History

The State of Tech

While women are a significant audience for tech innovation — 56% of the professional workforce, 55% of social media users, and 60% of social gamers — less than 25% of software developers are women.

Women of color are more severely underrepresented: 3% of female software developers are Black, 2% are Hispanic/Latinx, and 5% are Asian.

In addition, women are not getting promoted as often or as quickly as men and they are leaving the workforce in higher numbers. According to a 2015 survey done by the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT), 31% of women feel stuck and unsupported in their careers, and 56% of women quit their jobs by mid-career, within 10 years. Furthermore, only 11% of executive positions in tech are held by women.

Why Ada Started

“I started self-teaching [myself to code,] and it was a really lonely experience. … Lack of demand isn’t the problem … everyone deserves this.  But with the systemic inequities there just aren’t as many options for women to get into this.”

Ada Developers Academy co-founder Elise Worthy

Elise Worthy partnered with Scott Case who was frustrated at the difficulty of hiring a diverse group of software developers. Together they co-founded Ada Developers Academy in 2013 with the following key principles: the program would be tuition-free to attract and retain the highest potential students regardless of financial means; a six-month immersion curriculum that was far deeper than other “boot camp” programs to better prepare students for developer jobs; and integrating a five-month internship into the program to facilitate the transition into the workforce.  

One of Ada’s most unique attributes is the fact that it is tuition-free. 

“We knew we couldn’t have people working on the side so we created a model that isn’t only tuition-free but we also give you a stipend so you can live and not have to have another job while you’re going through this big immersion experience … so that was the challenge.” 

Ada Developers Academy co-founder Scott Case

Since Ada opened it’s doors to our first cohort, tech companies have been enthusiastic about our vision, and are critical partners to keeping Ada truly tuition free.

Growing a Community

The mission of Ada Developers Academy is to diversify tech by providing women and gender diverse people the skills, experience, and community support to become professional software developers to change the face of tech.

In its first year in 2013, Ada supported 16 students.  Although we were a tuition-free program, we still observed barriers for our students to attend the program.  In response, we developed the Ada Loan Fund, a low-interest loan program collateralized in special partnership with Craft 3 to support student living costs during the classroom portion of the program.  

By Cohort 3 in 2015, Ada became a project of fiscal sponsor TSNE Mission Works based in Boston, Massachusetts, to support our organizational growth. 

In 2016, Ada realized the need to develop a program that met the intersectionality of our students’ identities to succeed in the tech industry. This resulted in changing our practices around admissions and programming to create a holistically inclusive learning environment.  In Cohort 6, Ada expanded from 24 to 48 students per cohort. In 2016, Ada became the recipient of the TechHire grant, a Department of Labor initiative aimed to fill the growing number of open tech jobs.  

Ada’s curriculum has always been focused on full-stack web development with Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, and students have found this combination highly effective both in the classroom and after graduation. While these core pillars of our curriculum have served us well, we’re always making tweaks and changes, both to reflect the constantly changing technology landscape and to better meet the needs of our students and partner companies.

In 2017 we brought our JavaScript unit up to date with the ES6 standard, and added Flexbox and Grid to our discussion of CSS. In 2018 we introduced ReactJS to our JavaScript unit. Our instructional team continues to keep a close eye on trends in industry, and we are committed to keeping our curriculum relevant and effective as we move forward.  

Today, Ada graduates 48 Adies (our students and graduates are lovingly referred to as Adies!) per cohort twice a year.  To date, Ada Developers Academy has created $24M in new salaries in the tech industry generated by 333 women and gender diverse software developers.  As we look ahead we are excited to expand our services and share our impact. Ada will focus our efforts on the following pillars for growth in the next two years: 

  • Serving Low-Income, Underrepresented Minorities, and LGBTQIA+ Adults 
  • Developing and expanding Alumni Support & Programming
  • Facilities Expansion for Increased Impact   
Address
Ada Developers Academy
1215 4th Ave
Suite 1050
Seattle, WA 98161
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