The tech industry has a problem and Fog Creek shares it. Our small thirty-nine person company has eleven developers — all of them male — and only 14% of the technical applicants we have spoken to in the last six months have been women. We have extremely talented women working in various roles such as quality assurance, scrum master, finance, recruiting, and office management but no developers. We’re proud to have had (and currently have) truly amazing female developer interns. Their contributions to the team and company at large are apparent, but alas, we have none working with us full-time.
Everyone here at Fog Creek wants to help reverse this gender disparity. In the past, we’ve focused on our intern pipeline by recruiting heavily from schools with high percentages of female students. We’ve hosted and sponsored hackathons and events with a focus on women in tech. We provide continuing education programs for female employees who want to learn how to code. These efforts have helped some, but it’s not enough.
We want to do more. We need to do more. We will do more.
As part of a larger solution we’ve joined forces with our neighbor, The Flatiron School to create The Fog Creek Fellowship. The Flatiron School has an unprecedented commitment to diversity, training women and underrepresented groups through partnerships with government and self-funded scholarships. Their highly selective admissions process, their focus on incredible teachers and great curriculum, and their dedication to the programming community, have led to an exceptional track record of helping alumni launch programming careers with great companies. Their passion for providing women the skills they need to succeed in tech is contagious — making them the obvious choice for our partnership.
Fog Creek wants to keep The Flatiron School’s positive momentum going. A select group of female Flatiron School graduates will join us for a two month program where they’ll be paired with a Fog Creek or Trello mentor. The program kicks off with brainstorming breakfast where fellows arrive with three project ideas. Once they flesh out the details with their mentors they’ll begin working right away. Throughout the program they’ll also undergo technical interview training from our developers.
Fellows will experience what it’s like to work at a company that values developers. They’ll each have access to their own height adjustable desk, Aeron chair and all the snacks one can imagine.
Fellows will receive interview training from their mentors and be provided with immediate technical feedback, which is extremely rare in an interview setting. Our developers undergo months-long recruiting training and have conducted hundreds of coding phone and in-person interviews. They have priceless information to share with our fellows.
Fog Creek values the camaraderie and closeness that eating lunch together provides. Every day, fellows will either join the Fog Creek and Trello employees for a catered lunch or have a special 1:1 lunch with their mentors. Participating in these conversations, or just listening in, is a great way to dive into the tech community and continue learning.
Additionally, all fellows will have 1:1 pair programming sessions with their mentors. Fog Creek currently has a 0.4% acceptance rate for full-time developers; The fellows will be working with the best in the industry.
The Fog Creek Fellowship provides women, who have just learned a new skill-set and are eager to start their career in tech, the tools they need to get their first programing job. If we can help fellows prepare for coding interviews, offer assistance comparing offer packages, build confidence, and help create a long-lasting professional relationships with their mentors then we’ve done our job. We want to be a resource long past the program’s end date.
We are beyond excited to start this new endeavor and we hope it brings change to not just Fog Creek but to the tech community at large.
The Fog Creek Fellowship is only the beginning though; we know we have more to do. We are currently working with other amazing organizations in the industry to help all underrepresented groups in tech. Future exciting announcements to come!
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Do you know of other organizations, schools, or people advocating for underrepresented groups in tech? I’d love to learn more, tell me about them!