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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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  • 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.
  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:48PM (#47336781)

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @05:50PM (#47336807)

    I feel like a minority

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Think Global (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:07PM (#47336959)

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

  • 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 on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:16PM (#47337041)
    "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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:23PM (#47337081)

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

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @06:24PM (#47337097)

    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 realize that there are no differences.

    But of course *you* are perfect and would never do such things. At least not consciously. It's those dirty "other people" who do all this.

  • 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) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:17PM (#47337491)
    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.
  • by russotto (537200) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:44PM (#47337673) Journal

    I don't even know what you're trying to say. How do you propose to fix the obvious and real problem of underrepresentation of over half of our population?

    I agree that underrepresentation is real and obvious; I do not agree that it is obvious that this is a problem, and I certainly don't think it's the sort of problem which is so dire that the ends justify nearly any means.

    Is it to have more classes dominated by white guy brogrammers?

    Please. You know brogramming was a hoax, right? That the reason the hoax was funny is because the stereotype of geeks is so far from the stereotype of nerds that the juxtaposition is funny. There may be a few brogrammers out there in a life-imitates-art kind of way. But it isn't and never was any sort of norm.

    You've never been in an office full of people who are different than you are.

    That's sort of amusing, as I'm the only white American on my team right now.

    I _am_ a white guy who had a very large amount of privilege globally-speaking, but through various life experiences I have developed the ability to recognize that. You should, too.

    I'm supposed to believe that I had and continue to have it easy because I'm a white man, and that this justifies any amount of discrimination against me? That any (e.g.) white woman has had it infinitely more difficult than me? No, I do not subscribe to your philosophy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @09:14PM (#47338141)

    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 supposed to be trying to resolve.

  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 27, 2014 @11:44PM (#47338683)

    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?

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 28, 2014 @12:55AM (#47338891)

    How do you propose to fix the obvious and real problem of underrepresentation of over half of our population?

    Well for starters, I will point out that the "problem" is neither obvious nor real. Just as how we don't need to do anything to "fix" the "problem" of a small pool of male nurses. Because it ain't a fucking problem in the first place.

  • 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 ganjadude (952775) on Saturday June 28, 2014 @08:58AM (#47339997) Homepage
    if half your customers are women, is it not safe to say that women already like what you are offering?? as such why the artificial need for diversity??

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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