CEO, Facebook Mark Zukerberg has launched an avenue (TechPrep) for teaching people and their parents and guardians what programming really is. TechPrep is a Facebook-led initiative, supported by McKinsey & Company, to promote computer science and programming as a career option and to provide resources to get started. People from everywhere can come together to learn more about computer science and programming and find resources to get them started.
In the world that we are where computers are everywhere around us: in our cars, cell phones and televisions. But here’s a secret: they need a program to tell them what to do. Programmers are the people who dream up new things and then write the instructions that bring their ideas to life.
TechPrep brings together hundreds of resources, curated based on who you are and what you need, such as age range, skill level and what kind of resource you are looking for. The website is designed for both English and Spanish speakers.
We created TechPrep in response to our understanding, supported by research from McKinsey, of the participation of underrepresented minorities in programming careers. We found:
- There was great self-confidence about their own potential among Black and Hispanic learners despite their underrepresentation in the industry. 50% of Blacks and 42% of Hispanics say they would be good at working with computers, compared to 35% of Whites and 35% of Asians.
- However, 77% of parents say they do not know how to help their child pursue computer science. This percentage increases to approximately 83% for lower income and non-college graduate parents or guardians. Yet being encouraged to pursue computer science by a parent or guardian is a primary motivator for women, Blacks and Hispanics.
- Lower awareness of computer science in Blacks and Hispanics is driven by less access to both people in CS and CS programs, and is a major driver of Black and Hispanic drop-off when pursuing programming as a career path.
- Men are 5 times more likely than women to say that they “know a lot about computer programming.”
TechPrep connects people to resources including games, books, in-person opportunities and community events to help learners as well as parents and guardians guide their kids in to computer science and programming. It also includes profiles of real people pursuing these careers.
Parents and guardians are influential figures in students’ lives. By exposing people to computer science and programming and guiding them to the resources they need to get started, we hope to reduce some of the barriers that block potential from meeting opportunity.