Diversity in Tech – Byte Back Style


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TechUP brought in speakers from around the country for an amazing day of 10-minute tech talks and panels.

By Yvette Scorse, Communications Manager

It’s reassuring and inspiring to know that so many smart, talented, powerful people in tech sincerely care about making the industry look more like its users. They care about diversity.

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Leanne Pittsford, founder of TechUP and Lesbians Who Tech, started the day with an inspiring talk, urging change.

The crowd at the TechUP Tech Innovation & Inclusion Summit were among these people – and a group we’re proud to be part of.

They discussed various ways to increase diversity – building pipelines, using coding bootcamps as alternatives to college education, asking Facebook to spend $1 billion on diversity, purposefully bringing tech education to girls and children of color.

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Representatives spoke from coding bootcamps, including Dev Bootcamp, Fullstack Academy, General Assembly, Coding Dojo, Thinkful, and The Iron Yard.

These are great things to do, but we think something is still missing. As Byte Back becomes a growing leader in the tech diversity space, it looks like we are some of the few who see diversity in an even broader sense. Diversity doesn’t just look like hiring a person of color. It’s not that simple. Identities are complex and intersectional.

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Megan Smith is the U.S. Chief Technology Officer and an out lesbian. She reflected on women in tech who have been instrumental but ignored by history.

Byte Back has spent 19 years building a pipeline, and the faces here still look different than the people we see and talk about at tech diversity conferences.

They look like single African American mothers; middle-aged people who have been unemployed, sometimes for years; people who have lived in poverty their whole lives; people who have had jobs in manual labor and need a change because of a physical disability; people who completed high school but dropped out of college. Millennials aren’t the only ones beginning new careers. They’re not the only ones looking for educational opportunities.

These are some of the forgotten people who we believe deserve a pathway into the tech club – older people, poorer people, mid-life career changers.

There are so many people in DC and in the country who truly care about diversity in tech, which is amazing. But we hope that they’ll open their eyes and their arms just a little wider and continue to challenge themselves by asking, “Who is missing?”


Thank you to TechUP for bringing an insightful gathering of innovators and diversity supporters to Washington, DC. For highlights from the Tech Innovation & Inclusion Summit, follow the conversation on Twitter with #TechUPDC.


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