Over the last several months I have pondered and questioned my intentions behind starting PMDojo and today I would love to share this story with everyone.
Meaning of inclusion in tech
Diversity and Inclusion in tech is a big problem. Before we can understand and address diversity and inclusion, something that is even more critical to understand is how accessibility and belonging fit in this problem space. For me, diversity and inclusion in tech cannot happen unless:
I still remember feeling alone and a misfit when I was the only kid in Grade 2 who signed up for the Computer Club. In undergrad, I was one of the few girls in Computer Science. The situation was not too different when I moved to the US to pursue my master's. Only this time I saw something else adding to me feeling like a misfit. I was the only person of colour (POC) and a woman of colour in my class. This trend continued at work and was no different in my last role when I was also the only woman in an Executive role besides being the only POC at the table. BUT diversity in tech is more than the imbalance of women in tech alone. Unfortunately, this is not just my story; rather a story of every person from a woman, underrepresented community or ability.
Barriers to breaking into tech
Every so often I hear from people who get discouraged about transitioning into tech, building on their idea, starting their own venture or side hustle. Why? The most common barrier stems from the perception of someone not fitting the typical stereotype of a person in tech. When I hear phrases like below is when I fear that the notion of "Accessibility", "Inclusion" and "Diversity" are threatened instead of embraced.
❌ I am too young or I am too old to work in tech
❌ I am a woman
❌ I am a new mother and so a gradual return to work is not going to be entertained
❌ I am not a developer so am I still considered to be working in tech?
❌ I do not have a CS degree and hence I am getting rejections from roles
❌ I need to have a technical background if I want to apply as a Product Manager
❌ I need to have big names of tech companies on my resume to stand out
❌ I need to find internships or roles in FAANG companies
❌ There are no other roles in tech besides being a Developer
❌ I don't have time
❌ I need expensive certifications to break into tech
❌ I don't have prior experience in tech so I will not be considered (the classic chicken-egg problem)
❌ and this goes on
In fact, the barrier for someone from non-traditional or non-tech background wanting to transition into tech is extremely high. With PMDojo I want to change this. PMDojo's mission is to continue removing barriers and make transitioning into tech careers more inclusive and accessible.
So how is PMDojo doing this?
Breaking into tech from a non-traditional background is challenging. Although you can always read books, articles, join boot camps or be self-taught, it can feel overwhelmed and lonely. Moreover, traditional forms of learning and other programs rely on generic case studies or cookie-cutter projects.
Emerging technology is reshaping the world of work from automation, business models, AI and more. In midst of all of this, no-code technologies are rapidly changing our world, workplace and job hunting process.
"The future of coding is no coding at all.” - Chris Wanstrath, CEO at GitHub
Some of these trends that are no longer novel and are already here are:
How products are getting built
How Designers, Developers and Product Managers collaborate at the workplace
More and more developers are adopting no-code platforms to innovate further
Increased collaboration between R&D and business teams resulting in downstream improvements of internal operations
Improved agility and speed to validating or launching ideas and products
This means that soft skills, ability to collaborate with people from all across the organization will be key. This means that you need to more than writing specs or requirements, delivering a feature and the typical agile practices. The real-world workplace is different and continuing to evolve. This means that there are better ways how we might optimize or automate business processes, radically change how we validate product ideas or build them, how we get actual users before spending all the $$$ in hiring a huge development team or how non-technical founders can kickstart their ventures without jumping to quickly to find a technical partner or a CTO. We can see how this also means that job seekers looking to transition into a non-traditional background can now demonstrate to hiring managers the impact they have made in a matter of weeks without writing a single line of code.
This is why I started PMDojo. Making a career in tech more inclusive and accessible especially for people from non-traditional backgrounds or minorities who might not have access to the same opportunities of learning. At PMDojo our goal is to democratize learning and access to opportunities, mentorship and career growth.
I hope you can join me in this mission and I invite you to see this hope for a better today and tomorrow where everyone who desires to get into tech is able to irrespective of where they live, their background or personal situation!
PS: Sign up for the next cohort of PMDojo Accelerator here! The applications close soon and we only take 20 participants per cohort! See you there!