Google Offers Free Coding Lessons To Women, Minorities

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 06/30/2014 | 11:00 AM EDT

The tech giant seeks to rectify Silicon Valley's diversity problem

The movement to diversify Silicon Valley is way on its way thanks to Google. The tech giant is offering vouchers to any women and minorities interested in learning how to code.



Google is paying for three free months for any women and minorities interested in tech to expand their skills. The offer is part of Google’s $50 million “Made With Code” initiative, which aims to help close the gender gap in tech.


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The search giant corporation released an online application that’s available to women everywhere. Google said that one thousand people will receive free accounts directly, while the unnumbered remainder, estimated to be in the thousands, will be given by referral.


Coding involves the understanding of the transformation of data and computer software. Skills include learning out to build websites, however, schooling is both expensive and time consuming.


An article in USA Today reads:


With the technology sector fueling the U.S. economy, the low rate of participation in high tech also threatens to drive up the unemployment rate for blacks and Hispanics, which is already three times the national average. Computer science jobs are the fastest growing and command the highest salaries. Yet just one in 14 technical employees in Silicon Valley is black or Hispanic.


This new initiative comes just days after Google published a diversity report that revealed only 30 percent of its employees are women, while African-Americans and Hispanics only comprised 1 and 2 percent of Google’s tech employees, respectively.


Google said the current state of its company diversity is “miles from where we want to be.”


At its I/O keynote Wednesday, however, Google said that there were twice as many women in attendance compared to last year.


Google aside, the U.S. Labor Department says only 20 percent of software developers in the U.S. are women, while only 12 percent of computer science degrees today go to women.


Megan Smith, vice president of Google’s X division, said the company’s initiative to encouraging women in tech is all about “debugging inclusion.”


“We shouldn’t feel guilty about our biases,” Smith said. “We should wake up and do something about them.”

 (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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