In spite of its robustness and continuous growth, the tech industry still lacks diversity. According to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), women only make up 28% of all computing roles in America as of 2016. Of this figure, only 5% of them were Asian women, while black and Hispanic women accounted for 3% and 1% respectively. These figures not only illustrate the huge gender gap, but also the lack of inclusion in the tech scene.
The small pool of bright female techies is also the most vulnerable group in times of uncertainty. As a result of the pandemic, for instance, women in tech are 1.6 times more likely to be laid off or furloughed than their male colleagues, according to U.S. tech review site Trust Radius in its report. This is because a huge portion of them are still holding entry-level positions or shorter tenures, which means they are the first to go when a company decides to downsize.
“Now that I have been laid off, I am essentially in charge of all education for my children, but I also need to continue to look for work and try to figure out how to freelance in the event that I can’t find a new role,” said a female respondent who was laid off, as quoted by the same report.
On top of that, there are other challenges that prevent women from making their marks in the tech industry. The Women of Silicon Roundabout 2018 found that 25% of the participants cited issues with career development and progression while the same percentage said they struggled with confidence and visibility.
However, all hope is not lost. Today, women’s participation in the tech industry is gradually becoming the subject on everyone’s lips. More and more companies are putting in the efforts to level the playing field and providing resources that can create a welcoming environment for female techies. Tech giant IBM, for example, offers a formal mentoring program that is currently benefiting 92% of its female employees.
As the awareness for inclusion continues to spread, education providers are also going the extra mile to provide the necessary support for female tech enthusiasts—Sabio Coding Bootcamp being one of them.
How Sabio Can Help Women Find Their Place in Tech
One of the oldest coding bootcamps in America, Sabio came to inception in 2013 with only one goal in mind: to train the next generation of top-tier software engineers—regardless of gender, background, and age. It was established by social entrepreneur Liliana Aide Monge and tech veteran Gregorio Rojas.
“Together, we created a unique training program that caters toward a diverse population, and that also really made sure when you graduated, you’re a professional. Seven years later, we have an 80% success rate and we have helped approximately 800 people become professional software developers,” Mrs. Monge said in The CEO Story Podcast.
The duo, who met and bonded over community works in college, understood the importance of strong support in nurturing talents. This can be seen in the tight-knit spirit that is fostered by the school. That is also why women—a minority in the tech industry—are given additional reinforcements at Sabio Coding Bootcamp.
“We are all too familiar with the fact that women do not enter tech majors in college, and instead tend to major in social sciences. A lesser-known fact is that a gender pay gap also exists. Because of the lower wages that women are paid after graduating from college, they have fewer savings that can be used to train for tech jobs.
“This poses an additional financial burden on women that might want to participate in a coding bootcamp, since they may have fewer financial resources to pull from to pay for tuition, a laptop, and or living expenses for the duration of the coding program,” the school said.
This has prompted Sabio to come up with innovative programs and funding sources to ensure female students can feel empowered as they take the first step towards an industry that still struggles with inclusion. It is also important to note that the success of these initiatives is reflected in the outcomes; 75% of its graduates are either Latino or African American and 40% are women—10% higher than the industry average.
Let’s take a look at some of the support available at Sabio and how aspiring female software engineers can benefit from them.
Weekly Women Code Meetup
The school hosts a unique weekly session dubbed Women Code at its Culver City location. It is an avenue for women of all ages to learn to code in a supportive environment. The meetups are led by renowned industry experts who can help fellow females start their tech journey. Sabio has also successfully raffled off laptops for the meetups with the help of its alumni.
A full stack developer from Los Angeles, Selva Miranda, is one of the female leaders who has conducted the weekly meetup sessions. The tech expert has always had a strong passion for community development, having majored in education and worked with non-profit previously.
“The best thing about this is meeting all these different women; some fresh out of school, some in their 50s, and even career changers. Women should attend just to learn and figure out what coding is. I had no idea what coding was in the beginning and I thought it was for geniuses or people who are good at maths. In all honesty, that is not the truth,” she said.
Find out more about Sabio’s events and meetup sessions here.
Women in Tech Scholarship Fund
The school’s mission statement is to increase the number of women and people of color that participated in the innovation economy. Sabio has established a robust Women in Tech Scholarship Fund to ensure that females who are interested in pursuing a tech career have the access to financial resources if needed. The applicants will only need to demonstrate a financial need for tuition assistance, laptop assistance, or living expenses.
Sabio said this initiative is aimed at not only encouraging more female participation in the field but also empower those who would otherwise lack the resources to achieve their dreams. In 2018 alone, Sabio gave out over $100,000 in scholarships for women and those who are unemployed and underemployed. Click here to apply.
Women Veterans in Tech
This initiative has one clear goal: get women vets the key resources they need to establish a lucrative career in tech. WomenVetsInTech is a platform dedicated to active duty or transitioning service members and veterans who could use a little guidance to break into tech. The website explains the career paths that they can explore, alongside other details to help them get their foot in the door.
“Our site is filled with tons of resources such as different road maps you could take based on your own personal interests, time frame, and financial resources. And speaking of finances, it also has information on our many scholarships geared towards female vets.
“Serving your country is an extremely important and invaluable journey to take, and for your next phase we aim to provide you a streamlined and easy process to help you succeed.”
Tech Speaker Series
This is one of the newer initiatives by the school which gives a platform to successful tech veterans to give advice and start discussions on industry-related topics.
The series has featured several female tech leaders in the likes of Jane Sorkin (Owner and Founder of Intentional Kreatice) and Nicole Klein Stone (Senior Software Engineer-iOS at Amazon Web Services), among others. Female techies will be able to gain more insights into the industry based on the experiences of these industry professionals. More details about the series are available on Sabio’s Facebook page.
With various support and reinforcements available to female students, many have found success by enrolling in Sabio. In this article, we will be highlighting a few graduates but there are more interesting stories to gain inspiration from at Women Code blog.
From a Mom to a .NET developer
Saemi was a full-time mother for three years. With a major in Japanese and a strong interest in mathematics, a career in tech seemed unlikely. Like any other mother, her priorities lie in her family and although she wanted to contribute to her baby’s future financially, she could not afford to spend two more years in school. Following discussions with her husband and recommendation from a veteran friend, she decided to try coding bootcamp.
“I went so far as to go to another orientation for a bootcamp in San Diego. But it wasn’t even close to as legitimate as Sabio. They didn’t seem to have a clear set of programs. That’s what struck me about Sabio when I went to their InfoSession hosted by Liliana Monge (Sabio’s co-founder and CEO.) It was all very professional. I was especially struck by the PreWork course, where you got to prepare before actually getting into the cohort. I really liked that, it wasn’t like starting from scratch,” she said.
Now a .NET Developer at Booz Allen Hamilton, Saemi said she has Sabio to thank. She also attributed her achievement to the supportive and diverse members of her cohort, and the highly experienced instructors.
“Sabio provides you with such a wealth of knowledge. The interviewers I met with gave me a lot of credit for learning all the different languages which was completely Sabio’s doing. My workplace is so similar to Sabio as well, we have daily stand-ups and the whole process of how we get things done is the same.”
One piece of advice she has for fellow females who want to follow in her steps is: “It’s definitely a challenge and not easy. But you have to remember that you’re not the only one going through this. There are amazing instructors who are going to help you and also the cohort members will be there to support you. Never let yourself get discouraged.”
Former Navy Launches Tech Career
Jessica left the Navy after eight years in the service and was looking for jobs that could potentially be remote. Like many of us, she was unsure which career path to pursue—until a recruiter friend recommended web development.
“I really warmed up to the idea, I liked that with web development you are constantly challenged to make things work. As soon as I got started, I knew I would never be bored and that this was it.”
Jessica said after doing her research on coding bootcamps, she was immediately drawn to Sabio simply because first, it was the only school in California that accepted the GI Bill, and second, the instructor-led learning model.
“My instructor Victor Campos was great. He wouldn’t give you an answer to a question, he would give you a direction. It was more telling you how to solve your own problems, where to look for the solution. Which, in this field to me, is more valuable because I understand that I’m going to need to find these solutions myself. Being taught where to look and how to search things out has helped me more.“
Now, Jessica is happy at her new role as Junior Software Engineer and RMIS. She added that she treasures the connections that she has made at Sabio the most.
“That’s what’s so awesome about Sabio, there are so many people still willing to help you. I still talk to my instructor, he was my job reference, and I keep in touch with some of the people that were in the cohort after and before me. We had a really great group, the people that I met there are wonderful.”
Elevate Your Career With Sabio
It is high time that the female workforce stands on an equal footing in the tech industry and this revolution starts with you. Join the likes of Saemi, Jessica, and other successful females in penetrating the tech world by taking the first step with Sabio today. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and discover how you, too, can realize your true potential and find success in this thriving sector.