Free computer developer academy just for women

SEATTLE -- Tech companies in Seattle say it's a huge problem -- they don't have enough women working for them.

Well now they're doing something about it. They've helped create a free developer academy just for women and they're about to graduate their first class.

"This really jump started my career," said Sue White, who was in college in Iowa pursuing a biochemistry degree when she realized something.

"I was looking at careers in biochem, but I wasn't really excited about them, even though I loved natural science," she said.

So she left school and took a chance on a new program a long way from the Midwest.

The Ada Developers Academy is an intense year of training just for women to teach them much-needed computer programming skills and get them into what has long been a male-dominated workplace.

They celebrated their first graduating class Tuesday evening.

"Their average salary they're being offered is about $75,000 a year. A year ago many of them were working in retail or as waitresses and they were making maybe $30-$35,000 a year, so they're literally doubling their salary by going through the program," said Susannah Malarkey, Executive Director of the Technology Alliance, which oversees the project.

Companies like Amazon, Nordstrom, and Expedia are behind the non-profit academy and they're eager to see it expand.

"Teams are much more effective when you get about one third women on them and that's hard to do when there's only 15 percent in the workplace, so we really need to step it up," said Ted Bardusch, VP of technology at Marchex, a company that develops mobile advertising platforms.

Sue White recently accepted a job at Zillow as a software engineer, and this time she's much more confident about her decision.

"I feel very secure," she said.


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