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Cognizant Foundation grantee CodePath is democratizing the pathway to tech for underrepresented groups, including Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Pacific Islander, women, and low-income students. Its mission is to equip students with the confidence, skills, and industry access needed for the most competitive roles in tech, equipping them with the power to choose their career paths.

The organization envisions a future where enrolling in an elite institution of higher education is no longer the default route into the top tech careers, and instead, every aspiring college student has equitable opportunity. Through its partnership with Cognizant Foundation, CodePath has:

  • Served substantially more students, with year- over-year growth of 82%. Of the 3,300 students served in 2020, 69% identified    themselves as underrepresented minorities or came from low- income backgrounds.
  • More than doubled the number of university partnerships, from 26 to 60. It has forged new partnerships with large HBCUs, like North Carolina A&T, and HSIs, like Florida State University, and expanded its presence in several key systems, including the City University of  New York, the State University of New York, the University of California, the California State University, and the Southern University system.
  • Launched new Career Center offerings to connect students to more technical career opportunities. The center served more than 1,300 students in 2020, launched a technical mentorship program, grew its network of software engineering volunteers from 50 to more than 1,000, and hosted a dozen events, including a Virtual Career Fair that connected more than 500 students with 40 companies.

This work is having a real impact in individuals’ careers and lives, and ultimately, is transforming the face of tech. Specifically:

  • In a recent survey of 1,373 students who were admitted to at least one CodePath course in 2020, 60% had landed technical jobs or internships, of which 44% were with a FAANG company, Fortune 1000 company, or with a unicorn start-up.

  • 56% of first-generation students who’ve participated in CodePath now work as software engineers or SWE interns today.

  • Last but not least, 53% of CodePath students obtained their first technical work experience after a CodePath course.

The Cognizant Foundation recently announced a renewed $2.5 million investment in CodePath.

Meet a CodePath Student

Tony Murillo experienced homelessness more than a few times growing up in San Diego, and developed an early interest in computer science after stumbling across a “Programing for Dummies” book one day in the downtown library. He dug into programming in high school, eventually earning a spot in the computer science program at the University of California San Diego, where he’s now majoring in machine learning. 

“Computers and technology have been my saving grace,” he said. “The computer really kept me out of trouble.” 


But, despite Murillo’s passion and UC-San Diego’s strong reputation, getting his foot in the door at entry-level jobs and internships was a challenge before he found CodePath. At career fairs, the lines to meet recruiters were “absolutely ridiculous.” “If you were lucky, you would maybe meet—especially with having to go to work and class—maybe one or two recruiters that had already talked to thousands of kids,” he said. “It just didn’t lead to much.” 

CodePath was far more effective. After taking the organization’s 12-week Intermediate Software Engineering Fundamentals course, he secured a summer 2021 internship with Dick’s Sporting Goods, the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer. The internship will give Murillo an opportunity to consider how a sophisticated retail company like Dick’s might use tools like AI—and more than that, it will give him an opportunity to develop new skills and make new connections that will open more doors in his career. 

CBS This Morning Features CodePath

Watch a recent CBS This Morning piece that features CodePath and the organization’s work to increase diversity in the tech industry.

Header Image Photo Credit: Tony Murillo