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SXSW Interactive 2014

Fixing the Leaky Pipeline of Coders

Of the U.S. citizens who earned PhDs in Science and Engineering in 2008, African-American, Latino, and Native Americans combined comprised 10.5%. African Americans and Latinos/as represent only 7% of the entire science and engineering workforce, and African-Americans represent just 1% of technology startup founders. Meanwhile, 7 of the 10 projected fastest-growing occupations over the next ten years are in science and technology. In short, the US is squandering much-needed talent that can be found in communities of color throughout the country. We can fix the "leaky pipeline" that is not currently connecting the resource with the need. In addition, it is imperative to ensure that more people of color become tech creators as opposed to just consumers. Creators of tech--especially tech entrepreneurs--develop solutions to real problems. As more diverse participants enter the field of technology, we will inevitably see a shift in the types of problems addressed and the solutions offered.

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  1. How can we fix the "leaky pipeline" that does not connect the talent resources with jobs in the technical field?
  2. Where are traditional models of learning to code (e.g. Computer Science education) failing and what are alternative models?
  3. Why is it critical to diversify the field of technology in the US?
  4. How can all companies (from small start-ups to large corporations) build basic principles of diversity into its business model, and why does that matter?
  5. How does a business proposition change when a company decides to diversify its technical workforce?



Nicole Sanchez, Managing Partner, Kapor Center for Social Impact

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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