The tech workforce in the US is not growing at an optimal pace. The number of schools offering computer science is not enough which is impacting the access of computer science to young women and students from marginalized communities.
The truth is that there are over 410,020 open computing jobs in the US but only 71,226 computer science students graduated into the tech workforce last year.
This is because only 47% of public high schools in the US offer computer science which deeply impacts its access to young women and students from marginalized communities.
To address this pressing issue, we have launched #MyStartInTech, a campaign dedicated to drawing attention to this cause and in turn, help widen access to computer science in schools.
As part of this campaign, we present the #MyStartInTech interview series where some of the esteemed tech entrepreneurs and professionals in the industry share details about their journey in tech. With this, we hope to draw attention to the infinite opportunities that will lay open if young women and students are given the opportunity to study computer science.
In this interview, Laura Fernández, CEO and Co-Founder, allWomen, the first campus for Data Science, Product Management, and UX/UI Design for women, by women – talks about how she got her start in the tech world.
Laura is an expert in tech and innovative learning, as well as community building. She also dedicates time to mentoring young entrepreneurs and enjoys curating tech content for brands.
Let’s find out what she has to say!
What is the importance of technology to you now and how does it impact your life?
I think we all see the importance of technology to our daily lives from picking up our phones in the morning to check the news and social media, contacting our friends, doing a guided workout or meditation through an app, or playing some new music while we get ready for work.
Then, of course, there’s all of the technology that helps us facilitate our work-life like team organization and collaboration tools.
Moreover, there’s all the technology that’s built specifically for women like period tracking apps, female-based online communities, and more that support the female experience in meaningful ways. This technology is everywhere and it’s only becoming more inclusive as we make the tech industry more diverse.
How important is it to increase access to computer science and technology to underrepresented communities and young women today?
We know that our world is becoming increasingly more digital; we feel the effects of it every day. But only the people who know how to use these technologies will be able to benefit from the prosperity of them. That means having a leg-up in terms of job opportunities across all sectors as technology increasingly penetrates every industry.
It’s also really important for underrepresented communities and young women to have access to technology and computer science now so that they can help create it in the future.
If not, our algorithms will continue to reflect our biased society by being biased themselves.
Why do you think access to computer literacy in school is important?
Computer literacy from a young age is really important because it sets people up for success. If we allow more people to have access to computers and technology earlier on in life, we’ll see this reflected back in our future technology.
It will be more meaningful and intuitive, built by people who really understand how it works and its potential.
Moreover, the more we give diverse groups of people this opportunity to become computer literate at a younger age, the brighter our technology will be in terms of helping more people in valuable ways.
What do you think about .Tech Domains taking up this cause?
We think this is a super meaningful cause, and we really applaud your mission and your work.
What we say here at allWomen is that it all starts with culture. Our culture tells us that women, particularly women of color, don’t build technology – men do. But if we start changing who has access to technology at a younger age, we believe this culture will change along with it!