Skills for the 21st Century

Writing the Code to Rewarding Careers in Technology

  • Now and in the future, having digital skills can mean future financial success and meaningful employment. Yet, women are vastly underrepresented in this field.
  • Organizations like Women Who Code (WWC) are working to encourage and support development of female talent in tech careers. Capital One is partnering to help WWC achieve its goal: one million women in technology by the year 2019.
  • Also, Capital One volunteers are helping hundreds of young students across the country learn valuable skills that can put them on paths for high demand and rewarding tech careers. Encouraging young female students’ interest in this field is an important component of this effort dubbed C1 Coders.

Helping Women Succeed in Technology Careers

Having digital skills can be key to future financial success and meaningful employment, even without a college degree. That’s why Capital One is focused on helping people build the skills they need to qualify for 21st century jobs. We’re helping ignite a passion for software engineering and computer science in young people and encouraging young women, noticeably absent from this field, to consider this as a successful career path.

Partnering with Women Who Code

Last fall, Capital One and Women Who Code (WWC), a global non-profit, announced a strategic two-year partnership to support the development of female talent in technology careers and provide a space for women to network and discover employment. The partnership demonstrates Capital One’s commitment to women in technology and provides an opportunity to source, nurture and retain a diverse portfolio of top talent. Capital One is one of the 10 founding sponsors, among Google and Yelp.

Women in technology represent a small fraction of the overall technology landscape. “Only 18 percent of all undergraduate computer and IT degrees are achieved by women,” said Julie Elberfeld, Divisional CIO Commercial Banking and executive sponsor of Women in Technology, Capital One. “Women Who Code shares our mission of helping young women understand the importance of software engineering and coding, giving them a better chance of finding and staying in rewarding careers. With our financial support and executive mentoring, we hope we can help them achieve their ultimate goal: one million women in technology by the year 2019.”

Alaina Percival, CEO and Board Chair of WWC, echoes the sentiment. “We are at a critical point in our growth as an organization and the timing of this partnership could not be better.”

Building Future Software Engineers

To help close the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM education – Capital One created C1 Coders, a special 10-week coding curriculum for middle school students. Led by Capital One volunteers, hundreds of young students gain exposure to software engineering principles and practices. The students have the opportunity to get hands on experience learning software development, problem solving, and even develop their own app!

The program, which launched in the fall of 2014 at two schools in five communities – Plano, Chicago, Richmond, McLean and Wilmington – was so successful that we’ve expanded the spring program to four schools in Richmond and three schools in our other locations.

“Through C1 Coders we are filling a critical gap in our nation’s public and private schools by teaching students skills for the 21st century,” said Capital One Chief Information Officer Rob Alexander. “These students are learning valuable skills that can put them on paths for a high demand and rewarding career in technology.”

“It was amazing to see how quickly students were able to grasp these concepts in such a short amount of time,” said Ross Creasy, VP of Identity and Access Management, and executive sponsor of C1 Coders. “It was even more impressive to see how they were able to apply their new skills to develop and program some incredibly innovative touchscreen apps, many of which were created in just one or two days. These students aren’t future software engineers, they already are software engineers.”