Christina Wu didn’t take the traditional path to software engineer.
“I’m seeing that I don’t necessarily need all these degrees to do this sort of work,” said Wu, who was previously on staff at a school and is a classically trained musician.
“I think engineering is about finding creative solutions to problems and that can be applied to very different fields,” said Wu.
She knew she wanted to make the transition to software but wasn’t sure how.
“I had been looking at different bootcamps online to do after work, but I found that a lot of them were extremely expensive,” explained Wu.
An Instagram post led her to a unique scholarship program for underrepresented individuals through a startup named Tech Elevator and Niantic, the company famous for Pokémon Go.
Wu was one of twenty given a free, 14-week coding bootcamp and she’s now in the middle of a 6-month apprenticeship with Niantic.
“The goal for my apprenticeship is to eventually create my own game,” said Wu.
“It’s really important for us at Niantic to have a company that is diverse in every single way possible,” started Jyarland Daniels, Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Niantic.
Niantic’s next augmented reality game, called Peridot, launches May 9.
“We want to make sure that as this technology is being developed that all voices are being represented,” said Daniels. “If we are going to inspire people to explore the world together that’s all people that’s coming together and that’s what this program allows us to do.”
Now, Wu is well on her way to finding a new path in the tech world.
“I think it would be great for other companies to offer it just because it attracts a very diverse group of people and I think to solve a lot of problems that your company may face that it’s great to have different people that can think in different ways,” concluded Wu.
While Niantic hasn’t yet released details on a potential next round of scholarships, there are other opportunities for tech scholarships.
Here are some places to look for a program that might fit your needs:
AnitaB.org’s Apprenticeship Pathway Program
National Center for Women & Information Technology
The Hispanic IT Executive Council