Program.ma’s guide to finding grants and resources to help you get your tech education for women and mothers.
One of the biggest obstacles in my mind, about going back to school was the cost. As a woman, I am already at a disadvantage due to my gender. (You can read Programa.ma: You gotta’ to learn a bit about my own tech journey.) With the wifery of the American economy in addition to childcare and hours needed for sleep, the situation can seem bleak. Luckily, institutions are catching on and schools are preparing people for actually living in the world, a world of machines and computers. Therefore, there are now skills colleges that take part of the equation into account and the biggest corporations are calling themselves out for the lack of diversity and the real issues behind the lack, such as workplace environment, condescending managers etc.
Check out the AAUW’s video on why so few women are in the workforce to understand a bit about how stereotypes and discrimination affect a woman’s role in engineering in the workforce. In the last few months of intense research, I found out the the catch all phrase “data science” isn’t what you might think it is but it does embody all of the trappings of patriarchy. Worst of all, the data and the ‘scientists’ reflect the current inequalities in America… Yikes! Data science isn’t easy to define or find your place in and because of it’s history in pale/male Silicone Valley, it is by no means objective; but it has the potential to be.
What is a data scientist?
I am not going to lie, I am still wrapping my head around it, as are many in the in industry of, not only what the scope the title carries with it, but also how to use it vocationally. It seems like, other than a few special cases, most data scientists are very specialized. This makes it quite difficult for a data scientist to teach a general course on data science to an unspecialized group. There is a difference between a data scientist, programmer, and data analyst but I recommend exploring what excites you first and working backward to the title.
Because this field is so in need of female representation, there are many outlets for women willing to get further their education however, most of the education scholarships and grants require you to be attending graduate and undergraduate courses. Here are some suggestions and ways to get around that.
Grants that support skill courses and childcare
Here are resources I have compiled for finding money and support for getting your tech education:
This is particularly good resource for people wanting to explore the more non-traditional fields and in skill schools.:
“Career Development Grants provide funding to women who hold a bachelor’s degree and are preparing to advance or change careers or re-enter the workforce. Primary consideration is given to women of color and women pursuing their first advanced degree or credentials in nontraditional fields.”
Women Who Code (WWCode) is global non-profit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. We work to support this generation in being and becoming leaders and role models in the tech industry.
Online Free Courses:
Online courses from institutions like Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and Berkeley that are either free or very affordable compared to other forms of school on subjects ranging from ‘Data Science’ to ‘Astrophysics’.
This is a great starting point for anyone looking into exploring data analytics, coding, or any other aspect of fast growing tech. If you take a free course here, you are much more likely to get a scholarship to study elsewhere. This is how they define themselves:
We’re not one of those companies. We are rethinking education from the bottom up. The web has rethought nearly everything – commerce, social networking, healthcare, and more. We are building the education the world needs – the first truly net native education. We take more cues from Facebook and Zynga in creating an engaging educational experience than we do from the classroom.
Education is broken. Come help us build the education the world deserves.
Check out this incredible resource list of the best free educational material on the web.
Free computer science and language courses to get you started on your journey.
If your interested in learning the simplest and fastest growing coding language on the web, this book is essential.
After reviewing what’s out there, decide which direction you want to go and find a way to practice. You can get a mentor at https://hackpledge.org/ and even start to get paid to apply using job sites like odesk.com and outsourcely.