Facebook has launched a website called TechPrep for encouraging young population and their parents, especially from under-represented minorities, to adopt programming and computer science as a career option. It aims to increase the diversity in tech workforce and meet the demand of programmers in the future which it estimates to be around 1 million by 2020.
Rather than teaching coding directly, TechPrep will just act as a hub of different resources like tutorials, videos, games, books, in-person opportunities and community events to help learners and their parents to guide their kids to computer science and programming. The website is offered in English and Spanish and guides people according to their age, background and experience, on how to begin programming; skills required to become a computer programmer and the types of jobs and salaries available to programmers.
It outlines various benefits of pursuing a programming career such as flexibility to work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection and an average annual starting salary of $62,000 which is 15% higher than the annual median US household income of $54,000.It also includes profiles of real people pursuing these careers.
The website is created by Facebook and supported by research from the consulting firm McKinsey on the participation of underrepresented minorities in programming careers. According to the research, despite their under-representation in the tech community, Black and Hispanic learners are more confident about their own potential as computer programmers as 50% of Blacks and 42% of Hispanics said that they would be good at working with computers, compared to 35% of Whites and 35% of Asians.
However, they do not find right guidance from their parents and guidance as 77% of parents said that they did not know how to help their child pursue computer science. This percentage increased to approximately 83% for lower income and non-college graduate parents or guardians.
We’re losing whole generations of people who could be guided into these really lucrative, engaging, satisfying careers. Parents and guardians are influential figures in students’ lives.
By exposing people to computer science and programming and guiding them to the resources they need to get started, we hope to reduce some of the barriers that block potential from meeting opportunity.
Facebook Global Director of Diversity Maxine Williams said in a blog post.
On Facebook’s efforts to increase diversity in tech population, Williams also wrote in the blog post about the role of diversity in fulfilling Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world.
Cognitive diversity matters because bringing together people of different characteristics enables us to build better products that serve nearly 1.5 billion people around the world.