November 9, 2020
We have an exciting announcement! We’re launching a new scholarship to build and support the Black community in tech. The Annie Easley scholarship is a $1000 scholarship awarded to every Codeup student who identifies as Black or African-American. Read on to learn about our commitment to diversifying tech, our support of the Black community, and Annie Easley!
We make an active, ongoing effort to cultivate inclusive growth at Codeup and in the tech field at large. By encouraging diversity in our cohorts, we are contributing to the long-term growth of underrepresented groups in tech when our students join the workforce. We offer need-based Pride, Veteran, Minorities in Tech, and Women in Tech scholarships. While the numbers of female, non-Black minority, and LGBTQIA+ developers are growing, they are still outpacing their Black counterparts. To help support the growth of the Black community in tech, our Annie Easley scholarship is a guaranteed $1,000 to every student who applies for the scholarship and identifies as Black and/or African-American.
In 2018, only 2.7% of professional developers identified as Black. In two years, that number grew by less than 1%. In 2020, only 3.6% of professional developers identify as Black, even though the overall population is 13.4% Black. For some context, 70.7% of developers identify as white.Why do we care? The people building technology should represent the people using technology, and we need to do more to make that happen. Empowering underrepresented developers can increase career opportunities, normalize this career path for rising professionals, and yield more inclusive and equitable technology solutions.
The centuries of racism and the ensuing, long-lasting burdens on the African-American population cannot be undone. We acknowledge that there are built-in hurdles that Black Americans have to overcome that are based on thoughts and ideals resulting from that racism. What we can do is work to level the playing field by softening the financial barrier to entry into tech. Our hope is that a guaranteed scholarship will help facilitate this and open up opportunities.
Annie Easley was one of the first Black employees at NACA (now NASA), where she worked as a human-computer, computer engineer, and rocket scientist from 1955-1989. She wrote the code for the computer program that controls the fuel mixture of the Centaur rocket, which went on to successfully launch several space probes and is still being used today. Additionally, her work on energy conversion systems and alternative energy technology was used to develop the batteries used in modern hybrid vehicles. Easley has also co-authored several papers on nuclear power plants and rocket science.In 1977, she went back to school to get a degree in Mathematics while working full-time, where she raised awareness about NASA and inspired many women and minorities to pursue STEM careers. Later in her career, she helped supervisors address discrimination complaints as an Equal Employment Opportunity counselor, and fought for women’s rights. Modern spaceflight likely wouldn’t be possible without her, and much of what we know about space might still be unknown. Her work has been monumental not only for African-Americans, not only for women, not only for programmers, but for technology as we know it. That is why we’re naming this scholarship and our next Data Science cohort after her.
The technology of tomorrow starts today. If you identify as Black or African-American and would like to help build future technology, start a career as a software developer or data scientist! Click here to apply for Codeup, and here to apply for the Easley Scholarship.AND a special shout out to Shawn Erwin for helping to bring this scholarship to life with the art featured on the image above!