As Code Nation programs are in full swing for the fall, we were excited to bring together members of our community to discuss impact and the future! On October 19, Code Nation hosted a virtual panel and discussion for our audience of donors, alumni, and volunteers.

Building the Bridge for Success: Code Nation and the Future of the Tech Workforce aimed to highlight how Code Nation’s unique, high-touch model supports tomorrow’s tech leaders while having a candid conversation about where there are currently critical gaps our students are facing. Through this discussion, we were able to spotlight how Code Nation’s goal to create a complete bridge from exposure to computer science to landing a job in the field is not only important for our students, but the key to measurable success in developing a more diverse tech workforce.

For this panel, we were excited to welcome four members of Code Nation’s community to share their unique perspectives and stories. We welcomed two volunteers: Dakota Smith, a Chicago volunteer and senior software engineer at Sprout Social and Sameer Vijay, software engineer at Meta and New York City volunteer. Both Dakota and Sameer are representations of how strong Code Nation’s community of mentorship and support is – returning time after time to volunteer in classrooms and offices and providing our students a tangible network and the ability to build social capital.

We also heard from two Code Nation alumni, representing various pathways into tech. Diego Cruz, a Chicago alum, opted to forego the traditional path of heading into college to pursue a tech apprenticeship after high school. Diego shared that this path took a lot of bravery and more importantly, confidence – something Code Nation gave him. Not to mention, he also had the tech skills he needed! Yves Oubida, a New York City alum, also shared his story and gave our audience insight into his own unique pathway from Code Nation, to studying computer science in college, to becoming a computer science teacher at a New York City high school. Both Diego and Yves cited their networks developed as Code Nation students for their current success, and recalled how they reached out to their former volunteer teachers regularly for support and advice.

Each panelist had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share their stories, after which they weighed in on different topics like the strength of Code Nation’s community, hopes for the future of the tech industry, and why diversity in tech is so crucial. Check out the full recording of the panel and conversation below.

Thank you to our lineup of panelists for sharing their time, expertise, and perspectives with us! This was a perfect way to kick off our programs for the year, and we look forward to seeing all the ways this diverse community will continue to thrive.

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