" />
Business

Is this the start of more diversity in tech?

Is this the start of more diversity in tech?

It’s been a tumultuous time for the tech industry’s “progressive” image. For an industry that prides itself on being “disruptive” it has consistently fallen down on the topic of diversity.

But with Tesla´s recent announcement of the addition of Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice to their board earlier this week, and Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, being toppled amid allegations of systemic sexism, and the recent boom in female and minority participation in high school AP computer science exams make it appear change might finally be on its way.

Read More: As startups look to empower more women, Europe’s 1st female accelerator looks for candidates

Hold up! what was that last part about high school? The news comes from Code.org, a nonprofit that’s been hard at work promoting diversity in tech. They introduced a new Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course and accompanying AP exam in 2016, as an alternative to the traditional programming focused AP Exam.

Instead of a narrow coding focus, the course explores big data, cybersecurity, networking, and app development. The broader focused topics stimulated a huge boost of enrollment in targeted student demographics: a 135% increase in female participation and a 170% increase in ethnic minority participation.

“The traditional AP exam is if you want to become a coder,” Hadi Partovi, CEO of Code.org, told Mashable. “The new exam is if you want to become a well-educated, well-rounded person.” Though excited by the success, the company admits there is still work to be done, but they’re optimistic that the increased participation at the high school level will not be isolated to the AP courses, but will stimulate increased diversity throughout university studies and into the workforce.

Off the back of such success they’re planning to expand the program and have trained 60,000 teachers to introduce the new course in their class from kindergarten to grade 8. “As these students move to high school, we hope many of them will continue their interests in computer science,” the organisation said in their Medium post.

Earlier this year Google released the predictable results of its diversity report, with no tech giant’s numbers falling in a particularly different pattern. Which prompted Dan Lyons, author of “Disrupted” and a former producer and writer for HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” to tell CNBC that diversity in tech wouldn’t be fixed until it affected the companies’ bottom line.

These comments came ten days after Kalanick was forced to resign, which may have been the inception of clarity Silicon Valley needed.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business
@benjijamesallen

Ben Allen is a traveller, a millennial and a Brit. He worked in the London startup world for a while but really prefers commenting on it than working in it. He has huge faith in the tech industry and enjoys talking and writing about the social issues inherent in its development. Find him on Twitter @benjijamesallen

More in Business

bitcoin users

Britain’s spy agency says it is monitoring Bitcoin to find out about risks

Mathew Di SalvoDecember 12, 2017
virtual reality doctor

VR is shifting how we experience anxiety, surgery, pain, and games

Lisa ShipleyDecember 8, 2017

How to Grow Your Business in 2018

Boris DzhingarovDecember 8, 2017
ticket scalping

Ticket scalping and the pain of true music fans

Kwinten WoutersDecember 8, 2017
AI, Musk, neuralink, healthtech, neurotechnology

Nexeon’s neurotechnology in the fight against our aging bodies

Ben AllenDecember 7, 2017
stock image startup

Swedish stock image startup Pickit enters US market with new office today

Tim HinchliffeDecember 7, 2017
portugal startups

Espacio media incubator acquires Portugal Startups to highlight region’s ecosystem

Sam Brake GuiaDecember 7, 2017
the sociable microsoft

Microsoft Technical Communications Director Joins The Sociable Advisory Board

Tim HinchliffeDecember 5, 2017
incubate buenos aires

IncuBAte calls on startups worldwide to come thrive in Buenos Aires

Tim HinchliffeDecember 1, 2017