Diversity Blog

Diversity and Inclusion Workshop Prepares Veterans for the Tech Workplace

The tech field values hiring and supporting diverse teams now more than ever. Top tech companies are increasing their inclusion efforts and hiring people from more varied backgrounds. Research shows that diverse software engineering teams more creatively problem solve and develop products that better serve their customers.

Because of this trend, diversity and inclusion training is an important part of Code Platoon’s Full-stack Software Engineering Bootcamp. Emma de Silva, a Code Platoon graduate and software engineer with DRW, talks about her own Code Platoon diversity and inclusion training experience.

The tech industry is highly sensitive to and accepts all types of differences,” Emma notes. “We are educating our students to be equally sensitive and accepting.” 

Emma leads a two-part diversity and inclusion workshop for each Code Platoon cohort. She approaches diversity and inclusion training openly and candidly. 

“The best way to learn more about other people is to talk to them,” Emma says. “Become friends, learn about their life, and above all, have empathy. Put forth the effort to look at things from a different perspective.”

Emma’s workshop teaches students the vocabulary surrounding diversity. Emma also guides students through discussions and exercises to get them thinking about their own identities. These conversations show the students how their personal backgrounds fit into their future workplaces. 

Students are invited to share past experiences of insensitivity they saw during their military service and how they felt in those instances. Emma also describes workplace inequity scenarios and challenges students to create solutions. Building on these scenarios, students consider ways to maintain and increase inclusion in their own lives and in the software engineering industry.

“People have been fired and lost job offers due to insensitive comments or actions,” Emma explains.

That said, diversity and inclusion training helps students with more than just getting and keeping jobs. Research finds that teams with diverse members are smarter, more creative, and able to solve more problems. A 2019 McKinsey & Company study also shows that employees in diverse workplaces tend to be more engaged, rate their work culture more highly, and are happier and feel more confident in their abilities. 

Emma even has personal experience from her own Code Platoon journey.

“Code Platoon provided a great environment to unlearn a lot of the anxieties and negative things I felt about myself,” she says. “I finished Code Platoon with a level of confidence in my identity that I didn’t have going into the program.

“It’s a big reason why I love doing these workshops. I believe it makes a difference. And I know firsthand how other people respecting your identity and accepting you can make such a huge difference in your life.”

Diversity and inclusion are important in the tech workplace. As such, they are part of Code Platoon’s Beyond Tech curriculum, which helps students transitioning from military service to civilian positions. Learn more about our Beyond Tech curriculum.

Kayla Elkin is the Marketing Content Specialist at Code Platoon. In this role, she utilizes her marketing, writing, and editing skills developed by previous positions in higher education and educational technology. Kayla has degrees in English and Sociology from Clemson University and completed the Study in India Program (SIP) at the University of Hyderabad. She lives with her partner in northern Chicago.

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