In an effort to address both the mounting talent shortage in technology in the state of Washington and gender imbalance in the industry, Ada Developers Academy is launching a free yearlong intensive software developer school in Seattle for women who have no previous programming experience. The classes are not only free, but students can even apply to receive a $1000 per month stipend. But, you better act fast. The deadline for applications is Sept. 30 – just a few days away. The application process includes a technical reading assessment and a logic assessment to gauge aptitude towards the qualities that will lead to better developers. The first group for the ADA program will have 15 women, but future classes may have anywhere from 20-25, with new classes starting every 3 months. At that rate, ADA hopes to graduate between 80 to 100 women each year to pursue positions as software developers in the Seattle area.
ADA's Nuts and Bolts
Ada Developers Academy is a project of Technology Alliance, a statewide non-profit organization that has been around for 17 years. “Technology Alliance is a leadership organization of technology leaders that care about a healthy Washington economy. We work on issues including education and research capacity and entrepreneurial climate,” explains Technology Alliance and ADA Executive Director Susannah Malarkey. The year-long program for women in IT was conceived in just under six months, and with the help of the Ada Developers Academy, both the shortage for high-skilled labor and the gender imbalance in software development will be addressed. Currently, 85 percent of software developers are male, the ADA stated in its press release. Washington State’s Department of Commerce, as well as a handful of local companies, provide funding for the program. Worthy says the program's economic benefits are driving the public contributions. "Seattle has the worst pay gap in the nation," says Worthy. "Women make 73 cents on the dollar that men make, and by giving women alternative opportunities into higher-paying technical roles, that does a lot for Seattle’s economy, as well as social benefits."