Facebook launches TechPrep computer science career initiative

The scheme is aimed at boosting diversity in the technology sector.


Facebook has announced the launch of TechPrep, an educational resource hub designed to boost diversity in computer sciences and technology.

Announced on Tuesday, the social media giant said the company wishes to "widen the pipeline" when it comes to cognitive diversity. If a more diverse range of people -- whether related to ethnic group or gender -- are encouraged to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), then products can be built which better serve the global population.

Maxine Williams, Facebook Global Director of Diversity said in a blog post that Facebook is working on a number of initiatives to build an "inclusive" culture.

After researching the matter, the company said it discovered a lack of resources for parents, guardians and students who wish to know more -- especially in the US within underrepresented groups such as black and Hispanic communities -- which has led to the launch of TechPrep.

TechPrep curates resources which are categorized depending on whether you are a guardian, parent, teacher or student, your age range and experience level. Reference materials, events lists, college preparation and live tuition sections are available.

There is not a substantial range of resources on offer at the moment, however, this is likely to increase -- and links are already available to learning systems such as EdX, Codeacademy and Coursera.

Williams says TechPrep was created in response to McKinsey research which suggests the majority of parents -- 77 percent -- in underrepresented groups in the US do not know how to help their children pursue computer science or technology career paths -- and this figure increases to 83 percent for lower-income families.

In addition, "lower awareness" of computer science careers in black and Hispanic communities 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."

The research also claims that men are five times more likely to say they "know a lot about computer programming."

"Parents and guardians are influential figures in students' lives," Williams says. "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."

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