UNFAIR TECH? NOT REALLY

Jesse Jackson Claims Tech Unfair to Minorities

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Jesse Jackson is angry? At what?

According to a USA Today report, Jesse Jackson has called on the Obama administration this week, to take a look at what he claims is a lack of diversity in the tech industry. Statistics do seem to bear this out. It seems that there are a relative few minorities currently employed in the fast-growing tech sector. Recent numbers show that Whites and Asians make up 88% – 91% of tech sector jobs, particularly in programming. As we reported previously in our post “Mom Always Said”, the best jobs today are in tech, not a doctor or lawyer like mom used to say. So the question is, is it unfair that a majority of tech jobs are filled with non-minorities?

The bigger question is, are there enough qualified minority job applicants coming out of universities? If not, what can be done about it? Companies that need to hire qualified programmers cannot simply hire based on race.

Code logoThe truth is, many of the biggest players in tech have already realized this is an issue, and they have taken enormous steps toward fostering STEM (Science / Technology / Engineering / Math) education already. Google, Apple, Facebook and a number of other major players have all contributed heavily to Code.org, an organization fostering the education of computer programming and app development to schools nationwide. Schools, parents and individual students can make full use of a comprehensive set of online tools to teach and learn code. The best thing is, the entire program of instruction is FREE! What more can you ask for? All that people need to do is be inspired to use it. That’s where Mr. Jackson could come in. Any student in America has totally free access to a computer at either their local library or right in their own school. So, there’s literally nothing stopping anyone from getting started in this field.

This past school year, the tech industry promoted The Hour of Code” by trying to inspire schools to teach at least one introductory hour of code. Again, the entire program is laid out in full, with videos and sample instruction.

The Hour of Code

Video Courtesy: Code.org

With Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and so many others inspiring students to learn, it’s just a simple matter of teachers and parents helping to teach their kids. There is no better career to enter right now than that of an App Developer.

Mark Zuckerberg and Many Other Tech Titans Have Made it Super Easy for Kids to Learn Code

Mark Zuckerberg and many other tech titans have made it very easy for kids to learn code.

If we take a look at other professional fields, Jesse Jackson’s argument seems a bit less convincing. An online post by National Public Radio sheds light on some interesting statistics. Taking a look at the medical field, statistics show that although 1 in 8 Americans are African American, only 1 in 15 doctors is. Thats 6.6%, well below the minority figure in technology, of 9%-12%. The fact that the tech sector at large is tackling the issue is a great thing. Obviously, the more Americans, of all races, that can be employed in technology fields, the better.

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Jesse Jackson might want to encourage kids and parents.

It’s fine that Mr. Jackson is trumpeting the issue, but what if he were to help spearhead a campaign geared towards minority parents and kids to get them excited about learning code. Really all he has to do is use his notoriety to direct parents to get their kids to check out code.org and all of the other existing resources. There is really no need for the government to get involved and use taxpayer dollars for this. Code.org is being directly funded by the very tech companies that need to keep on hiring. The site lays out an entire program of instruction for schools and non-profit groups to follow.

Mr. Jackson, the resources are already in place. It’s time to use your voice to direct people to those resources. Instead of stating a problem and immediately turning to government for the answer, how about opening your eyes to the resources right in front of you? Jesse Jackson, you are in a unique position to start a grassroots movement to get parents to inspire their kids to learn code. Use your voice!

A quick look at Code.org, and you will see that pretty much any group can form a non-profit and begin utilizing their free resources to teach students. There is so much opportunity available for the taking by anyone with enough will to take advantage of it. All that kids need is a little bit of direction and a bit of a push.

Introduction to The Hour of Code

Video Courtesy: Code.org

It’s definitely possible for a young student to fully teach themselves code. As we reported in our piece, “16 Year Old App Developer”, a young person, with a lot of determination, can learn code and become proficient enough to actually earn some serious money.

If you missed our video interview, take a look now:

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