Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Kodluyoruz (We are Coding)

Context:

At present nearly 75% of youth (15-24) in Turkey are unemployed. However, the talent shortage in the software industry is around 76% according to the 2019 Technology Sector Situation Analysis Report by Kodluyoruz. Although the tech industry provides decent employment opportunities at an increasing rate, the school system in Turkey lags behind the industry preparing youth for jobs due to three main reasons: 1) lack of necessary equipment and computer labs 2) lack of qualified high school teachers in the field of information technology and 3) outdated technology curriculums.

The situation is even more acute for girls: according to Kodluyoruz pre-post test analyses in the field of technology with more than 2,000 participants aged 8-18, the ratio of female students interested in STEM fields is over 60% in primary education, while this rate falls below 40% in secondary education. According to UNDP Turkey data, women comprise only 34% of all STEM graduates in Turkey. As can be seen, as age increases, the representation of women in the STEM field decreases. The reasons for this are many including social pressures and family expectations, lack of access to learn more about opportunities and of course, lack of support.

High school is a critical time in youth lives to begin exploring futures in continuing education or employment, intervention at an earlier age to stimulate all youth- especially girls- in tech career opportunities. According to We are Coding’s first-hand experience with more than 3,000 students each year, there is a lack of guidance on which path to choose that would fit with skills and aspirations- and especially so for students from low income backgrounds. According to the Ministry of Education in Turkey, there are approximately 5,630,652 high school students. 32% are vocational students, but a majority (68%) are general public high school students. Till now, We are Coding had been focusing on vocational schools because even though they are lacking qualified teachers and training, they offered some basic infrastructure to add skills to students with additional training.

In the present context, two opportunities reveal themselves for further development of We are Coding’s offerings. One is the access to online education which allows them to reach more youth in other regions. The other is the increasing demand for employment from the tech industry: We are Coding’s experience in training and job placement of youth reveals that game programming, web design, and artificial intelligence among the highest employment growth areas in Turkey. Almost 44% of We are Coding’s unemployed game Bootcamp graduates found a job within three months of graduation.

Organization:

Kodluyoruz is a tech-focused nonprofit organization aiming to create career opportunities in technology and coding for talented but socio-economically disadvantaged youth by providing high-quality tech education to self-driven youth; increasing coding literacy among primary & secondary education students to promote 21st century skills; and combating gender-based prejudices in the tech sector to promote a talent and interest based career selection. Kodluyoruz was founded in 2016 by a small team with full-time jobs in the technology sector. During their professional lives, they observed disconnects between job potential in tech-driven sectors and high youth unemployment. While tackling obstacles of youth employment and offering learning opportunities for hundreds of youth in technology, coding, robotics, and other topics for youth, Kodluyoruz successfully established close working relationships with several employers such as Bosh, Microsoft and PriceWaterhouse Coopers. Their programs have grown and diversified and continue to scale. The founders of Kodluyoruz are female and have a very strong gender lens, finding creative ways of integrating gender topics with coding and robotics training. Its main programs are:

  • Kodluyoruz Academy: High school students and new grads are trained in intensive boot camps such as Kotlin-Android, Big Data, and VR, and develop soft skills in job hunting, resume creating, and interview techniques.
  • Alumni Club: Academy alumni engage with sector leaders and in networking events to adapt to professional life and plan careers.
  • Makers of Tomorrow: In partnership with Bosch, Kodluyoruz runs a MakersLab, for students (9-17) to learn basic coding and maker skills.
  • #KadinYazilimciAraniyor (#WomenDevelopersWanted): An online campaign that includes statistics, problems and solution ideas for a gender-free ICT sector.
  • Kizlarla Kodluyoruz Ideathon (Coding with Girls Ideathon): To inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM and develop solutions using technology to social problems (e.g. environment, disabilities, natural disasters, gender, animal rights). Their mobile app solutions are evaluated by Microsoft executives.
  • Esitter Kod (Equals: Code in partnership with Youth lives and funded by EMpower): Inspiring youth to pursue careers, particularly girls, by providing coding, electronics and robotics boot camp to students 12-16 from disadvantaged schools in Istanbul.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s third grant to We are Coding (Kodluyoruz) is supporting the development of two additional vocational training modules to reach at least 4,500 youth in Turkey.

You can support our work with Kodluyoruz (We are Coding) and our other grantee partners.

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