Facebook has launched a new portal geared towards women, students and their parents which have traditionally had less exposure to careers in coding as part of the company’s push to increase minorities in technology. TechPrep is also targeted at parents and guardians, and seeks to analogise coding skills with language skills to make the subject of computer science less forbidding and opaque. By opening the field to new eyes and letting people learn at their own pace, a whole new world of opportunities can become available to many who would have otherwise never experienced the chance.
The website resources in English and Spanish to help young people and their parents explore how to get started in computer science, the jobs available to programmers and the skills required to become a programmer. While some people may need an additional boost of help from sites like domycoding.com, having access to a starting point for anyone is an incredible boon that many would have missed out on otherwise.
Facebook commissioned McKinsey & Co to carry out a survey to find out how many parents knew about how to guide their children into the coding sector. The results found that 77% of parents were unsure of how to do this – this figure rose to 83% for non-college graduate parents who were on lower incomes. Another notable finding was that men were five times more likely than women to say that they knew a lot about computer programming.
Educating parents is a critical step in getting more young people into tech. Parents play a key role in encouraging women, Blacks and Hispanics to pursue computer science, the Facebook research found. TechPrep provides games, books, community events to help guide students and parents. Resources are available for all age and skill levels, said Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global director of diversity.