Beginning January 11, 2016, I will be the Dean of the newest coding bootcamp in NYC: Grace Hopper Academy -- an immersive programming school for women with no upfront tuition cost. Grace Hopper Academy will join the likes of Hackbright Academy and Ada Developers Academy as one of the few programs in the nation educating women specifically to increase female participation in tech.
From a young age, women receive less encouragement to enter technology fields. Media portrayals of women in law, medicine, and business, are ubiquitous, but they are rarely depicted in computer science (paradoxically, the field was initially filled with women, such as Grace Hopper). We want to correct this and convince women that a career in tech is not only attainable, but desirable.
We also want to ease any qualms that women may have about a career change and the associated financial costs. As such, Grace Hopper Academy will be the first women’s coding school to practice a deferred tuition payment model -- students will not pay for the program until after securing employment. This aligns our success with our students’ and allows bright and driven women to attend Grace Hopper Academy without the stressor of impending debt.
Community and Mentorship
Launching an all-women school increases the number of options available to women. While many prefer to learn in a co-ed setting, learning in a community of women will be attractive to a segment of aspiring engineers. This model has been successfully used by women’s colleges that have graduated countless leaders who still speak fondly of the environment that nurtured their prolific development.
As I alluded to earlier, part of what prevents women from entering tech fields is the lack of visibility of women in tech leadership roles. When conceptualizing Grace Hopper Academy, we placed a large emphasis on mentorship and inspiration. This is why successful women in technology will feature prominently in our program, which is just the beginning. Using our extensive network, we will create a tight-knit community of women helping women to succeed, innovate, and write beautiful code.
Academics and Network: Fullstack Academy
Candidates considering Grace Hopper Academy should know that we have a wealth of experience with the developer job market and that we will be there for our students throughout their job search process. Fullstack Academy boasts a placement rate of 97%, and its graduates have assumed roles at premier companies such as Venmo, Dropbox, and Google. As its partner school, we expect similar outcomes for the students of Grace Hopper Academy.
I would personally like to welcome interested candidates to learn more about Grace Hopper Academy on our website, reach out with questions, and consider applying for our inaugural cohort, beginning January 11, 2016.
I will end by saying that Grace Hopper Academy will have a measurable impact on the number of women in developer positions in NYC and nationwide, but it is not, in any way, a complete solution to the tech gender gap. For that, there needs to be a systemic change in the culture and leadership of tech companies, as well as a societal shift that guides girls and young women toward STEM hobbies and careers. There is no instant fix, but Grace Hopper Academy offers a starting point.