Our event this week brought together a community eager to hear encouraging stories of success from industry leaders who are taking chances, making headway, and blazing trails. With an audience of tech industry representatives, community leaders, and aspiring developers eager for a path into the technology sector, Expedia, Zillow, Substantial, & WTIA offered hope and encouragement to all.
As moderator for the discussion, I had done my homework, spending months attending various networking events and panel discussions around the city. I am blown away by the stamina that Seattle has for mixing and mingling over shared professional interests, especially for a city that embraces its introverted side. When you put people with a shared vision or passion in the same room together, the energy is palpable.
Though they be small (less than 100 employees), they are mighty. Substantial places a high priority on inclusion in tech, and highlighted how “non-traditional candidates” coming from Code Fellows have been great additions to their teams, where communication skills combined with technical agility are key to a client-driven business.
Zillow, the online real-estate database company with a broad customer base, both geographically and ethnically, emphasized the importance of hiring candidates with different perspectives and backgrounds to keep their product relevant to their customers. They recognize the high level of risk taken by not bringing diversity to a company (Pepsi’s latest commercial, anyone?).
Expedia, the largest company represented on the panel, offered great ways companies can re-think the tech hiring process to preserve quality and address bias. As a partner with Code Fellows since 2013 and with 23 of our grads currently contributing to their company, Expedia has made amazing headway, dedicating themselves to diversity and inclusion.
Apprenti, Washington Technology Industry Association
The Washington Technology Industry Association addresses the engineer shortage with the Apprenti Program. It’s a way for companies to create pathways for graduates from code schools to complement existing university recruiting efforts—a vital process for the tech industry to continue to innovate and thrive. Through Apprenti’s registered apprenticeship program, companies can get quality, well-trained, high-potential talent who will help diversify their organizations.
So, where do we go from here? How do we keep the momentum going, especially when there are plenty of roadblocks along the way? We’ll do it by continuing to build community, connect advocates, and push boundaries. A big thank you to Expedia, Zillow, Substantial, and WTIA for being in the trenches with us.