King County is helping residents who are underrepresented in the technology field explore careers in information technology through a unique one-day training in coding.
Twenty-one King County residents from the Rainier Valley, White Center, and Tukwila/SeaTac areas explored careers in software development and information technology at a free, one-day Coding 101 workshop provided by Code Fellows at WorkSource Renton in January.
All of the participants come from Communities of Opportunity, a program founded by King County and the Seattle Foundation that aims to improve health and well-being in ethnically and geographically diverse communities throughout King County.
The event was the third such workshop provided by Code Fellows. Attendees learned key elements of software development and how websites are built, and then coded web pages using standard industry tools and coding practices. They also received valuable information about free or affordable IT and coding training programs, and WorkForce programs that can assist with career planning, tuition and fees.
You do not need a four-year degree to be a great software or web developer. According to Dan Bernard, WorkSource integration manager for the Communities of Opportunity, some good, intensive training is what is needed.
“We want to give our underrepresented-in-tech populations a taste of coding, and help them become aware of the options available if the field interests them,” said Dan.
Many people may never consider themselves potential coders. “Once people who never thought they could code realize they can, they get interested and some want to continue learning,” added Dan. “They can now envision themselves as developers, and can act on the insights, information, and options we provide them.”
Communities of Opportunity is creating greater health, social, economic and racial equity in King County so that all people thrive and prosper, regardless of race or place. A diverse group attended the Coding 101 workshop. Of the 21 attendees, 48% were women and 71% were people of color. Including 30 participants in the first two workshops, 51 Communities of Opportunity residents have now attended.
The value of the workshop is about $100, which is a very reasonable price for a twelve-hour session that includes meals. Code Fellows and WorkSource share the costs. The first two workshops each followed a Communities of Opportunity Diversity & Inclusion Industry Panel and Resource event focused on Technology Career Opportunities. The third workshop consisted of the Diversity Tech Career Event attendees who remained interested but who could not attend either of the first two Coding 101 offerings. Another career event and coding workshop are in the planning.
Communities of Opportunity is currently receiving applications for a new COO Advisory Board which will guide the implementation of the COO activities and serve in an advisory role for the COO elements of the Best Starts for Kids levy.