FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
My mission is to make technology education and opportunity available to all, especially the underrepresented and underserved in the tech industry. I believe that with the technology revolution we are experiencing, we have an unprecedented opportunity to lift up historically marginalized people and make the tech industry more equitable, diverse, and inclusive. As an openly gay, first generation child of immigrants who became self-taught software engineer, this mission is personal to me. My bid for Forbes 30 Under 30 is about creating visibility for this mission and to inspire others who are passionate about education and diversity in tech. I have made this site to help you in your consideration.
Most notably, I am the Team Lead of Public Q&A at Stack Overflow, the world's largest online community of developers with over 50 million unique visitors monthly. Stack Overflow is the largest repository of programming knowledge in the world, and is an indispensable education resource to programmers through its community-driven question and answer (Q&A) platform. I was one of two people of color who were engineers at Stack Overflow when I joined in 2013, and in 2018, I became the youngest person and the first Asian person to become Principal Developer at the company. Since then, I've become the engineering manager responsible for making Stack Overflow's core Q&A knowledge product more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.
In my past work, I've led the team responsible for Stack Overflow's Annual User Survey, the world's largest survey of developers in the world with nearly 100K responses. My work on the survey has uncovered deep inequities in the technology industry at large, and we've made that data open and available to researchers around the world.
I am also the main developer responsible for redesigning Stack Overflow's core question asking experience in 2019 with the Ask Question Wizard (AQW), the biggest change to our core Q&A knowledge product since the company started. Stack Overflow has a reputation for being unwelcoming to new developers learning to code, affecting women, people of color, and other minorities disproportionately. There are several unspoken rules about asking a question on Stack Overflow, and when new users ask questions that violate these rules, users react swiftly and harshly with unfriendly comments, downvotes, and other behaviors that discourage people from participating. As many developers' first experience with the technology community, these reactions may turn people off from coding at all. The changes I led were designed to guide users step-by-step through the process and lower the barrier to entry for a new, more diverse generation of developer to participate. Since AQW was released, over 750,000 new programming questions have been asked, resulting in 20% fewer unfriendly comment responses, a 20% lower chance of bad quality questions being asked, and a 6% increase in good quality questions being asked.
In addition to my project work, I lead multiple diversity & inclusion efforts at Stack Overflow, serving as the point of contact for organizations like Girls Who Code, Andela, and Out for Undergrad. These efforts include hosting several office panels for new developers entering the industry, speaking at several conferences on diversity and inclusion, and leading multiple free education programs with an international reach.
Outside of Stack Overflow, I am also the founder of Out in Tech U, an arm of the non-profit Out in Tech. Out in Tech is the world's largest non-profit for LGBTQ+ tech professionals, with over 30K members worldwide. I founded their youth program, called Out in Tech U, and I am responsible for starting their flagship mentorship program. In this program, we connect LGBTQ+ youth under the age of 25 with LGBTQ+ tech professionals as mentors over an eight week program. This program includes weekly one-on-one mentorship sessions and several visits to the world's top technology companies, including Google, Bloomberg, and Amazon. Since I started the program in 2017, Out in Tech U has hosted over 50 events, connected over 750 LGBTQ+ youth and tech professionals in over a dozen cities across the country, and generated over 10,000 hours of active mentorship in just over two years. This was all possible with the help of over 30 LGBTQ+ volunteers who have worked on my team and wanted to give back to the queer community - all for free.
I am the founder of Bento, a site that curates free tech education resources to help self-taught developers. Bento is designed to lower the barrier to entry for people who want to learn to code without a lot of money. When I launched in 2013, Bento was featured at the #1 spot on Hacker News and #6 on the front page of Reddit on the same day. My work at Bento attracted the attention of Stack Overflow, where I currently work. I maintain Bento on my own with my free time, and today it has over 125,000 registered users.
I am an Industry Advisor to the New York Tech Talent Pipeline (TTP). Started in 2014, TTP is a $10 million industry partnership started by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to bring local engineering talent from public schools into the technology industry. As an advisor, I worked closely with TTP to provide free bootcamp education to CUNY students, set standards for associate engineering programs at top tech companies, and even organized the Tech Leaders Summit - a conference bringing tech professionals passionate about diversity together to share ideas.
I am a founding organizer of Beyond Coding, a summer program I started in 2016 with Union Square Ventures that trains students on the professional skills they’ll need to launch their careers in tech. Together with companies like Foursquare, Codecademy, Etsy, American Express, and Tumblr, we skilled up over 200 students through a free six week program where students took practical courses hosted by tech companies each week. In addition to organizing the program overall, I hosted and taught a three hour course at Stack Overflow on Learning Beyond the Classroom, and led mock interview sessions for students in the capstone celebration at the end of the program.
Apprenticeships on the Rise at New York Tech and Finance Firms, Wall Street Journal, 2018
Stack Overflow’s Apprenticeship Program, NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, 2018
Jon Chan, Developer at Stack Overflow and Founder of Bento, Building the Next Billion Podcast, 2017
How to Become A Thought Leader in Software, Stack Overflow Blog, 2017
Stack Overflow and Andela partner to provide education beyond borders, Stack Overflow Blog, 2015
How to Become A Self-Taught Developer, Learn to Code With Me, 2014
Bento Showcases the Best Resources for Learning to Code, Lifehacker, 2013
Bridging the Gap Between the Developer and Recruiter, The Round NYC, 2019
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Stack Overflow, GitLab Commit, 2019
Hiring Diverse Tech Talent, NYC Tech Leaders Summit, 2019
Associate Engineer Roundtable, Spotify, 2019
Out in Tech U, Leadership Training Institute at PayPal, 2019
Pride Series: LGBTQ in the Tech Industry, Samsung 837, 2018
Inside the Mind of A Developer, Andela, 2018
Startups vs Big Tech, Out for Undergrad, 2018
Learning Beyond the Classroom, Beyond Coding at Stack Overflow, 2017
Power of Code Panel, Rutgers University, 2017
Union Square Ventures Diversity & Inclusion Summit, Union Square Ventures, 2017
Diversity & Inclusion in Tech Panel, LaGuardia Community College at Stack Overflow, 2017
Engineering Management, Stackup by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, 2017
Stack Overflow on Jekyll, JekyllConf, 2016
Building A Remote Engineering Culture, Agile Singapore, 2016
After Hours: Hello World, Hack Reactor, 2016
Stack Overflow Open Session, O’Reilly Media’s OSCON, 2015
Host, London Tech Week, 2015
Your First Engineering Job, Yale University, 2014
Product Management Panel, Twitter, 2014
Web Development Intensive Panel, General Assembly, 2014
Bento Lunch Talk, Codecademy, 2013