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Netflix Pathways Boot Camps Expand: Partnering with More HBCUs and New HSIs to Build a Diverse Pipeline of Tech Talent

Written by David Sutphen | Jennifer K. Henry on Jun 23, 2021

Related content: Diversity And Inclusion, Strategic Partnerships

Today, 2U and Netflix are excited to announce an expansion of the Netflix Pathways Boot Camps to more leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and also welcome two Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to the program.

Last fall, we opened registration for Netflix boot camps in Data Science, Java Engineering, and UX/UI exclusively for undergraduate and graduate students of Virginia-based HBCU Norfolk State University. Today, we not only extend our partnership with Norfolk State for a second academic year, but also expand the program to welcome Talladega College and Edward Waters College—two new HBCU partners in Alabama and Florida, respectively—as well as Virginia’s Marymount University and Texas’ St. Edward’s University, the program’s first two HSI partners.

This expansion builds on the success of the first Netflix boot camp cohorts, which just graduated last month. When the original cohorts began earlier this year, Netflix had a vision for bringing its product excellence together with the expertise of Norfolk State’s faculty and 2U’s industry-leading boot camps to help increase diversity in tech. That vision has now become a reality.

Marymount University

With the completion of their boot camps, Norfolk State students now have vital new tech skills, mentor advice, and career guidance in their toolbox to help them launch their careers. As Norfolk State President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston explained to us earlier this year, “Not only did this opportunity provide financial support, but what it really provided for our students was access and training and mentorship—and those things are game-changers.” Several of them landed a job or summer internship as a direct result of the program, including the three students featured below.

For the new Netflix Pathways Boot Camps, current students and alumni of our five aforementioned university partners will have the opportunity to apply for a fully online, semester-based, part-time boot camp in Data Science, Java Engineering, or UX/UI. Students accepted into a boot camp can take it for academic credit and—thanks to Netflix’s sponsorship—can participate in the boot camp without incurring any additional fees.

Edward Waters College

Improving Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity in Tech

While institutions of higher learning and companies both large and small have made progress over the past few years to improve racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in tech, the number of Black, Brown, and women engineers, data scientists, and digital designers remains frustratingly far too low:

  • Only about 1 in 10 employees at large tech companies are Black or Latinx.
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 8.7% of the more than 88,600 bachelor’s degrees awarded in the computer and information sciences field in 2019 went to students who identified as Black, and only 10.5% went to students who identified as Hispanic.

Women make up 47% of all employed adults in the U.S., but only 26% of computing-related jobs are held by women. And of that 26%, just 3% of computing-related jobs are held by African-American women and 2% by Hispanic women.

St. Edward's University

Developing stronger connections between higher education and the workforce is one proven way to help close persistent gaps in diversity, access, and opportunity. The expansion of our partnership with Netflix and Norfolk and the addition of four new university partners gives us the ability to reach even more students and expand career pathways into tech for historically underrepresented communities.

At 2U, we know partnership and innovation is how we make significant progress on these fronts. That’s why we’re serving as the bridge between a world-class company and world-class non-profit universities to help accelerate the careers of our future tech leaders. We’re joining forces and leveraging our shared expertise and resources in order to deliver truly holistic, high-quality, and relevant learning opportunities for the next generation.

Talladega College

Industry-Specific Skills-Based Curriculum + Seasoned Mentors + Expert Career Services

Built by Netflix engineers, data scientists, and UX designers, as well as 2U’s online learning development experts, the Netflix Pathways Boot Camp curriculum has been designed to advance students in the critical skills and knowledge they need to explore exciting and rewarding tech careers. Led by our university partners’ faculty alongside guest lecturers from the tech industry, these boot camps teach students market-relevant technology skills—and perhaps more importantly, how to apply these skills to real-world business solutions.

Students also receive mentorship opportunities with seasoned employees on Netflix’s data, engineering, and UX/UI teams, gaining industry insights and key learnings through regular mentorship sessions. Additionally, beyond the support they receive from their universities, students enjoy career and support services from 2U’s expert staff of advisors, who can help them become more competitive in the job market, navigate the interview process, and learn the soft skills to build a meaningful career.

Snapshots of Student Success from the First Cohort

The first cohort of Norfolk State students graduated this past May and reported overwhelmingly positive in-course experiences. The following three student snapshots offer just a glimpse into their overall feedback, as well as a taste of all the exciting possibilities and career success to come.

Software development was something I had kind of run away from. I thought, I’m probably not good enough to work on it. I definitely surprised myself during the boot camp. It taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to.
— Ogechi Ugonna, Norfolk State University Graduate Student, Class of 2021

Ogechi Ugonna, graduate class of 2021, Advanced Java Boot Camp

Interning this summer with Netflix as a software engineer; begins full-time job with Microsoft in September

Ogechi has a bright future ahead of her. Last month, she earned her master’s degree in Computer Science with a focus in Cybersecurity. Earlier this week, she began a remote summer internship with Netflix. And come September, she starts a full-time position as a support engineer for Microsoft. But software development wasn’t always in Ogechi’s future. Before Norfolk State, she was an IT specialist at Le Creuset of America, helping with hardware and software maintenance for all of the company’s stores in the U.S. and Canada.

“Software development was something I had kind of run away from, primarily because of fear, “ Ogechi says. “I thought, I’m probably not good enough to work on it, because if you mess up just one line of code, everything breaks. That can be a serious problem on a bigger scale. But at NSU, I wanted to face my fear head on. Signing up for the boot camp was me saying, alright, you’ve been studying computer science for two years now, let’s see what you know and take it a step further. Java is a language I had a love-hate relationship with, so I wanted to understand it better.”

Once she began the cohort, Ogechi found her Netflix mentor to be particularly helpful. “When I was feeling in over my head, she gave me the best project management advice,” Ogechi says. “She told me that sometimes when you look at everything all at once, you can get overwhelmed. She reminded me that, in technology, things won’t always go your way on the first shot. So don’t be too hard on yourself, and take everything piece by piece. I took her advice and before I knew it, I had my cloud project up and running. Her advice came at the perfect time and changed everything for me.”

“I definitely surprised myself during the boot camp,” Ogechi says. “It taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I am where I am today because somebody did something to pave the way for me, so I want to work where I can help people the way others helped me.”

It feels like Norfolk State is now that school—like, we’re the ones that partnered with Netflix. It was just amazing to get all that knowledge from such a huge company. The value shows through in how much work they put into the program.
— Amber Lewis, Norfolk State University Undergraduate Student, Class of 2022

Amber Lewis, undergraduate class of 2022, UX/UI Boot Camp

Interning this summer with Cox Communications as a market operations analyst

Amber is an incoming senior and Honors student majoring in Management Information Systems, which she describes as “a mix of computer science and business, so it’s like that middle ground.”

“UX/UI sounded interesting, as far as making a research plan to design apps and digital experiences to meet people’s different needs and personalities,” Amber says of her reasons for applying to the boot camp. “I thought, this actually applies to my degree, because if I’m going to work in the business world, I could use what I learn to reach different kinds of consumers. What I didn’t realize was how popular UX/UI was as a career, until I got in.”

“The boot camp definitely opened my eyes to UX/UI,” she says. “I found out how much I love prototyping—coming up with concepts from scratch using different tools, creating lo-fi and hi-fi versions of the design, and storyboarding too, because I really enjoy drawing. All three of our instructors—Ken West, Shyanne Ruiz, and Vincent Brathwaite—were very knowledgeable about the curriculum and UX/UI design. They really cared about their students by sending us resources, staying after hours to help us, and encouraging us to our full potential.”

For over a month now, Amber has been interning with Cox Communications, working alongside the vice president of operations. “I’m doing an innovation challenge that surprisingly deals with design thinking and UX/UI,” she says. “So that’s pretty interesting—and I can thank Netflix for that! I’m also working on a data analytics project that senior executives will eventually review and give all the different teams feedback on.”

“It feels like Norfolk State is now that school—like, we’re the ones that partnered with Netflix,” Amber continues. “We’re out there and on the map. It was just amazing to get all that knowledge from such a huge company. The value shows through in how much work they put into the program. We also had special activities, and they gave us a Netflix t-shirt that says ‘Strong Black Lead.’ People stop me on the street all the time and say, ‘Whoa, you work at Netflix?’ And I say, ‘No...but maybe one day!’ Thank you, 2U and Netflix, for partnering together to create such an informative boot camp for HBCU students to flourish in.”

A lot of companies I was interested in [interning with] were asking if I knew Java. So that’s one of the big reasons I took the boot camp, because I knew it would help me be more marketable in the future.
— Chloe Taylor, Norfolk State University Undergraduate Student, Class of 2022

Chloe Taylor, undergraduate class of 2022, Advanced Java Boot Camp

Interning this summer with Oracle as a software engineer

Chloe is also a rising senior at Norfolk State, whose interest in learning Java developed as she began applying to and interviewing for internships last year. “A lot of companies I was interested in were asking if I knew Java,” she remembers. “And I said, ‘Well, I know C++, which has some similarities to Java, and I’m a fast learner.’ But they always came back with, ‘But that’s not Java.’ So that’s one of the big reasons I took the boot camp, because I knew it would help me be more marketable in the future.”

Once she became a part of the cohort, Chloe says she was impressed with the instructors’ teaching style. “Mr. Griffin and Nateyana would do a combination of lecturing and hands-on learning,” she says. “And when we got to more challenging parts in the classwork or the projects, we could message them for help and they’d say, ‘Oh, just try this and try that, and see if that fixes your problem.’ So that was really helpful.”

Chloe’s Netflix mentor also had a major impact. “She told me she uses C++ in her job there,” she says. “She explained that system developers tend to use more C++ and app developers tend to use more Java. She gave me lots of other advice about the real world too—like how things work in the field, and giving me resources to help me figure out if I want to go to grad school right after I graduate or just start off in a job.”

With her summer internship at Oracle, Chloe is already deeply engaged in the work. “So far they’ve asked me to write some unit tests, which I did in the boot camp, so it wasn’t like that was foreign to me at all.” she says. “I felt good knowing how to already set up a test, that you need to ‘break’ certain things above it, and what criteria it’s supposed to pass. I also feel like I’m having an easier time reading code because of what I learned.”

When asked what her more long-term goals are, Chloe points to the West Coast, a place she’s never been. “I suppose my dream scenario is eventually getting a computer programming job in sunny California, at a company that’s flexible and modern and where everyone is treated equally.”


Get more details on eligibility, registration, and enrollment at For schools offering a Fall 2021 cohort, applications are due by August 3. Interested students are encouraged to apply early, as seats are limited. Eligibility requirements vary by school.

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