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Everyone should have the opportunity to pursue a career in tech.

 

“The increasingly efficient technology sector is accelerating social mobility for those with access to the right education. Access Code is daring to make this path accessible to those who came to our country to pursue the American Dream.”

Mark Peter Davis, Founder of Interplay Ventures

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Access Code is an innovative tech education program that equips adults from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds with the computer programming skills and entrepreneurial training to succeed in tech.

  • Learn coding skills to build iPhone applications
  • Scholarship-based
  • No background in computer science required
  • Flexible part-time schedule
  • Entrepreneurial training, workshops, and access to a network of technologists. 

INCREASING DIVERSITY IN TECH

We foster tech in Queens but our work has broader impact and is tackling current problems in tech. Across the United States, women make up only 12% of the developer workforce. Hispanics and African Americans make up 7% of the tech workforce and only 1% of startup founders. 

The wealth of diversity that exists in Queens can help create a tech community that is more reflective of NYC and our society. These new ideas and new experiences will help build better products and use technology to solve unaddressed problems that may exist in these communities. 

 

Inaugural Access Code 2013 Class

Twenty-one talented individuals graduated from the 2013 Access Code class, 84% of whom had little to no software development experience upon entering the class. To find the most promising students from a range of backgrounds, we partnered with local community institutions such as Upwardly Global, Chhaya, Queens College, and the CUNY Macaulay Honors Program. 

Drawing upon the great diversity of Queens and NYC, the class was over 50% women, 50% minorities, and 40% immigrants. Access Code graduates have embarked on their careers in tech, working at startups, and launching their own ventures.

Access Code focuses on practical, hands-on learning. Students worked in a pair programming environment and teamed up together to build applications. The course started and ended with weekend coding marathons, with students hacking away for 16 hours over two days. The students worked in a collaborative environment to design, build, and launch four iPhone applications into the Apple store.

The technical training portion of Access Code culminated in a public Demo Day where participants presented and launched their fully functioning iPhone app before leading members of the startup and technology community. Demo Day provided an opportunity for Access Code participants to practice their pitching skills and prepare a full demo presentation. 

 
 

LEARNING ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP

In addition to helping students develop programming skills, we wanted to encourage them to build their own ventures and immerse them in startup culture. It was important to have industry experts visit the class to discuss the ins-and-outs of entrepreneurship and application development.