Motherhood is a challenging job by itself, and for many mothers that's not the only job they do. The number of working moms has increased dramatically over the past half century. A 2015 report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee found that in 1975, less than half of all U.S. mothers worked outside the home. Four decades later, more than two-thirds of mothers are in the workforce.
But finding work isn't always easy. Additionally, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have found themselves without a job. That's especially true for mothers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 10 million mothers with school-aged children weren't working in January, 2021 —a number that was about 1.4 million higher than a year earlier, before the pandemic hit.
Many moms are hoping to get back to work. RizeNext, an organization in Utah, hopes to help accelerate that process. RizeNext recently launched its TECH-MOMS program, which introduces mothersto computer programming. The goal of this initiative is to get more moms in the labor forceand help them make an impact in the growing tech industry.
Why Focus on Women in Tech?
The computer science and information technology industries are booming. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the tech industry will grow by 11% from 2019 to 2029 —a rate much faster than the average projected growth for all jobs. That growth would lead to the creation of more than half a million new tech jobs over that time period.
Despite a growing number of opportunities, women remain grossly underrepresented in tech.
However, despite a growing number of opportunities, women remain grossly underrepresented in tech. According to RizeNext, women make up 22.5% of the tech workforce across the nation and only 15.2% of the tech workforce in Utah, where TECH-MOMS is based. Ultimately, this causes the tech industry to suffer — a greater diversity of perspectives would help lead to more innovation.
For many women, learning programming and computer science skills isn't just a way to even out the gender gap in the tech industry. Mastering these marketable skills can help women launch secure and well-paying careers.
What Programs Do TECH-MOMS Offer?
TECH-MOMS runs two established programs: one in Lehi through Utah Valley University Community Education, and another in Ogden through Webster State University. Students meet for six hours on Saturdays over the course of two months. TECH-MOMS offers childcare services for those classes, so mothers don't need to worry about finding a babysitter.
Students build a network of peers and meet tech leaders through panels and guest lectures.
Students learn foundational coding knowledge, but not advanced programming techniques. Many individuals go on to enroll in more intensive coding bootcamps after finishing the TECH-MOMS program to expand their skills further, or they may opt to gain experience through apprenticeship-type positions after graduating.
Either way, students build a network of peers and meet tech leaders through panels and guest lectures. This network can help students get their start in the industry.
What Is the TECH-MOMS Latinas Program?
RizeNext recently began offering TECH-MOMS Latinas — a program that specifically targets Latina women. Located in Lehi and offered by Utah Valley University Community Education, this course teaches the same skills as the Lehi and Ogden tech programs, but it focuses on educating the Latina community.
Frequently Asked Questions About TECH-MOMS
- Is a college degree needed to enroll in TECH-MOMS?
TECH-MOMS does not require participants to hold a bachelor's degree before they begin the program. The admissions committee considers students with relevant work experience instead of an undergraduate degree. However, TECH-MOMS notes that individuals are more likely to find tech jobs if they already hold a bachelor's degree.
- What types of women generally participate in TECH-MOMS?
The women who participate in TECH-MOMS generally fall into one of three categories: career switchers, mothers who took a break from the workforce but are now interested in returning, and entrepreneurs with start-up ideas who want to understand technology better before launching their business.
- What are the next steps for graduates after they complete TECH-MOMS?
After graduating, many students connect with RizeNext partners that can help them gain on-the-job experience. Other students take more advanced courses or bootcamps, which can help them build a professional portfolio.