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  • Writer's pictureDevRelX Blog

Building a Welcoming Community in Tech

At DevRelX, we take great pride in supporting organisations and communities that contribute to the diverse and inclusive evolution of the tech industry.

This time we want to bring into the spotlight the Ada Developers Academy whose mission is to prepare women and gender-expansive adults to be software developers while advocating for inclusive and equitable work environments. Ada primarily serves and addresses the needs of Black, Latine, Indigenous Americans, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islanders, LGBTQIA+, and low-income people.

Gender diversity brings substantial benefits to individual companies and the tech economy at large. We can see more companies recognising the importance of diverse workspaces. According to SlashData’s research, as of Q1 2023, nearly a quarter of all developers (22%) self-identify as female, up from 19% two years ago.

Still, many companies struggle to recruit and retain diverse talent – that’s where Ada Developers Academy comes in. Ada Academy is a one-year, tuition-free coding school that fast-tracks women and gender-expansive folks into junior software developer roles. Through six months in the classroom and five months in an industry internship with one of our company partners, Ada students build the skills and experience they need to become developers. We develop engineers who are highly skilled and collaborative; graduates are experienced in practical, team-based software development and learning new technology rapidly.

The results of their work speak for themselves – 94% of Ada graduates are hired into full-time software engineering jobs within six months of graduation.

Meet Katherine Abrikian

Katherine is an Ada alum and fills her spiritual cup through volunteerism and community ties. She builds up new coders as a mentor to incoming Adies and creates lasting relationships from city to city.

Strong community ties and giving back can fuel your spirit – because when you’re around your people, something just clicks. Community is different for everyone. It can inspire, empower, or be a springboard for innovation. Helping not only feels good, but it can also make a difference. Build connections with your local organizations and get involved today. You never know the power of your contribution.

Deepening Connections in Community Roots

Share with us how you are currently involved with your community and what that means to you.

Community involvement has always been important to me. Everywhere I go, I seek out opportunities to deepen community connections, give back through volunteerism, and show up for others. My family and I have moved three times in the past three and a half years, so my community involvement has been, at times, virtual, allowing me to maintain connections, and at times in person, in forging new connections. We moved into our current neighbourhood about a week before the school year started this past August.

In applying to Ada, I was particularly drawn to Ada’s model of collaborative support. I’m continuing to deepen my ties with my new communities. I’ve volunteered at my son’s school, and I’m grateful to be active in supporting fellow Adies outside of the mandatory classroom requirements (facilitating review sessions, helping to think through blockers, providing a listening ear) and receiving their trust and support in turn.

Making time for cultivating community and giving back outside of the 9-5 work schedule can be exhausting! What inspired you to get involved? What keeps you coming back or pushing forward?

There’s a certain spiritual nourishment that comes from being part of an active community where you give, but also, when you begin to feel depleted, you can receive something in return. That something received can vary a lot. It might be the vicarious joy of a community member’s personal or professional victory. It might be some sort of direct support.

One recent reaffirming moment for me occurred during our first week in our new neighbourhood. My family and I stopped in at Everyday Sundae and were immediately granted the gift of community. The owner welcomed us, saw our toddler, and took the time to invite us to a community event for children that was coming up soon. Whenever we stop in there now, we chat and deepen that connection. For me, it’s these sorts of connections that help to make a place feel like home. I’m determined to do my part in that work, pay the kindness given to me forward, and multiply that kindness in the world.

Why does community building bring you joy?

About two months after starting with Ada, I heard about Black Code Collective from a member of the Ada community and joined. It’s been such a blessing to have this community of Black tech workers, where we can talk about the issues that concern us, from the purely professional to the cultural. I went to a meet-up in December, and we took up a full third of the bar we were meeting in. Seeing so many Black people with connections to tech in one space was so powerful. Being an active part of that community absolutely brings me joy.

What organizations would you like to share with folks to learn more about?

Black Code Collective – supporting Black joy and Black progress in tech

Everyday Sundae – amazing ice cream, feels like coming home

Any other thoughts you’d like to share about being a volunteer, finding your community, or anything else?

Community connection got more difficult during the pandemic in some ways, but it’s still possible. I message and call mentees when we can’t meet face-to-face; I’ve facilitated group sessions virtually. Connecting with people who don’t have a lot of resources gets even tougher, but if everyone is committed and sees a benefit, it can work. In terms of finding a community, if you’re already established in the community, and you see someone new, please reach out to welcome them and see what commonalities exist. Everyone has to start somewhere, and feeling welcomed is a huge leg up. You can connect with Katherine on LinkedIn.

Since our founding in 2013, Ada has served over 1,000 participants and generated $50M in new salaries for women and gender-expansive folks in the tech economy, narrowing gender and racial equity gaps in one of our most prosperous and influential sectors. Learn more at


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