CODE2040 Residency Application Extension!

We're excited about the tremendous amount of interest in the CODE2040 Residency! After speaking to applicants, potential community partners and mentors in our three launch cities, we can't wait to begin working to build stronger, more diverse local startup ecosystems. We're looking forward to creating impact with our launch partners at Capital Factory in Austin, TX; American Underground in Durham, NC; and 1871 in Chicago, IL.

Due to the unexpected demand, we've decided to open a second round of applications from 2/18 - 2/22. We're evaluating all Residency applications on a rolling basis. We want to make sure that those who are just hearing about the CODE2040 Residency get the opportunity to submit an application.

Please apply here and email with any questions about the program or application process. We look forward to hearing from you!

Diversity in Tech: A Student's Perspective

By Alex Triana, 2014 Fellow

I’m currently a third-year student at The University of California, Berkeley where I am majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I also happen to be a third generation Mexican-American, and am proud to identify ethnically as Latino.
Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of publicity about diversity in Silicon Valley. Several tech companies including LinkedIn, Google, and Pinterest have made their employee demographic data public which has really started a conversation about the lack of diversity in America’s most innovative economy.
While I’m excited that people have begun to understand how serious of a problem our homogeneous technical workforce is, I’m really interested in the next phase of this diversity movement. It’s great that as a tech community we have admitted diversity is something Silicon Valley struggles with but I came to terms with that issue a long time ago. As a student of color who is underrepresented in both the classroom and the workforce, I’m already acutely aware of how few Latinos and African Americans there are around me. I’m also aware of the problems that disproportionate representation creates.
For example, I’ve been in situations where people have used my race to justify my success. The phrase “It’s because your Mexican, right?” is often used by my peers and gives me the impression that my race overshadows my achievements and accomplishments. That sucks, and at times I’m almost embarrassed to identify as Latino because I am afraid people will take for granted how I’ve gotten to where I am.
I also know what if feels like to have to carry the weight of an entire race on your shoulders. Significant underrepresentation means that my individual actions serve as the only representation of my race in certain environments. As the only Hispanic in the classroom if I am late to lecture technically every Hispanic person in the class is late to lecture, if I don’t get a concept technically every Hispanic person in the class doesn’t get the concept, and if I do well on an exam technically every Hispanic in the class did well. Even small decisions are governed by significant amounts of pressure. Don’t forget about things like imposter syndrome, stereotype threat, and the idea of being a token – those are all real things that I deal with on a daily basis. 
The point I’m trying to get across is that I, like so many other underrepresented students, am not satisfied with just admitting there is a diversity problem in Silicon Valley. I know there is a problem because I live in it. My primary concern is how we fix that problem.  Most people justify the lack of diversity as a “pipelining issue”. The lack of representation of Blacks and Latinos/as in computer science is just the manifestation of a much bigger opportunity gap found in secondary and high school education. That may be true, but to me “it’s a pipelining issue” serves as an inappropriate response to the question “how do we fix this diversity problem?” It’s an answer that allocates about 95% of people’s thoughts, energy and resources towards either fixing the pipeline or future generations, but does very little to help students who are currently underrepresented – students like myself.
CODE2040 is a nonprofit focused on having an immediate impact on the issue of diversity in Silicon Valley. What can be done today to increase diversity? How can we help students who are already victims of underrepresentation, not just students who will be in the future? The CODE2040 team is focused on these questions.
The 2014 Fellows program allowed me to supplement my technical internship with exposure not only to resources and opportunities that have really catalyzed my career as a young professional, but also introduced me to a wonderful network of people who were passionate about diversity. CODE2040 has embraced diversity as a business advantage and for that I am incredibly grateful. After participating in the program I feel empowered to succeed as an entrepreneur and engineer in Silicon Valley. I also feel more qualified to serve as a role model and support group for students who identify as underrepresented, just as CODE2040 did for me. That is part of what made the CODE2040 Fellows program so engaging. I loved collaborating and identifying with students who have struggled with similar issues, and I can testify to the statement that CODE2040 isn’t just an organization – it’s a family. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the staff and the program experience they provided. It’s truly remarkable how much they have been able to accomplish since they were founded three years ago.  I’m excited for CODE2040’s future, specifically the role they will play in the diversity debate that currently puzzles Silicon Valley. 

Three Years of CODE2040


This weekend, February 1 to be exact, marks CODE2040’s third birthday. Some days it feels like just yesterday that CODE2040 was an idea Tristan and I were whiteboarding in a Foursquare conference room, and some days it feels like CODE2040 has existed forever, those early days a distant memory. However relative the time feels, so much has happened in three years. Here’s my top three:

We’ve shared nearly 50 Black and Latino/a engineers with Silicon Valley tech companies.

The Fellows Program, CODE2040’s flagship, started out with just five students in our pilot summer, 2012. At the close of summer 2014, we’d put nearly 10 times that number through the program over our three cohorts. For several of the startups we’ve worked with, their CODE2040 Fellow was their first Black or Latino/a hire, enabling them to hit a key diversity goal. For others, it was a chance to continue their commitment to diversity in a more public way, and in so doing to send a message to talent from all backgrounds that they’re welcome at their company.

Over 1,000 students have applied to be Fellows.

A common refrain of those lamenting the lack of diversity in their workforce is “We want to hire them, but where are they?” At CODE2040, we’ve made it our business to find the best emerging tech talent nationwide. And we’re well on our way. We know from National Science Foundation data that just under 60,000 computer science degrees (across BS, MS, and PhD) are awarded each year and over 8,000 of those go to Black and Latino/a students. Some quick math* shows that there are probably about 29,000 Black and Latino/a computer science students at all levels right now around the country. Black and Latino/as may be underrepresented in CS, but they’re certainly out there. About 1,000 of them have applied to be a part of CODE2040’s ecosystem so far, and we’re excited to track down the other 28,000.

Over 200 tech companies have taken steps to diversify their workforce.

Each year we put out a call for companies interested in hosting CODE2040 Fellows. We’ve been amazed to have over two hundred companies answer that call or reach out to us proactively. These are companies of all sizes, across all aspects of the tech universe. Back in early 2012, not many people were talking about diversity in tech. Today it’s in headlines across major news outlets and companies are putting some serious dollars behind their efforts. I’m amazed how much the climate has changed. It’s great news and means I’m even more excited for CODE2040 in our next three years and beyond.

It’s been fun to reflect, but I think it’s even more fun to look forward. Stay tuned for some big announcements about CODE2040’s next steps next week as we officially kick off year four!

*The math that yields the 29,000 number: the NSF data shows 8,868 Black and 2,999 Latino/a BS degree earners, 919 Black and 497 Latino/a MS degree earners, and 30 Black and 23 Latino/a PhD degree earners in computer science in 2009 (the latest data set available). I assumed four years for a BS, one for an MS, and four for a PhD. This probably underestimates the actual numbers since there is attrition from the major (so there would be more sophmore CS majors than seniors, for example) and this doesn’t count folks taking longer than four years for a BS, one for an MS, or four for a PhD.


Welcome to 2015!

After some well deserved relaxation over the new year, 2015 has started off with a bang for CODE2040! We're really excited to add some folks to the team - you'll hear more from them in this space in the coming weeks. We are also thrilled to move forward with an incredible Fellows Program applicant pool. And we'll be launching two new programs in the coming weeks as well! So much news, we hope you'll stay tuned.