“Black Boy Joy” Coding Camp Seeks To Change Representation In Tech

A non-profit organization in Houston is hosting a free five-day coding bootcamp for Black boys. Powered by Microsoft, the program hopes to increase Black representation in the tech field. 

Mission Transformation, a mentorship-based organization that works to develop, empower, and inspire young boys to excel in academics, is calling the program Microsoft “Black Boy Joy” coding camp.

Sincere Williams, 13, said it’s cool to talk about coding and it’s a challenging opportunity for him to turn his artwork into something more. 

“I don’t think people consider it nerdy anymore,” he told KTRK-TV. 

“It’s definitely a difficult task,” Sincere said. “I couldn’t get past the movement part of it. Animations are easy, but the movement part is what I was confused about. Coding and all that.”

Sincere didn’t waste any time signing up when he met Mission Transformation’s CEO Julius Baylone. He learned about the coding camp and got on the list right away.

“When I got the opportunity, I was like ‘Shoot, this is good timing,’” he said. “I honestly wasn’t doing anything else with my summer.”

According to KTRK-TV, data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission shows the lack of Black representation in the high tech sector. Black people account for 14% of the field with only 5% occupying executive positions. 

Baylone told the news station he’s passionate about raising those numbers through his camp.

“It’s a really lucrative and life-changing industry that can really help them build legacies and really build great wealth down the road,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for them, if continually exposed to it, to really change the world in unique and dynamic ways through STEM.”

Sincere said he feels “More Black people should be doing this type of thing, in my opinion,” he said. “More Black people should be able to do anything they like to.”

The virtual camp, available for Black boys from ages eight to 16, will be facilitated by Microsoft professionals. It’ll take place Aug. 9 through Aug. 13. Register here

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