Hey, What Happened to the Trees?
By Alexandra Holien
Change at Ada Developers Academy has been in full swing in 2019. With our Interim Executive Director Christine Martin at the helm since February, Ada has realigned and restructured our staff; brought on 4 new Advisory Board Members and 7 new staff members (5 full-time, 2 contractor); established cultural values; and is in the final stages of our Strategic Planning process. With lots of change and exciting growth, it seemed like the perfect time to refresh the Ada brand!. All the while, we’ve been running programs and graduating Adies with a great job placement rate. It’s been an exciting year!
Why All The Change?
Ada Developers Academy was originally founded in 2013 to support women in the tech sector and help them become software developers. Each year, we’ve iterated on our program, improving our curriculum to make our students ready for the job and educating ourselves to refine our target demographic to be a more inclusive program. With 6 years, 10 cohorts and 333 graduates, we reached a point to reassess and reflect on who we want to be and how we want to evolve moving forward. With a focused staff and the right mix of skills and background, we felt we had the capacity to look ahead to the sustainability of the organization moving forward.
One part of Ada’s long-term planning included a brand refresh. Our original logo featuring the trees with the crest was created in our early years because it represented a “merit badge.” The trees were selected because we were an education program based in the Pacific Northwest. We were scrappy and needed to move fast with a logo, so once created, we ran with it.
As Ada continues to evolve with a clear strategic plan that helps refine who we serve and what we do, we wanted to mark this growth with a new brand to reflect our change. We wanted a symbol to reflect the upward trajectory of our students and our program with a nod to the software development curriculum we teach. We wanted a symbol that represented “changing the face of tech” and emphasized the strong community we cultivate.
After an extensive branding process that included feedback from staff, alums, students, and advisory board members, we landed on a logo that is about “leveling up” — ourselves as an organization, our students, and the industry as a whole. The new logo is a navy blue “tree” that is composed of carets, a symbol of “leveling up” or “powering up” in programming. In regular expressions, carets represent the beginning of something new — a new line of code. Here is an example:
/^Your journey at Ada$/
The line begins with a caret and ends with a dollar sign. We love the symmetry of leveling up and closing our line of “code” with a $! In a recent analysis, we found the salaries of Ada Alums from Cohorts 9-11 increased by an average of 126% from their pre-Ada earnings. Since the inception of Ada, we’re proud to report that our program has helped create over $24M in new salaries for women and gender diverse people in the tech economy and we’re increasing that number every year!
Our primary brand colors bold, like our mission. You’ll be seeing these colors more in our digital materials, including our new website we just launched. And given our inclusive culture, we have a diverse palette to draw from, with warm hues interspersed with cool colors.
We’re excited for this brand refresh and for more changes we’ll be rolling out as our strategic planning process draws to a close this fall and our Executive Director search begins. As a team, we’re feeling more energized than ever and are so grateful to have all our amazing alums, company partners, volunteers, and community members consistently help us “level up” this organization to truly change the face of tech. Thank you to everyone who has helped us in our branding and strategic planning processes — you’re all playing an important role in helping us evolve our organization! .