Facebook today announced the launch of TechPrep, a new online computer science and programming resource, to address what it sees as a “lack of exposure to computer science and careers in technology,” especially prevalent in “underrepresented groups including Black and Hispanic communities.”
TechPrep will be available in English and Spanish, and pulls together hundreds of resources including games, books, in-person opportunities, and community events (see all the resources here). To help children and guardians better understand the tech industry and career opportunities, Facebook breaks downtypes of programming, programming benefits, and the future of programming jobs.
“By 2020 there will be 1 million programming jobs left unfulfilled,” Facebook says on the TechPrep website. “What are you waiting for?”
It adds that these jobs will be rewarding for kids that choose to pursue them. “Jobs in programming and other computer occupations pay very well, and are increasing at twice the national average job growth rate according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Facebook goes on to break down some statistics it has compiled on underrepresented minorities in programming careers:
- 50 percent of Blacks and 42 percent of Hispanics say they would be good at working with computers, compared to 35 percent of Whites and 35 percent of Asians
- 77 percent of parents say they do not know how to help their child pursue computer science. This increases to approximately 83 percent 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 among Blacks and Hispanics is driven by reduced access to CS and CS programs, and is a major driver of Black and Hispanic drop-off when pursuing programming as a career path