Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Curriculum


#1

freeCodeCamp due to it’s popularity is in the unique position of influencing countless new developers. I think that adding a diversity and inclusion in the workplace section to freeCodeCamp’s curriculum would be a good idea and could have positive effects across the tech workplace. Diversity and Inclusion starts with us as developers working to remain diverse and inclusive of others, education is a factor in this and should be considered. What are your thoughts on this?


#2

I agree with you and think it is an important step for educational organizations to take. What did you have in mind in the way of the curriculum? And, what concerns have users of the site had?


#3

Tricky issue, but it should be considered added to the curriculum. Obviously the diversity issue is very volatile, especially considering the firing of a Google employee for writing a memo about diversity (you can read the full thing here: https://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320).

While diversity is something noble to strive after, including and pushing it in the curriculum creates several challenges.

  1. Pushing a diverse workplace inherently discriminates against those who aren’t “diverse”. Hiring a woman over a white man simply because he is a white man and she is a woman is not diverse - it is discriminatory. Sometimes diverse workplaces can become too diverse or authoritative and do not allow for any differences of opinion which are necessary to run a functional workplace. I don’t necessarily agree with everything the Google employee said, but I think he has a right with freedom of speech to have an opinion and speak his mind. If we are so striving for a diverse workplace, why do we fire those who have a slightly different opinion? Here’s some of the things he said:

Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.

  • This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
  • The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
  • Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
  • Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
  • Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership. Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.

I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more. However, to achieve a more equal gender and race representation, Google has created several discriminatory practices:

  • Programs, mentoring, and classes only for people with a certain gender or race [5]
  • A high priority queue and special treatment for “diversity” candidates
  • Hiring practices which can effectively lower the bar for “diversity” candidates by decreasing the false negative rate
  • Reconsidering any set of people if it’s not “diverse” enough, but not showing that same scrutiny in the reverse direction (clear confirmation bias)

We can argue scientifically whether or not males prefer working in tech than females. What we shouldn’t do is create an exclusive environment where only our “morale diversity views” are accepted.

  1. Should freeCodeCamp become involved in political issues such as diversity and net neutrality? I would say no. I feel that the focus of freeCodeCamp curriculum should be to provide high-level programming training. If we push certain political ideas, we run the risk of becoming politically correct and authoritative, and losing the main focus of what we originally intended to do. I think the freeCodeCamp forums is a great way to introduce and discuss these important issues, but should we really push in our curriculum political and moral/ethical viewpoints that will differ among everyone? If we take the stand of promoting diversity, then we, like mentioned by the quote above, have the potential to create an ideological echo chamber where we push our agendas, not programming. In this diversified un-diverse workplace, opinions, political correctness, and beliefs take precedence over what is really important - teaching the world how to code.

Diversity is important. I don’t think we should teach it. Let organizations like Mozilla work towards the open internet. We should work on teaching people how to code. Again, I don’t have a problem with diversity, I just feel that it would start a political and ideological motive that would pull us away from doing what is really important.


#4

Agreed, this topic is ever more important these days. Not sure it can be a “coding challenge” or could be required or be in the curriculum itself, but it might be good to have a YouTube series on the freeCodeCamp channel or a series in the forum or guides as a place for others to come to if they are interested in the topic.

However, as another has pointed out above, I agree that this topic shouldn’t necessarily be embedded into the curriculum itself as the curriculum is about gaining skills, rather than being the holistic answer to working for a company.


#5

I think if it’s included in education new developers will be less likely to have various forms of bias in the workplace since they are aware of the risks and know how to stop it. Most of the time bias is subconscious (people don’t really think about it) and not intentionally malicious so teaching developers how to avoid it is an important step to take and will help reduce the bias.

It’s going to take time to make well researched curriculum, what we don’t want is freeCodeCamp to get bad reputation like Google did for allegedly inaccurate information.

To be honest, I do not know.

Again this is why we have to be VERY CAREFUL with what we publish as it will seen by countless individuals and affects the public’s opinion of freeCodeCamp. A lot of people of people could see one tiny mistake and turn it into an “I’m angry at freeCodeCamp Blog Post”.

I agree with that and it needs to be addressed in the curriculum in a safe manner.

Sure we can use scientific evidence however there are ALWAYS OUTLIERS so saying group A is better than group B in a tech job simply isn’t acceptable because of outliers (it’ll discriminate against the outliers in the group). My point isn’t to make a gender bias curriculum but a curriculum about maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace, it’s not focused on any specific group, but rather on making sure every group is included.

They are already involved in net neutrality as it directly affects them - freeCodeCamp has already shown with their public behavior and publications that they are willing to discuss political issues and I think this is a good thing as long as it’s done in a safe way that doesn’t take sides.

They have discussed net neutrality however I haven’t seen them publish anything on diversity. freeCodeCamp shouldn’t ignore this issue as making the workplace diverse and inclusive starts with us as developers and freeCodeCamp has the ability to help make it happen.

freeCodeCamp teaches developers what they need to know to be successful in the workplace, you need to know how to be inclusive of others in the workplace and freeCodeCamp is in a great position to get this started.

Of course it can’t be a coding challenge - nor should it be required - however the education should be offered for those who want it. A guides series or youtube series would be a great way to implement this.

I think the knowledge is needed to be successful in the workplace - knowing how to work with people from different groups is important and it should be included - even as something optional but it should still be offered to campers.


#6

I can get behind this idea if its a part of a broader series of information about collaboration in the workplace, but not so much if its singled out.


#7

Diversity and Inclusion is already a very broad subject with so much to discuss. I do agree that focusing on how to collaborate with others is also important and that information could be included. Right now this idea is just in discussion - there are so many ways to implement it. I’m looking forward to everyone’s ideas and feedback :slight_smile:


#8

Its not that broad though, not really. Like Isaac’s mind, and I think most anyones mind would first go to…okay this is about including / accepting women in tech… the broadest it gets is to say under represented people in tech, which moves on to include minorities and those who are older. Its a pretty pointed subject though…diversity in tech is pretty much another way of saying women.

Theres already so much being talked about all over all about diversity and inclusion…as important as it is, and heck, Im a 40yo black woman I hit every single base in the underrepresented category so its in my best interest…but I worry about the people who need to hear it the most feeling like everywhere they turn its getting shoved down their throats and serves to only intensify their negative feelings towards all of it and in turn actually do more harm than good.

If its a part of an overall series that includes diversity and inclusion, and not just specifically limited to diversity and inclusion, I think the topic would be viewed a lot more favorably


#9

I’m not interested in writing curriculum about gender bias - this would be about all groups - and it’s not only about representation but it’s about working successfully with people in other groups and being inclusive of others. It’s very broad once you dive in deep.

It needs to be discussed in depth and I think we could make a successful series on it. Including just one page on things isn’t enough it needs to be discussed in depth to have an impact. I’m not saying to require it for certs but I’m saying we could make a YouTube Series or Guides series.


#10

I read somewhere on the site that fCC stands out in a lot of ways. The age range of users is impressive as well as the ratio of men to women. I agree that it is important to allow for freedom of speech.


#11

Do you mean a series of workshops? What would be a few subtopics? How would you present them?


#12

A series of either articles or videos. Not sure of subtopics yet. Either textual articles or videos. As coding challenges don’t apply here.


#13

Focusing on the curriculum also sends a message. Prioritizing collaboration inherently says to new users that diversity and inclusion are the norm at fCC. There is therefore little need to state the obvious.


#14

As for FCC, I feel this subject should be as far away as possible. FCC is to learn code. Keep it about code. It’s naive and not fair to FCC to expect them to build a section for this. Diversity and Inclusion will ALWAYS be a topic because we’re human. Humans are flawed. Human emotions are dynamic and unpredictable. Having free will is a blessing and curse. Free Code Camp doesn’t seem to have a problem with diversity and inclusion, so why create one. Google for example, fired an engineer for his beliefs. Was he wrong, depends on who you ask. He has some very valid points but at the same time, did he think his memo was something people already didn’t know? He became bad for business, so he had to go. Let’s be honest, Google firing him for this is hypocritical. The only thing we can do as an individual is practice this when we do get to the workplace.


#15

Would you argue that the gender gap in the tech world is mainly because woman in America are not interested in tech? Why are 90% of nurses woman in America? Why is it that a majority of American schools are taught by woman? Is it because of social norms, or because woman gravitate toward careers focused on social interactions and nurturing careers? Why do men gravitate towards other careers? Why do men gravitate towards watching sports and woman do not? These are all very interesting questions.

I think diversity is great, but I think we sometimes reach a point where one group is trying to force something that may statistically be unnatural in regards to average personality traits between the sexes.

Maybe woman do love tech? Maybe they are put off by the already male dominated field? If people have a large scale questioner given to woman about their thoughts on “would you want to be a programmer”, I’d love to read it, but I’m thinking the lack of diversity is just due to social reasons mainly.

No, I think free code camp should focus on one thing, and do it well: teaching programming.


#16

Anyone who wants to use FCC can use FCC. Nobody is being turned away due to their race, ethnicity, sexual preference, religion, etc…

Please don’t turn a very positive fun experience like FCC into a social justice warrior safe space. Take the identity politics and the Marxism elsewhere.

This is a cool site where like minded people, regardless of their background, can come together and learn to program. Don’t come on here to virtue signal and stoke racial/identity tensions.


#17

This is a can of worms, that fCC should probably not open up.

It would end up being a no-win scenario (just like Google, damned if they do, damned if they don’t). Google is just a microcosm of the US, now imagine a global audience like fCC with members from different countries, with different cultures, different beliefs. You’ll end up saying one country’s belief is better than another and well — it’s just a no-win situation. This thread will grow to thousands of views and hundreds of post, and in the end it will accomplish NOTHING and maybe just alienate some members.


#18

We have published lots of articles on Medium from authors arguing for inclusivity. We are also planning a series of educational YouTube videos titled “Working in Tech” that may touch on some of these issues.

This said, the freeCodeCamp core curriculum itself is focused on coding. So this would fall outside of the core curriculum.

The only non-education issue the freeCodeCamp as a community has taken a formal editorial stance on is Net Neutrality. And in my opinion, Net Neutrality is an issue surrounding education and access to information. And even then, we have not added anything about Net Neutrality to the core curriculum. We are just writing about it on Medium and tweeting about it.

Since this is a “can of worms” as several people here have mentioned, and it’s unlikely to go anywhere, I’m closing this topic.


#19