Facebook’s TechPrep Aims to Increase Computer Science Diversity


Facebook, in partnership with McKinsey & Company, has launched TechPrep, an online resources hub aimed at parents in a bid to increase diversity in the Tech industry. The TechPrep hub offers videos, games and in-person sessions to help parents and students understand their career options in computer science and programming.

TechPrep is an online computer programming hub for students and parents and it is particularly aimed at Latino and Black parents because their children are the most underrepresented groups in the tech industry along with women, Recode.net reports.

With this initiative, Facebook wants to create an inclusive tech culture and broaden the pipeline for tech careers for students less likely to be interested in programming. Facebook's partnership with McKinsey & Company has offered valuable insights into the typical programmer's profile, and some of the findings suggest a 5 to 1 ratio regarding the self-confidence men have about their programming knowledge compared to women.

Data from a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company reveal that almost eight in 10 parents have no idea how they could support their children and encourage them to pursue a programming career path, TechCrunch's Megan Rose Dickey writes.

TechPrep meets a parent demand for CS resources that will allow them first to understand why their children should pursue programming careers and then learn how to motivate them to engage in computer science. Apart from tutorials and games, TechPrep also offers books, community events and face-to-face options for parents and learners who want to learn about or engage with computer science, CNET reports.

Increasing computer science awareness in parents will help them encourage their children to consider computer science education. The fact that 42% of Latino students and half of black students believe they are good with computers was a key research finding that led to the birth of TechPrep, Valentina Zarya writes in Fortune.

Facebook is concerned about a lack of diversity in its company, with almost seven in 10 employees being male and more than half of its employees being white. Its 2014 EEO–1 report reveals that 2% of Facebook's workforce is Black and 3% is Latino.

While TechPrep aims to get more Black and Latino students into programming careers, Maxine Williams, Facebook's Global Director of Diversity, says that lack of diversity in the industry is not solely a pipeline issue. Talking to TechCrunch and Megan Rose Dickey, Williams highlighted that there are other issues including unconscious bias that the company tries to reduce through bias training.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said in a statement on TechPrep's focus on parents of minority students that:

"Underrepresented minorities, who by 2050 will comprise more than 50 percent of our population, are disproportionately lost at every transition point in their STEM."

She added that the country cannot afford to lose computer science talent and that combined efforts are necessary to boost tech diversity by targeting the problem at its root.

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