Diversity and inclusion is constantly on the forefront of corporate discussions and there’s a clear reason why: it’s absolutely essential to business success. This fact has become widely accepted over past years and more and more companies are putting lots of time, money, and resources into researching diversity and inclusion.
On a general level, companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion benefit from:
Improved innovation and creativity: diversifying your workforce means that you’ll have employees from different cultures, backgrounds, education, and religions--and all of these people will bring their own experiences to the table, elevating perspectives that may have been ignored previously.
Better results: with diverse voices at the table, companies will benefit from reaching diverse populations, expanding their customer base and reaching entirely new groups of users.
A wider applicant pool: more and more candidates are prioritizing companies with both strong diversity and inclusion policies and a diverse workforce, meaning companies that are truly diverse will see more applicants.
A better workplace environment: workers that feel safe, appreciated, and valued at work are proven to be better workers, reaching higher productivity and efficiency levels. Companies that highlight diversity and inclusion procedures are also less likely to spend resources on resolving issues that stem from a lack of diversity.
Sounds great, right? While the aforementioned benefits seem awesome, it’s important to recognize the systemic issues from which a lack of diversity stems. Solving diversity issues isn’t as simple as hiring more women or people of color; it starts with identifying systemic issues and truly committing to resolving them:
Throughout history, minorities and underrepresented communities have had less access to education, leading to a block towards jobs that require a certain level of education. And for those who work long hours or more than one job, taking time off to study can be an impossible task.
Education is expensive and as we know that generally speaking, underrepresented communities have less access to educational funds, pursuing a lucrative field isn’t always an option.
The infamous glass ceiling does exist, meaning that certain demographics are limited in their professional progress. This leads to a severe lack of diversity in leadership roles and less role models for these underrepresented people to see themselves in.
Non-diverse workforces typically have more problems with inclusion, making inappropriate or even hostile jokes or comments at the expense of underrepresented groups. This leads to an unhealthy work environment and less probability that minorities who are there will continue to work there.
These problems are systemic and rooted in years of racism, homophobia, and sexism, but diversity and inclusion efforts that are specifically designed to combat them can make a change.
Diversity in Tech
Unfortunately, the tech industry isn’t known for being the most diverse sector. In fact, here’s a few shocking statistics:
83% of tech executives are white
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that there are half as many African Americans and Hispanics in tech than in the private sector
Despite making up more than half of the global workforce, women only make up 25% of tech workers and 11% of tech leadership roles
67% of European women in technology feel underpaid compared to their male counterparts
57% of women in tech, compared to 36% of men, feel work-related burnout
Only 10% of women in tech work on a team with a female majority
These statistics are shocking, we know. And while some of those systemic issues and figures may seem impossibly high and unchangeable, working towards increased diversity in tech is extremely important:
The majority of tech companies work to improve an aspect of human life or meet a need; when only one group is represented at the table, the solutions tend to only meet that specific group’s needs. As more and more diverse experiences join the conversation, products will reach new audiences and help more people.
Lots of tech solutions are the result of hours and hours of creativity and innovation. But a bunch of people with the same background and experiences will lack that differentiating factor and may not be able to harness the right amount of creativity to solve the problem. When we introduce diverse voices, however, new ideas flourish and familiarity is left behind.
It’s hard to look at a leadership board or the voices of a company and see no one with whom you identify and then decide to get into that field. As we mentioned above, systemic issues are rooted in years and years of discrimination and take even more time to be undone; companies that start prioritizing diversity and inclusion now will elevate underrepresented groups that will serve as mentors, inspiration, and role models for younger generations and encourage that diversity to continue over time.
There is one major way in which tech is becoming more inclusive for all: bootcamps.
Tech Bootcamps Help Diversity Efforts
If you re-read our list of systemic issues in tech, you’ll find one thing in common: a lack of opportunity for underrepresented groups, be it to physically attend class, be treated fairly at work, have role models, or afford education. And here’s where bootcamps come into play, along with skills-based hiring.
What is a bootcamp?
Bootcamps are short, carefully designed courses that have a specific goal in mind: preparing you to enter the workforce as a professional in your chosen field. Typically taking place over the course of a few weeks or months, bootcamps are offered in a wide range of subjects but have become increasingly prevalent in the tech sector, an area that is growing incredibly fast.
Tech bootcamps focus on one specific area, such as UX/UI design, web development, cybersecurity, or data analysis, and teach students the exact tools they need to land an entry-level role. Many also offer career services to help propel students’ career changes, boasting interview practice, CV and portfolio review, and career development opportunities.
The differentiating factor of bootcamps is, without a doubt, their ability to provide anyone the chance to switch careers and join the lucrative field of tech through being flexible, financially-accessible, diverse, and focusing on skills-based hiring.
Bootcamps are flexible
Lots of people are limited by their current situations and, in particular, women are unfairly tasked with the majority of household duties, childcare, and family responsibilities. Since traditional educational options are usually quite time-demanding, not flexible, and require years of study, this has severely limited the options of those who have other responsibilities.
Bootcamps, however, typically offer lots of flexibility. Need to take the bootcamp remotely from your home so that you can watch your children? Or do you need to keep working your full-time job while taking your bootcamp? Bootcamps that offer part-time and remote options while still providing you with the same educational and career opportunities are a huge part of making this education more accessible to everyone.
Bootcamps are constantly updated
Tech moves so fast and is constantly requiring new skills, but that’s not the only thing that’s constantly changing. Bootcamps are known for teaching the most cutting-edge and up-to-date technologies and while this does mean that they’ll prepare you to enter the workforce, it also means that you’ll be right on top of addressing new issues.
As the world and society as a whole places more of a focus on diversity and inclusion, the problems that minorities and underrepresented communities face are coming to the forefront. This means that when the next problem arises, bootcamp students will be right there, ready to find a solution and make the tech community a more accessible place.
Bootcamps are financially accessible
Traditional, four-year university courses are expensive. Even one year classes or online certifications can also come with a hefty price tag that makes it an impossible choice. Bootcamps, on the other hand, are typically much more affordable, offering scholarships, government grants, or financing options to those who need assistance. The ability to choose a part-time course and continue working while studying also allows you to keep your day job or other responsibilities while studying, reducing the financial burden.
And since bootcamps are so set on preparing you to enter the workforce in the shortest possible time, many offer attractive financial options such as income share agreements, where you only begin paying off your bootcamp once you’ve landed a job that meets the minimum salary requirements.
Bootcamps promote skills-based hiring
Technology is advancing rapidly and it’s an unfortunate fact that traditional forms of education are typically outdated or take so long to complete that once you are done, there’s an entirely new set of tools and technologies that companies demand. To combat this increasing skills gap in tech, even the world’s top companies are turning to skills-based hiring practices.
Instead of focusing on someone’s college degree or where they went to school, skills-based hiring looks at exactly that: the skills of the person. By eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming degrees and instead making the skills a person has a priority, companies are both able to widen their applicant pool and accept underrepresented applications, in addition to hiring workers who have the skills they need.
Bootcamps are diverse
The three aforementioned points all help support one important point: bootcamps are more accessible, providing increased opportunities to underrepresented communities and minorities. And this is where the change in tech starts; as more and more underrepresented communities and minorities enter the tech sector, newer generations of future techies will see people who look and identify like them in their chosen field and in leadership roles, meaning they’ll be more likely to also follow that path.
By being flexible about time and location requirements, in addition to giving students a fast and thorough education, bootcamps are on the forefront of change in tech, providing incredible opportunities to all.
Are you ready to join the tech field and work to make it a more inclusive place? At Ironhack, we offer remote and part-time bootcamps, in addition to on-campus and full-time courses so that you can pick the best possible option for you. If you’re ready to get started, check out our course selection today and make your jump into the wonderful world of tech.