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Coding for Humans, by Women

by Evan Charles

July 10, 2017

Our society is inching toward a future when the phrase "you code like a girl" will be a compliment of the highest order. But there are significant hurdles before we get there. The statistics behind women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are still far from indicating an even playing field. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, female employees fill fewer than 25% of STEM jobs—even though they make up nearly half of the overall workforce. In the startup world, just 5% of women head up their own companies. And these disheartening numbers haven't changed much in the past decade.—Stephanie Walden, Mashable

Launch Academy is proud to announce Prism Shift, a women-only immersive coding program based in Washington, D.C. Prism Shift leverages four years of curriculum development and job placement relationships from Launch Academy to create a tech environment where women can not only learn and grow, but also thrive.

But Prism Shift is so much more than a programming bootcamp—it’s a hub for women in tech. By reducing educational barriers, Prism Shift works toward closing gender gaps in technology and science careers. 

The details: Prism Shift students will attend 18 weeks of immersive, intensive web development boot camp. The program, taught by women for women, welcomes trans, genderqueer, and non-binary people who significantly identify as women. The end goal? A junior-level tech job for every Prism Shift graduate.

Beyond web development, our curriculum covers inclusion, leadership, and career navigation. We’ll also host networking events, skill-building seminars, and guest speakers to bring the women’s coding community together.

Why a Women-Only Tech Bootcamp?

“Despite its egalitarian promises, Silicon Valley remains very much a boy's club. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women comprise just one in four tech professionals and only about one in five recipients of computer science (CS) degrees. The numbers are even more grim for women of color.”—William Fenton, PC Mag

Prism Shift seeks to transform tech into a more inclusive industry, one that celebrates diversity in the service of better ideas, teams, and software. We believe large-scale cultural change starts (and builds) with a handful of incredibly passionate individuals working selflessly and collectively toward an equitable future for all.

For too long, best practice in promoting workplace gender equality has had a narrow focus: building skills and confidence for women to address adversities prevalent in male-dominated fields—e.g., the lean in approach. 

We know we can broaden that focus—and do more. 

Why Prism Shift?

Prisms are glass objects that refract light—and also bring out every color of the rainbow. 

One of our core values refers to “turning the prism”: in other words, to get a different perspective. At Prism Shift, we’re bringing together different perspectives on education, tech, and the workforce to change the industry for the better.

Why Should I Choose Prism Shift?

Since 2013, 151 women have attended Launch Academy’s Boston-based coding bootcamp, with 92 percent graduating and 87 percent getting placed in tech-related careers. 

With Prism Shift, we're going even further, building a program to address the systemic issues that have resulted in the enormous gender imbalance in the tech industry. The gender gap in tech has been widely publicized, but all too often the media discourse treats the gender gap as the problem, rather than seeing it as a symptom of more deeply-rooted systemic problems in education and culture at large. It’s an incredibly complex problem that won’t be solved overnight, but we’re excited to change the culture in the spaces we do control: our classrooms. 

What's the Fine Print?

Prism Shift is an 18-week women-only programming bootcamp that provides a comfortable and supportive environment for learners eager to start a career in software development. The first eight weeks are remote and part time, with students leveling up their skills through a required virtual pre-learning curriculum. The next 10 weeks are spent learning on campus together, full time, in a simulated work environment modeled around a software development team.


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