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Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities 376

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-a-strong-base-of-coders dept.
redletterdave writes: According to a blog post from Gregg Pollack, CEO of the Code School, Google is paying for three free months for any women and minorities interested in tech to expand their skills. The offer is part of Google's $50 million "Made With Code" initiative, which aims to help close the gender gap in tech. While Google is also offering the same vouchers to the women in attendance at its annual I/O developers conference this week, the search giant has released an online application that's available to women everywhere. Google says its available vouchers for women number in the "thousands."
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Google Is Offering Free Coding Lessons To Women and Minorities

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  • Asian (Score:5, Funny)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:46PM (#47336759) Homepage
    So basically everyone who is not an Asian?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:47PM (#47336769)
    I'd still like someone to rationally explain to me how giving such free benefits to women and the ever-so-indistinct category of "minority," specifically because of their gender and/or "race," (and for which those not in those categories are excluded) is not sexism and racism.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I see tons of people making this point, and I get it, but seriously, who claimed it isn't sexism and racism? Did Google say it wasn't sexism and racism? It's a form of affirmative action, it is sexism and racism. No one claimed all sexism and racism is categorically bad, you just seem to be assuming it.

      Now if you wanted to argue that all sexism and racism is bad, and that since this is a form of that, it is bad, go right ahead.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who said it isn't? It is in fact socially-sanctioned racism/sexism of a sort that might be necessary to balance the scales after centuries (or millennia) of the reverse case. Don't let some overly simple-minded "progressives" sour you to that concept. Sometimes racism/sexism does oppress or repress people to the point where an artificial and proactive swing the other way is more fair than the lack thereof; it just has to be kept at sane levels so it doesn't become a replacement for the old "bad" isms we're

    • by ClickOnThis (137803) on Friday June 27, 2014 @11:53PM (#47338713) Journal

      You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: 'now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.' You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, "you are free to compete with all the others," and still justly believe you have been completely fair... This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.

      -- Lyndon B. Johnson

      • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @06:38AM (#47339569)

        And yet the Irish were persecuted, savaged, slaughtered, enslaved, and treated as badly or worse than almost any other ethnic group in the US, and even today there is still quite a lot of racism against them, despite which they and their descendants appear to be prospering just fine as a community and as individuals without any affirmative action.

        Perhaps the secret is to allow people their own agency and stop infantilising them by telling them they start out handicapped, which might be why Michigan banned affirmative action in Universities.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        ok so...where is their progress in the past 50 years?? 2 generations is not long enough to pick themselves up??? the irish took 2 generations when they came here to overcome their institutionalized racism. whats taking so long that we still need to be racist....to fix racism???
    • by whitesea (1811570)
      It looks like you are looking at it from the political viewpoint instead of the practical one.

      Google discovered that they already have plenty of white males working for them. They want more diversity and this course is their way to increase the pool of available talent.

      Diversity (variety of backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints) is good for business. Google has many programs to solve different problems. This program is to resolve a problem of too homogeneous workforce. Don't read too much into it.

      If I

      • Google is LESS white than everybody else, it's only because SJW's suddenly decided that asians were white that the figures don't show that.

        • by whitesea (1811570)
          I am not talking about artificial colors. I am talking about different ways to look at things that are underrepresented in a particular culture.

          If half of your customers are women you may want enough women in your culture to make your product attractive to women. If you have other segments of your customers that are underrepresented among your developers, you may want to encourage that group to get into programming.

          Of course, a free course is not supposed to be their whole education and training. It is

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Because you have a white penis.

    • google sucks at the 'human' part of the human/machine system

      it's true just look at their products from the start...'google.com' had better results and no clutter....their success in visual design was to by default **not have any** because sites like 'yahoo.com' are so full of visual garbage...it's just the standards have always been so low in computing that a blank screen w/ search bar is the 'best'

      look at how their executives talk about privacy

      so, to the problem of 'women in coding' it's rational to expect

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      simple, it IS sexism and racism, a poor white man would love that opportunity as well, but nope, they were born the wrong skin color
  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:48PM (#47336781)

    But I'm a white male. I have nothing Google wants. :(

    • ...uh, money?
      • by tmosley (996283)
        There are poor white people too, you know. More and more of them lately.

        But I suppose that is a racist thing to point out.
        • by russotto (537200)

          Yes, but in the social justice hierarchy, ANY white male, even the illegitimate son of a meth-addled trailer-park whore, is privileged above ANY female or minority (except Asians don't usually count), and can therefore be discriminated against freely on the grounds that it is merely leveling the playing field.

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          I don't think that that was Kyosuke's point.

          Anyway, I was a poor white person, even incredibly poor by the standards of my current colleagues, and got merit-based assistance. Coming from my background, it was almost (almost...) embarrassingly much. I don't want to get into this right now, but just because someone else is being overpaid or given special consideration, doesn't necessarily mean that you are being underpaid.

          I mean underpaid to a noticeable degree. Yes, economics says we're taking a hit (at leas

    • by retchdog (1319261) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:54PM (#47336843) Journal

      Google wants employees with above-average skills in their areas of interest, and so they hire plenty of white males since they tend to have them. If you're not in that group, well, it sucks to be you, I guess.

      • Google wants employees with above-average skills in their areas of interest, and so they hire plenty of white males since they tend to have them. If you're not in that group, well, it sucks to be you, I guess

        /s/white/people who have an interest/g Seriously, when did asian's become white? If anyone showed an interest in what Google, facebook, yahoo is looking for they would have showed up on their radar, melanin rate be damned..

    • by chispito (1870390)

      But I'm a white male. I have nothing Google wants. :(

      Actually, if you would kindly run all of your personal and financial information through our marketing algorithms--er, "free cloud tools and services," that would be fantastic. Thanks.

      -Google

    • I'd love some free Google classes

      Everybody wants free Google glasses. I mean, what do those thing cost anyway? Like 1500 bucks or somethin?

      But let's be realistic - only women & black men can pull off that look.

    • But I'm a white male. I have nothing Google wants. :(

      Modded parent funny, assuming sarcasm now I'm not so sure..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I feel like a minority

  • So, how exactly does Google know if an applicant is a woman or not? Are they going to do background checks?

    The form that is linked doesn't even contain a declaration that somebody is a woman or minority in the first place, or a definition of what constitutes either.

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      Minimum requirements:

      • At least attempt to consistently fake representing oneself as a woman
      • Must attend class in drag
      • 90% or greater attendance rate
      • Must attend all three months of classes

      If you meet the above requirements, we'll assume you want the training badly enough and will be eligible for attendance and reimbursement of deposit upon completion.

  • by Alex Vulpes (2836855) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:59PM (#47336899)
    I get what they're trying to do, but this seems like the wrong approach. You don't fix discrimination with more discrimination, even if it's in the opposite direction.

    Seems like it would be better to find out why the industry is so racial/gender imbalanced, and try to solve that problem (whatever it turns out to be) rather than covering up the symptoms.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If the problem is a monoculture, what better cure than an injection of other cultures?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually - that is how you do it. Discrimination tends to be a self-replicating part of human nature. It's is based on "what I am familiar and comfortable with." If you don't see women/minorities in the workforce then the assumption is that they are not qualified - therefore less likely to be hired - thus less likely you will see them in the workforce - etc.

      This is why integration and diversity were/are so important. It's to raise children not thinking of different people as "others" but instead to real

    • by Carnivore (103106)

      Many industries spend decades hand-wringing about "finding out why" and end up doing nothing. This isn't covering up symptoms, it's reaching out to people who are underrepresented in the field.

      Make a course that's much less likely to be full of brogrammers and you'll likely get more talented women and other minorities. This is a good thing.

      • by lgw (121541)

        Whites are certainly a minority in the worldwide talent pool of programmers. Especially Americans, who were anti-geek for far too long, culturally. I'd like the field to be a meritocracy - makes for better coworkers. But if Google wants to pay for training for a select group they favor, hey, it's their money, and their right to do so.

        I think Google is trying to balance their demographics without lowering their hiring bar for women - and if so, that's great. Lowering barriers - good stuff. But if it tur

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      I get what they're trying to do, but this seems like the wrong approach. You don't fix discrimination with more discrimination, even if it's in the opposite direction.

      Until the 'problem' is correct that's exactly what you do; unless hiring assassins to thin out the existing 'problem' is an option.

    • by leereyno (32197) on Friday June 27, 2014 @10:59PM (#47338549) Homepage Journal

      There is no problem to be solved.

      Women who want to become software engineers are free to do so. There are no barriers. That women tend to choose other careers is the result of human nature. Like it or not, boys and girls are different, and those differences are immutable.

      As for "minorities," the very term is meaningless. Anyone of any color, creed, sex, or religion is (in America at least) free to pursue these careers. Trying to bean count the number of Inuit who are code jockeys is ridiculous and ultimately degrading to those being counted.

      Google is being shook down by the race and sex hustlers, nothing more. They company is all too aware that these free classes are not going to change the demographics of software engineers. They're doing this as a PR stunt to fend off the hustlers, who will eventually move on to some other target who is more willing to be shook down.

      Men are an extreme minority in the child care services industry. Early childhood development programs at colleges and universities are essentially estrogen clubs. There are no men anywhere. Why? Because human nature is what it is, and the nature of men does not include such things.

  • Think Global (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    On a global scale, whites are a minority. Isn't Google a global company?

  • Because everyone knows the only way to beat discrimination is by discriminating.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      If you can't beat'em, join 'em!

  • by quietwalker (969769) <pdughi@gmail.com> on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:13PM (#47337021)

    I didn't realize that the gender and minority gaps in the software development industry was simply due to availability of lessons! It's proper, and not at all ironic that we can fix this entirely obvious case of discrimination by making sure to treat certain groups differently than others based on those differences they have no control over, as opposed to merit-based evaluations that judge the worth of an individual regardless of their gender or skin color.

    Boy, whew, is that good news though.

    I mean, if it was something like self-selective behavior that arose largely from fundamental differences in behavior and temperament due to genetic predisposition, coupled with cultural bias a would-be/could-be programmer brings with them, it'd be really hard to overcome. That'd be a real problem, no doubt. How to make certain groups want to be a programmer, outside of all the opportunities they already have, literally thousands of hours of videos and lectures, hundreds of thousands of tutorials, and millions of step-by-step examples available from libraries, public schools, and for free on the internet - that's a very tough job. It'd be like trying to get kids to like broccoli and lima beans.

    But gosh, wow, thankfully we really figured it out this time.

    This will certainly solve everything, and we'll make sure that we have nearly-matching statistical matches between the greater population and these careers, just like every other career path or employment opportunity out there, from the military, to civic service, from elementary education to nursing and construction workers, we'll have finally caught up with the other trades.

    Thank goodness too, that this didn't morph a naturally arising statistical evaluation into a minority rights issue, where even discussion of the problem is verboten to the perceived majority, and failure to blindly throw money at it while artificially inflating your employee base through heavy handed discrimination would single one out as racist, sexist, or simply an unethical organization.

    We really dodged a bullet there, and I can only applaud this important step towards real equality.

  • Racist Much? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    "We'll give you free stuff if you're of the appropriate race and/or gender" If someone offered something like that for white males only, they'd be sued out of the world. I don't see why this is different.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by CronoCloud (590650)

      If someone offered something like that for white males only,

      They essentially did, the fallout from that is why we have the problems they're trying to fix.

  • Raising Interest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bigbutt (65939) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:23PM (#47337083) Homepage Journal

    Honestly folks. I learned to program because I wanted to. Years and years ago. I continue to code and learn to code because I wanted to get better. I was still interested. When Microsoft came out with Windows 3.0 and 3.1, I tried to learn to code using Windows' API but it was annoying and I really didn't have an interest. I was interested in OS/2 but at $2,000 for the API, I was out of luck.

    I code because I like it and want to. I muck with computers because it's interesting and challenging at times. I admin systems because there's a bit of coding involved, challenging tasks, and troubleshooting. It's fun.

    In this case, Google is simply trying to jump-start the interest in women and minorities. I got interested because of Dungeons and Dragons and Car Wars. In other words, I had an idea and needed to learn to program to implement the idea, and I did. And it was cool.

    People complain that they're keeping guys from coding. Hell, there are guys who code and nothing can stop them.

    We (humans) have access to a world of information at our fingertips. If you want to code, freaking code. Don't wait for some corporation or person to give you incentive to code. To me, that feels like cheating. I personally don't want to say "Google gave me money and free lessons to learn how to code". Heck, I would be embarrassed to say that in an interview. Someone had to interest me into coding so without that, I wouldn't have been interested in the first place? Doesn't sound much like motivation to me. If I were interviewing someone for a coding job, I might knock a point or two off for that. My girlfriend says she has done some programming but can't think of anything to code up to help her learn. Someone in a forum said pretty much the same thing. They wanted to be a DBA but didn't have any ideas on how to start.

    Write a simple inventory program. Start off with the idea that you want to identify and store all the stuff in your room, apartment, or house. Write one to manage your music collection. Then expand it to add stars or figure out how to normalize the database. Sure, there are lots of programs out there that'll help you inventory your gear. Heck, there are programs that'll read in your UPC bar code and give you all the details you'd ever want.

    But you don't learn to code by using someone else's program.

    [John]

    • by vux984 (928602)

      Write a simple inventory program. Start off with the idea that you want to identify and store all the stuff in your room, apartment, or house.

      I inevitably get horribly stuck in the data modelling phase of this project. Sure I could hack something together, but I always try to come up with something that's better than what I've used before gets around the problems I've encountered with those before... and it gets hopelessly complicated. It needs to have tags, and someway of grouping things together... so the

    • by gTsiros (205624)

      is the busa comfortable for long trips?

    • Re:Raising Interest (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:10PM (#47337437)

      Maybe you grew up in an environment where no one said "you don't want to program, boys don't do that sort of thing".

      And I didn't start programming because I wanted to write a program that did something specific, I started programming because I wanted to know how computers work. The same sort of thinking that caused me to take my toys apart to see what made them work, open up watches and make them never work again, and so on. Boys do that and parents may frown a bit, but often when girls do that (or did at my age) then parents are much quicker to step in and direct them to other activities that were approved for girls.

      How many boys growing up were told "don't study so much, or you'll never find a good wife" or "girls don't like bookish boys"?

      • by thrich81 (1357561)

        Well, no one had to tell us boys that, "girls don't like bookish boys". Most figured it out pretty quickly on our own after about 6th grade.

      • How many boys growing up were told ... "girls don't like bookish boys"?

        Umm... all of them?

        Maybe you grew up in an environment where no one said "you don't want to program, boys don't do that sort of thing".

        And maybe he did. It's not that rare an attitude from the 1980's

        Look, I get that being told you cannot do something sucks. But it sucks regardless of whether it's because it's unladylike, because you were born in the wrong caste, -or- because you don't want to be seen as a nerd and bullied. I don't kno

      • by Mr.CRC (2330444) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @02:46AM (#47339155)

        Are you lost? Did your time machine break down? Because the world you describe is the distant past.

        I'm a compulsive electronics designer and computer hacker. I have oscilloscopes, power supplies, machine tools, etc. all laying around the house, even in the living room. My wife (Asian) has a M.S. in Physics and was a geek as a young lady, and now just wants to make dresses.

        My daughter is welcome to use my equipment any time. We've tried to encourage her to be interested in making better toys using the tools. We've tried to encourage her to learn about electronics and build robots by buying her kits and spending time with her to complete them.

        Guess what? The only reason she wants to build the kits is to get my attention, and the only reason she cares about electronics is because she needs my lab power supplies to power her dollhouse LEDs since I haven't finished the 8-channel dimming/driver board for it yet.

        She's a girl and wants to do girly stuff, and no amount of surrounding her with equipment is going to change that. Unless something *intrinsically* within her wants to do it, she won't, despite that fact that her environment has been heavily biased in a "tech" direction.

        What are we to do? Throw all her home-made dolls away and FORCE her to do "science and engineering" stuff?

        All evidence seems to indicate that girls just don't want to do these things as frequently as boys.

        Only people stupid enough to look at men (with penises) and women (with vaginas), with completely different hormonal systems, anatomy, and significant differences in brain structure, and declare "men and women are the same" could see a problem with this.

        The ultimate irony is that the liberal feminists are in exactly the same camp as the old-school (Christian) conservatives that they think they are more enlightened than and liberating us from:

        They hate nature! They do not want to understand nature, and are instead at war with it. Does anyone see this?

        This is as fundamentally anti-science and inhuman as theistic religion, because only true understanding of reality and how to work WITH it is the answer to any of our real problems.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          So explain then why 30 years ago or so there are many many more women in computing, as a percentage, than there are today? Are girls more girly than they used to be?

          And it's good to know that your daughter is a representative of all girls. I seen plenty of boys who want nothing to do with computers or building things or the like.

        • by Bigbutt (65939)

          On the flip side, my daughters were surrounded by tech. My older one learned how to code when she was 8 and has gone from IT to DBA to Computer Security. The younger one is a motorcycle mechanic. I don't know what caused them to make those choices though.

          [John]

      • by Bigbutt (65939)

        I'm a bit older than that, no coding references when I was growing up. In fact, later when I did express an interest in computers, my Dad told me specifically not to get into computers as it was a dead end field. So it wasn't "because you're a boy".

        Plus I never heard any of the "good wife" stuff. Heck, I was (and am) bookish and truely never expected to get married based on my experience with the girls in school. I'd resigned myself to being single for the rest of my life. So yea, just like the culture of "

  • Sexism and racism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:38PM (#47337205) Homepage Journal

    Sexism and racism are perfectly acceptable if you're against men and whites.

  • This thread... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rpgamer28 (1099971)
    Is part of the reason why there aren't more women and minorities in tech. Only a few comments in, and it turns into a circlejerk about how women and minorities are genetically inferior, and white males are so horribly oppressed by this move which takes nothing from them. As a minority, if this is what the tech community is like, I want no part of it.
  • [TLDR: Bravo Google, but I think we're attacking the issue on the wrong side]
    offering a free pass into code school for underrepresented groups is touching the problem too late.
    If Google were genuinely interested in generating a more diverse, technically sharp population, they'd be looking at elementary, middle, and high schools (notice the AND). Education is an iterative process, adults that love to code and code well are either savants, or have had a decent education growing up. This doesn't mean we n
    • by hyades1 (1149581)

      Very, very well said! I never seem to have a mod point lying around when I really need one.

      I'm with a charity that goes into elementary schools and teaches science topics to the students. What they're missing (and what we bring) is hands-on stuff. When you let kids do something besides sit at their desks and be lectured at, they can learn astonishingly fast.

      And by the way, I've found that in many cases, learning-disabled kids do much better when they get a chance to use more than their eyes and bums

  • That's a minority now, right? Where does this all end up when we have an approximate plurality in this country of White/Hispanic/Black/Mixed or Other?

    If Google were really so hot, they'd offer free coding to POOR PEOPLE, since by definition they can't afford to pay for it. I don't see much justice in some young Black dude whose father makes $100k getting in ahead of a White girl who comes from a foster care background and is currently flipping burgers and couch surfing.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Friday June 27, 2014 @11:25PM (#47338635)

    When do we take our foot off the accelerator and stop stepping on the younger males (of all races)?

    I agree- men are doing FINE in the board room. But it's really starting to suck everywhere down from there.

    I was formally trained that if all things were equal - we should hire the "most diverse" candidate first.

    Even tho Caucasian males were under represented at the bottom three tiers of the company, they were trying to balance against the lily white top two tiers (1 white female vp- the rest all 55+ year old white males). Middle management was about 60% female and they were blatantly discriminating against men and you knew the EEOC wasn't going to step in.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm out. Retired. I'm speaking as a mostly disinterested party.

    It just seems like society is continuing to beat up on young males (and esp white young males) and promote and give free stuff to everyone else.

    When are you going to stop? What's the criteria for stopping? How far past 58% does it have to go before you can say things are addressed?

    • There does seem to be a failure to recognize latency in the system.

      But it's not "beyond 58%". The issue is that the pipeline is not being recognized. Once women are 50% of the boardroom, in say another generation, it will balance out. Now, what is in the pipeline at that point dictating the next 50 years, I have no idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A buddy of mine is a white male and dirt poor. He has a real drive to learn how to code, he's wanted to make video games since he was a little kid. But there is no way he'll ever be able to gather enough money to attend any sort of 'programming school.'

    I'm tempted to tell him about this initiative and tell him to lie on the application by feminizing his first name. He doesn't need a certificate or anything, just the mentorship to help him with the learning.

    Thoughts?

    • But there is no way he'll ever be able to gather enough money to attend any sort of 'programming school.'......Thoughts?

      FAFSA

  • This is a racist policy. Let's be very clear about the language here! By "minority" they mean: NOT WHITE. Right? Or am I wrong?

    So this is a policy which discriminates against whites. Well we are a poor white family. Why can't my family benefit from this? Oh, because we are white. But hey, that is not discrimination, right? We have not been discriminated against! Right? Because we are white and there are some rich whites (look at Al gore, he is very rich). So because we are a poor white family, we must be r

  • So, since we are into discrimination and punishing...

    In my city, European Americans *are* the minority (to African Americans; there are very few of any other race). So would THEY be eligible for free preferential treatment from Google?

    Or does "minority" just mean anyone who is not European American?

  • by xdor (1218206)
    I want 3 months of lessons to expand my skills and I've been in this industry for 20 years.

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