Contxto – Cry no more. If you ever dreamt of becoming a front-end developer, but never had the opportunity to do so, now may be your time. In fact, Platzi and Facebook recently launched something that might interest you. There’s a catch, though. It is not for everybody.
Platzi and Facebook partnered to develop a more diverse and equitable ecosystem in Latin America. In this new coalition, the two companies will grant around 1,000 scholarships to people with scarce programming knowledge to learn web development skills.
The main goal of the program is to help folks achieve higher living standards, better jobs, improved wages, and overall better professional opportunities. On top of that, it aims to further boost the interest and talent of the tech industry in the region.
Interested participants can apply here between June 24 to July 21. Candidates will learn about their selection on August 5 with programming beginning August 9 and ending in January of next year. While courses will be held entirely online, there will be interactive alternatives for students and professors to engage.
According to El Financiero, Christian Van Der Henst, Platzi’s co-founder and COO, said that the program is mainly focused on front-end development skills. No previous coding experience or knowledge is required since you’ll learn everything from scratch.
“The program goes from the basics – you can start completely from scratch without having any prior programming knowledge,” said Van Der Henst. “You start with a basic programming course, then we teach you how to start working with your computer. For example, putting all your projects on the internet in a free place where people can learn about your progress, your web development code, and responsive design allowing your applications to work anywhere.”
Another intention is to nurture participants’ professional development.
“We will also explain to students how to prepare their social networks for work,” added Van Der Henst. “We will provide technical English courses so they know the idioms and how to communicate with a casual English that programmers use, as well as a course on how to get a job at a technology firm or as a freelancer.”
People from all across Latin America can apply. However, there are three requisites to be eligible:
- Have access to any internet-connected device, such as a laptop or tablet.
- Not be enrolled in other courses or be affiliated with an institution
- Prove that you are a minority within the tech industry. This means someone who has scarce access to education or belongs to a minority group. These include women, migrants/refugees, Afro-descendants, LGBTQ, rural or indigenous populations, etc.
“This initiative focuses on giving the opportunity to regional innovators via expanding educational opportunities,” said Susana Tuli Cipriota, Facebook’s leader of Product Alliances Latin America.
“We develop local talent so companies can find better-qualified candidates, which economic growth reflects. It targets minorities underrepresented in technology in Latin America. If we bring this technology to them, they will generate creative resolutions to problems while increasing diversity and innovation.”
According to Cipriota, there’s a clear lack of professional diversity across the region, especially in the tech industry. She believes, and I agree, that as more money starts flowing into Latin America, talent is going to be crucial for uncapped growth. This is especially true since more Latino “unicorns” are on the rise, demanding more and more talent.
This is not something they’re working on for the short-term only. Cipriota says that as innovation and employability levels improve, new products, companies, and industries will be created. In term, sustained socioeconomic growth is the real long-term goal of this program.