Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2016

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Fa l l 2 0 1 6 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 31 By Ellen Lee T wo years ago, in one of the worst downpours that season, Kim Me- rino was lifting a tread- mill out of a UPS truck and delivering it to a customer. It wasn't what she wanted to do. What Merino wanted to do was land a job in the tech industry. Merino, who is Latina, had moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the hope of joining its tech scene. ough she had taught computer science at a Los Angeles high school for eight years, she didn't have a computer science degree, and she couldn't find the kind of job she wanted. So she took the plunge—and enrolled in an intense 12-week coding bootcamp, Telegraph Academy in Berkeley, California, which was established in 2015 with a mission to increase the number of underrepre- sented people of color in the technology industry. One of the school's first graduates, Me- rino is now a software engineer at Accen- ture, a consulting firm. Her job challenges her daily—and she loves it. "I would not be where I am today without Telegraph Academy," she says. Tackling Tech's Diversity Problem Computing jobs represent one of the fastest-growing sectors in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and one that is known to pay especially well, too. But the tech industry has a diversity problem. Only about 30 percent of employees at tech companies such as Google and Facebook are women. About 5 percent are African American or Hispanic. Women of color are the small- est cohort, and face twice the barriers. Coding bootcamps have emerged as one way for women and people of color to get in the door. Schools like Telegraph Acad- emy, Hackbright Academy, and Ada Developers Acad- emy have a two-fold mis- sion: to train software engineers and to add more women and people of color to the tech workforce. Other coding bootcamps, such as General Assembly and Dev Bootcamp, offer scholarships to encourage those from under- represented communities to apply. It's in the tech industry's best interest to employ more than just young, white men: a 2016 study sponsored by Intel found that the industry could generate an additional $470 billion to $570 billion in value by having staff and leadership that fully represents race and gender. To that end, more than 30 tech compa- nies, including Airbnb, Pinterest, and GoDaddy, pledged in June to take a series of steps to diversify their workforce. ey have their work cut out for them, from removing bias to providing a supportive work environment for women and mi- norities. at's where coding bootcamps come in. ey have become a helpful tool in the companies' recruiting and hiring strategy. Tech companies such as Ama- zon, Facebook, and Uber have sponsored scholarships, hosted interns, provided mentors, and recruited graduates. "Tech companies are trying to figure out a way to wel- come more people of color," says Albrey Brown, cofounder of Telegraph Academy. "We're at the inter- section of that." e numbers so far are small: most bootcamps only graduate a few dozen students at a time. But their results have been impressive. All of Telegraph Acad- emy's 2015 graduates, for example, were hired for tech jobs and increased their salary, some even doubling what they had made before, says Brown. More than 350 students have graduated from Hack- bright Academy, a coding bootcamp for Coding bootcamps are one way to address the industry's poor record We Mean Business > Take the Lead THINKSTOCKPHOTOS

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