Ada Developer’s Academy Closes Tech Gender Gap

Ada Developer’s Academy is an intensive software developer training program for women in Seattle. We talked with program coordinator Becca Lee about how a free PipelineDeals bootstrap account is helping Ada bridge the gender gap in technology.


What is Ada Developer’s Academy?

Ada Developer’s Academy is a tuition-free software developer training program for women. It’s  a pretty cool opportunity, a year-long intensive program. By the time women leave, they’re really well versed and ready to jump into a career.

The program is funded by sponsoring companies, such as Redfin, Nordstrom, and Expedia. They commit to having a mentor involved in the program for the six months of the classroom portion and then having a student come and do an internship at their company. Sponsorships pay for the program and even provide students with a monthly scholarship to keep them afloat while they’re in the program since it’s so intensive.

Tell us a little about your growth path.

Ada was founded by the Technology Alliance, a non-profit organization that focuses on creating a vibrant technology-based economy in Washington state. We have a lack of skilled laborers to fill all of our technology jobs. There’s something like a 20,000 job gap, as well as a big gender gap.

The first cohort of Ada students started in late October of last year. They’re in the middle of their internships right now. We’re working on securing sponsorships for our second and third cohorts, and that’s how we’ve been using PipelineDeals.

Why did you decide to try a PipelineDeals bootstrap account?

 Ada was founded, in part, to address the labor and gender gap in high-tech in Washington State.
Ada was founded, in part, to address the labor and gender gap in high-tech in Washington State.

Previously, we were tracking all of our sponsor outreach on a really-not-well-organized Google Doc spreadsheet. It was very hard to keep good track of what was going on. We were looking for something to streamline what we were doing and make it more effective.

The process of securing sponsorships can be lengthy. A lot of it starts with relationships the Technology Alliance already has. We also have people that reach out to us, and we do dedicated outreach when we identify a company that might be a good fit. We’ve had a couple possible sponsors that have been in the works for a few months, but probably won’t get on board until our third cohort.

How is PipelineDeals helping your business?

It’s been huge for helping us organize things better. We’re able to get a quick snapshot of where our progress is with outreach and sort it by cohort 2 or cohort 3. We can set reminders when people ask us to follow up with them later. We can also keep track of who is doing what, which was difficult when we were using the Google spreadsheet.

Have you learned anything that might be helpful to our readers?

 Ada developers intern at companies like Redfin, Zillow, LiquidPlanner, and more.
Ada developers intern at companies like Redfin, Zillow, LiquidPlanner, and more.

Persistence is key. Also, it’s helpful to have a point person keeping everyone on track and making sure people are staying up to date. We have a lot of people helping out as part of a much larger set of responsibilities. Even with PipelineDeals, it’s good for us to check in with each other directly on a regular basis.

What’s next for Ada?

So far, the companies where our students are interning have been really impressed with the work that they’re doing. We’re hopeful that a lot of our students will come out of their internships with job offers, and we don’t think any of them will have trouble finding jobs as junior developers.


PipelineDeals offers an unlimited free account to any bootstrap (self-funded) company in the world. Having made it through our own tenuous early years as a bootstrap, we created this program to support other companies that have the gumption to build themselves the old-fashioned way—one dollar a time. Learn more about free bootstrap accounts.