The winner is of the contest is Elise Worthy, co-founder of Ada Developers Academy. The academy provides a year-long intensive training program for women transitioning into software development. The program is tuition-free and supported by the tech community, public funding and donors. “Over the past two years I’ve played more of a business and administration role in the organization, so now that I’m getting back into tech I thought that this is the perfect opportunity for me to jumpstart that and represent Ada as well,” Worthy said.
The prize includes a two-day trip to the conference, a return flight, and a hotel for three nights. The launch of this initiative was inspired both by the generally low attendance rates of women at developer conferences and Rangle.io’s own hiring experiences. “In building Rangle.io as a diverse company in one of the world’s most diverse cities, I always imagined we would do fine in hiring and building a strong female core,” said CEO Nick Van Weerdenberg. “However, when we stopped and looked at the facts once we hit 50 people, we realized we needed to be more proactive to reach our goals — not just as a company but as an industry.”
With the number of women in technology careers estimated to be around 25 per cent, the company hopes that this initiative will be a small step in addressing the gender gap in STEM careers. “Due to the low attendance numbers of women at developer events, my colleagues and I launched this initiative to send one more woman to a conference, as well as generate dialogue on diversity within the web development field,” said Amanda Connon-Unda, senior marketing and communications manager for Rangle.io.
In an industry with a reputation for excluding women, initiatives like this are a valuable first step for companies looking to turn that image around. “As tech companies are looking for engineers, just specifically reaching out to female engineers and making an effort to diversify the team is the most important thing any company can do.”