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Consumers To Creators - Affecting Diversity in Tech

Reposted from LinkedIn

A week ago I had the privilege to sit on a panel for The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) TECH 2020, in cooperation with the Congressional Black Associates (CBA) called “Cracking the Code: Getting a Job in Tech”, during the panel conversation the question was asked about one thing that I felt was critical for the audience to understand and try and change. My response was not very original, “We need to change from Consumers To Creators”. We over index in social media yet are not creating in the space, we lack the Social Capital to support a large network of wealth and connections to help fund or get our concepts built so we need to look outside of our network for support and therein lies a new set of challenges.

This all leads to how I ended up on the panel in the first place, I am an Adjunct Professor at Howard University as well as CEO of Clearly Innovative Inc a web and mobile agency based in Washington, DC. This is my second-semester teaching and I focus on mobile development from the product creation perspective. To be more specific, the objective of the class is not to make the student a mobile developer, but to expose the student to tools and technologies in the mobile space to enable them to become creators; to enable them to build enough of something to support the innovative idea and convince others to join the team and potentially take the product to the next level. We cover mobile development concepts, utilizing Ionic Framework, as well as Product Discover, User Interface Design and Customer Acquisition. This is really a semester-long Startup Weekend/Hack-A-Thon session to expose the students to concepts to help them move from “Consumers to Creators”

This class is unique in that it is taught in the Howard School of Business to about twenty-five students with almost an even split of Information Systems Majors and Computer Science Majors. Most of the students in the class have never built a mobile application, never used AngularJS, never written a single line of Javascript code but this is not because of a lack of ability but more often than not a lack of exposure to these specific technologies. I don’t know what if anything great will come from this specific semester of class, but my hope is that this class has instilled a level of confidence and understanding of mobile tools and technologies that something great will be created as a direct result of just exposing the students to something they did not know.

Diversity in the tech community can only be achieved if we have a diverse approach to exposing communities to technology. The continued approach of one size fits all in regards to education and communication needs to change if we a more fulfilling and innovative world where technology and innovation can be impactful for all.

Luma Lab is the tech education initiative of Clearly Innovative that is changing communities by exposing them to innovation, collaboration and technology to help spark ideas in the next generation of technical leaders.

#DCtech #in3education #lumalab

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