An Open Letter to Students Curious About a Career in Tech:

Close up on two students working together on a computer.

We understand that it can be daunting to decide what you want to study in college, and even more intimidating to choose a career path. We want to help.

Written By
Amy Furman, Director, Break Through Tech New York
  • Guild
  • Programs and Initiatives

First, ask yourself these questions: Do you have a favorite app, blog, or website? Have you ever wished that your computer or phone worked better or did something differently? Have you ever had a big idea but aren’t quite sure how to implement it? Are you constantly solving problems for your friends or family?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then tech could be a fit for you. Not sure how to get started? That’s where we come in. 

Like our program partner Upperline Code, we at Break Through Tech believe talent is everywhere. Our annual Summer Guild program is a chance for you to explore what tech is all about, before you make any commitments. Join us for a week this summer to uncover all of your hidden talents for coding and computing, designing and debugging (aka problem-solving), teaming and dreaming – all of which are, essentially, the building blocks of “tech.” 

Summer Guild is free and we’ll provide additional support like laptops, wifi access, and a stipend to make sure you’re able to participate successfully. In just one week, you’ll get to develop your own website, meet some professionals currently working in tech, and explore coding, product design, and user experience research. No previous experience with computer science is required (really – none!), and there are only a couple of things that we are looking for:

  • CUNY students who are entering their first or second year of school;
  • especially women (trans and cis) and nonbinary students; and,
  • especially students who identify as currently underrepresented in the tech sector – Black, Latina, Indigenous, low-income or a first-generation college goer.

CUNY has seen amazing growth (145% to be exact) in its technology graduates over the past few years; however women still comprise only about 20% of those students. That disparity only increases when considering race and ethnicity; for example, only about 4% of technology degrees are being awarded to Hispanic/Latina women, despite them accounting for 18% of the CUNY student population (Center for an Urban Future). 

We know that CUNY and the tech industry will benefit from your unique perspectives, talents, and experience. We hope you’ll join us this summer.

Apply Now

But you don’t just have to take our word for it. We asked a few of our students what they would tell a student, like you, wondering if they should apply to Summer Guild:

Ida Touray (she/her/hers) majoring in Computer Science at The City College of New York and graduating Spring 2022

“I’d tell them to go for it. When I was first applying, I was scared. I was like, ‘what if I’m no good.’ I went with zero experience and I came back with the basics (html and a little javascript). I’d recommend everyone to go even if your major isn’t computer [science yet]. We had people who were majoring in completely different fields and they still benefited from the experience… When I put Summer Guild and [my Sprinternship at] Peloton on my resume it made me feel more confident to apply to other things. Even if I didn’t have other experiences they were looking for on a job description, at least I knew a bit of javascript and html. It made me feel confident enough to apply.” Read more here.

Chrystal Mingo (she/her/hers) majored in Computer Science at The City College of New York and graduating Spring 2021 

“I truly believe in the saying ‘everything happens for a reason.’ The idea of pursuing a career in tech was never something I grew up even knowing was a career path, because Anguilla thrived off of the tourism industry. Therefore, I never met a computer scientist, yet here I am… it was the Break Through Tech program that kept me grounded in my pursuit of a degree in Computer Science. It began with the Summer Guild immersion, where I learned so much, and met amazing people. From design thinking, to learning HTML, CSS, and creating our idea IT’S LIT NYC with engineers from AppNexus [now, a Xandr company]. That experience, that moment of just having fun, and solving a major problem made me feel so empowered… I am grateful I applied because it was the best 2 weeks of my summer, and on top of that I got to buy my college school supplies and take my mom out for dinner. Truly that Summer Guild Program, helped me gain new friendships, opened so many doors…. The summer guild program served as a monumental moment in my life that reminded me that I belong in tech.” Read more here.

Annmarie Gajdos (she/her/hers) majored in Computer Information Systems and Management of Musical Enterprises at the Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College; graduated Spring 2020

“No matter what career path you are currently considering, take the risk and apply for a Break Through Tech program. You have nothing to lose, but so much to gain. The skills I learned through Break Through Tech helped me grow both professionally and personally. Technology permeates every aspect of our lives, especially in the wake of COVID-19; Break Through Tech teaches women how to capitalize on this. Summer Guild was my first introduction to design thinking. I learned how to think outside of the box, while getting the chance to prototype my ideas. I was given the space to let my imagination roam freely. I was also forced to work in a team setting from the onset of the program. This prepared me for college, where group projects consumed the majority of my workload, and taught me how to work with those who are different from me.” Read more here.

We hope you’ll join us this summer so that we can be a part of your tech journey too! Learn more and apply here before Friday, May 14.