from obtaining their skills from a four-year university or even a two-year degree program at a community college or technical school. Instead, these emerging tech professionals are learning computer science, data analysis, or software engineering through intensive, short term programs called coding bootcamps.
This emerging avenue in tech education is helping those who are looking to break into their first career centered job. The avenue is also helping seasoned professionals from other industries who are making the switch into tech. Where traditional tech education routes have taken two to four years to complete, coding bootcamps take students from no experience to tech industry programming professionals in less than a year, with most grads finishing their bootcamp in 10 to 24 weeks.
Hiring grads from bootcamps, like those hosted by Kenzie Academy, can help you locate some great tech talent from diverse cultural, racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds, as well as from different age ranges, which will further help you solidify your team’s diversity.
Let’s take a closer look at a couple of organizations that are helping to raise awareness for the need for diversity in the tech industry.
Black Girls Code
Black Girls Code (BGC) is on a serious mission to provide programming training to one million African American girls in the sixth to twelfth grade age range by 2040. This San Francisco organization serves as a community support center for urban communities in the Bay Area as well as seven other cities and US states. Their reach extends beyond the US. BGC is also present in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa.
Through “girls only” hackathons, BGC brings their Motto – Imagine, Build, Create – to life by pairing teams of students aged 12 to 17 with tech industry experts serving as mentors. The teams go head-to-head in app, game, and tool building competitions. These hackathons allow the students to put their coding skills to the test by building software in the languages of Scratch, and Ruby on the Rails that BGC instructors have taught them.
Many of the diverse talents produced by BGC are prime candidates right out of high school ready for the right internships or official coding education like a bootcamp. They could make a great addition to your team.
Mobile App Development
Many of the students who have gotten their start through organizations like BGC have gone on to become mobile app developers, since they already have extensive app development experience through the hackathons they have competed in. As mobile app developers, they create many of the iOS apps we use on our iPhones, through the Xcode development environment, and the primary iOS programming language of Swift.
Many previous students from BGC also build Android-powered apps that Android phone users enjoy. If you are reading this on an Android smartphone, then they may have even built the app you are using to read this article.