The New York City tech industry is still largely dominated by men, as recent data has shown, but a non-profit in Queens is helping women and minorities get more involved in the programming industry. In addition to bringing more diversity into the New York tech scene, graduates from the program have said that their income has jumped from $US15,000 to $US72,190.
“We saw lots of people in the City University of New York system who graduated as computer science majors but weren’t going into the tech industry,” Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens, the nonprofit behind Access Code, said to Vox. “Why was the not happening? It was a lot of access and network problems, and a lack of technical training. Tech startups don’t think of recruiting at CUNY.”
The 18-week course helps students learn how to code their own iOS apps. Of 21 students, 15 graduates have accepted job offers and have seen their income grown from $US15,000 to $US72,190. The other six students are either still in college or are in the process of creating their own startups, Vox reports.
There’s a lack in diversity within the tech industry, as Access Code’s website acknowledges, but the Queens-based coding school says its inaugural class comes from a versatile background. According to Access Code, women only account for 12% of the developer workforce across the United States. Hispanics and African Americans only comprise seven per cent.
Fifty-seven per cent of Access Code’s first class was made up women, while underrepresented minorities accounted for 52% and immigrants comprised 40%.
Students break up into groups to build applications, and Access Code brings in accomplished entrepreneurs offer expert advice to students. Past speakers include Patrick Moberg, founder of Dots, and Vin Vicanti, co-founder and CEO of Yipit. Apps created in Access Code’s class can currently be found in the iOS App Store, according to Vox, such as the food-themed photo sharing app Shutterchef, password manager BusyBee and dating app Score. The class ran from May through October of last year.
Coalition for Queens is currently trying to raise money to train even more students, and Hsu says that Access Code plans to train 100s students this year and 500 students over the next several years, Vox reports. Coalition for Queens seeks to raise $US1 million, according to The New York Daily News, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has already raised more than $US10,000 toward the cause through Crowd Tilt.