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New Approach to College Computer Science is Closing Racial, Gender Gaps in Tech

SAN FRANCISCO, May 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CodePath.org today published early outcomes from its free software development courses, which were designed to close equity gaps in tech by providing access to industry-relevant software development education to students outside of the elite institutions where tech employers typically recruit. Women and students of color who complete CodePath.org courses are, according to their data, as likely to land a technical job or internship as their white, male peers.

The brief, released this week at in front of recruiting leaders from companies including Microsoft, Oracle, and Lyft at tech recruiting conference URx, and entitled "Leaving Talent on the Table: Redesigning College Computer Science to Close Diversity Gaps in Tech," included data from the 133 college students who participated in CodePath.org's virtual software engineering course during the summer of 2018. Participating students completed the project-based curriculum and received personalized support from CodePath.org's team of engineer instructors. After completing the course, students were paired with employers for a "virtual career fair," who agreed to interview all matches for potential job or internship placement.

CodePath.org's data suggests that the prestige of a student's college may be a misguided proxy for technical aptitude: students from outside the top-20 engineering schools were just as likely to receive a job or internship offer after their technical interviews as those who attended top-20 schools.

The results also suggest that broadening employers' hiring criteria can create a larger, more diverse talent pipeline. Companies surveyed before participating in the course's virtual career fair said that they were two to three times more likely to move forward with candidates after interviewing them as part of CodePath's program, than if they had come across the resumes during their standard recruiting process.

"Historically, tech employers have recruited from just a tiny subset of elite U.S. colleges, which means that they never even come into contact with a huge wealth of untapped talent," said Michael Ellison, founder and CEO of CodePath.org. "This work is about creating courses that give any student ? whether or not they attend an elite institution, had access to coding training before college, or have connections in the industry ? a fair shot at landing a tech job."

Since 2013, CodePath.org has trained more than 4,000 developers at over 800 technology companies, including Microsoft, Facebook and Airbnb. CodePath collaborates with students and professors to offer in-person, on-campus courses during the academic year, and runs remote-classroom courses during the summer, teaching the technical fundamentals and tools used at the nation's preeminent tech companies.

"For too long, we've assumed that the only talent worth investing in resides at top-ranked computer science departments, which are disproportionately white, male, and wealthy. This practice amplifies the inequalities we see at every step of the educational ladder," Ellison said. "But these outcomes show us that, when companies consider talent from overlooked sources, they like what they see. It's time we invest in talent from all backgrounds, and let them show us what they can accomplish with the right tools." 

To read CodePath.org's full report, visit  https://blog.codepath.org/leaving-talent-on-the-table/.

About CodePath.org

CodePath.org is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit increasing diversity in tech by transforming college computer science education for underrepresented minorities and underserved populations.

SOURCE CodePath.org

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