This is, frankly, a shocking pace — taking you from complete newbie to a capable professional programmer in just ten weeks is nothing short of breakneck. And the best part about this initiative? It’s for women, to give them a place to learn without stereotype threat or brogrammer culture stifling them.
Amidst all the arguments about “brogrammer” culture and the presence of women in Silicon Valley, here’s a company that’s actively working to change things, albeit on a small scale (for now) — Hackbright Academy, which describes itself as “a 10 week training program designed to help women become awesome programmers.”
The academy just graduated its 16-person second class (that’s a photo of graduation day to the left). Graduation comes shortly after career day, so it’s probably too early to talk about how many of the recent graduates actually get jobs, but co-founder David J. Phillips (who also co-founded location startup Banjo) shared some earlier data. Eight out of 12 students in Hackbright’s first class, were looking for immediate employment, he said, and all eight of them got offers from companies like New Relic, Survey Monkey, Cisco, and Bump.
Turning someone into a professional programmer in less than three months seems awfully ambitious, and Phillips acknowledged that there’s been some skepticism among recruiters. On the other hand, the stats above suggest that the program is working. It helps that Hackbright students usually aren’t starting from scratch, but have instead developed their initial skills using Codecademy or by attending development workshops. After all, Phillips said, Hackbright is for people who are serious about programming as a profession, and you can’t decide that you’re serious until you’ve tried it out.
This is a brilliant idea, and though they’ve only gotten two classes through so far, it seems to be a worthwhile endeavour. I look forward to seeing more results from this. And I only hope that this erodes the brogrammer culture, proving once and for all that the best way to fix an environment toxic to a certain class of person, created by another class of person, is to put them on equal footing from the get-go. The “meritocracy” so vaunted by those in power will suddenly work against them and become a REAL meritocracy. Almost by magic.
Okay, it’s not as simple as that, but a boy can dream.