The Self-Taught Economy: Open Access and Inclusion in the Tech Industry
This project asks, “Can access grant inclusion?” The author will explore this question in the context of open-access coding platforms that allow people to be self-taught coders. The technology sector is notoriously exclusionary, and computer science degrees are difficult to obtain because of the high cost of college, among other factors. Could open-access training platforms create a path for individuals from underrepresented communities of color to take advantage of the explosive job growth in the technology sector? This project will address these questions by combining survey data with in-depth interviews and observations of those who have participated in a specific learn-to-code platform. Preliminary findings indicate that the open-access platform does not aid those who have been excluded from high-quality jobs in the tech industry. The project seeks to understand why open-access training platforms are not leading to success. What barriers do female applicants or applicants of color face in job-seeking? This research will be especially informative for efforts to address job quality and wage stagnation by advocating for worker training. If completing worker training does not lead to the desired outcomes, then policymakers need to understand those programs as only part of the solution and identify necessary complements.