Ada Developers Academy: Diversifying Tech

Ada Academy


At Nordstrom, we have long been committed to fostering an inclusive culture, which starts with supporting a diverse workforce. Of the many ways we search for talent in technology, we are particularly proud of our partnership with the Ada Developers Academy. Ada is a highly immersive, tuition-free program that combines classroom training and a paid, learning internship to teach women and gender diverse adults both how to write code and become a software developer.

Our involvement with Ada began as a grassroots effort started by a group of employees in our technology organization that believed in the value of diversity in technology at Nordstrom. We started in 2014 by hosting two interns in our first cohort, and as the value of Ada and its students spread throughout the organization, so did our commitment. 

While Ada students get hands-on experience at Nordstrom, we get back an incredible talent pipeline. Over half of all the interns we've hosted now have full-time jobs here. In fact, of our last cohort of six students, four of them accepted job offers with Nordstrom and one accepted a return internship with our spring technology internship program. To date, we've hosted 11 cohorts and 39 interns, 23 of whom still work for us in addition to numerous other Adies we hired that didn't intern with us.

"From the beginning as an intern through now as a senior engineer, Nordstrom has provided me a supportive space to grow my skills and confidence in my new field. My teams, coworkers and the company as a whole really took the time to invest in me, which is a big part of why I'm still working here five years later," said Kat Patke, a software engineer in supply-chain and 2015 Ada graduate. 

Last week, we were honored to extend our partnership by hosting the first-ever Ada convention, Adiecon, a one day experience dedicated to past and present Ada students and allies to learn from their collective experiences. Our very own Cynthia Tee, VP of technology and former Ada executive director, opened the day with a keynote speech.

"Attracting, hiring and retaining diverse talent enable us to be more innovative and better serve our employees, customers and communities Ada helps us do that," said Cynthia. "Ada interns are often individuals starting a second career, so they bring a diversity of experience that helps set us apart both with their talent and unique perspectives."

Our 12th cohort started yesterday and we couldn't be more excited to continue investing in our partnership with Ada.