Professional Development
Events / Hackathons / Real estate / Software

With a Roe v. Wade-focused hackathon in tow, Ada Developers Academy is coming to DC

The developer academy, which already teaches DC students virtually, will be bringing an IRL campus to the area next year.

Ada Developer Academy students. (Courtesy photo)

This editorial article is a part of Tech Education Month 2022 of's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by Verizon 5G. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by Verizon before publication.

Update: This article has been updated after its initial publication to reflect the rescheduling of Ada Developers Academy's hackathon to Oct. 14th. (8/2/2022, 11:46 a.m.)

If you’re on the hunt for a career change in the coming year, you’ve now got one more developer academy to choose from: Seattle, Washington’s Ada Developers Academy is bringing a campus to DC.

The organization currently has an online option that DC-area students can access, as well as a small team in the region, but it will be opening an IRL campus in the district next fall. At Ada, students take part in a six-month course, where they are in the (virtual or IRL) classroom for six hours, five days a week. The Academy teaches full-stack development, covering Python, SQL, Flask, HTML/CSS, JavaScript and general computer science. The curriculum is completely online and open source, and students are asked to create a capstone project at the end of the course. They also can take part in a five-month internship program with tech companies and, after completion of the course, receive career development support such as interview coaching.

The tuition-free training program is open to all women and gender-expansive adults but primarily focuses on aspiring technologists who are Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+ or low-income.

CEO Lauren Sato said the organization wanted to build a physical campus in DC because it was looking for markets that had new tech growth, diverse populations and a large need for entry-level talent. She thinks it’s the same reason that tech giants such as Amazon and Boeing have recently made their homes in the DC area.

“We’re incredibly excited to get into that market and hopefully steer the talent development scene there before it becomes insurmountable,” Sato told

Ahead of its move to create a DC campus, Ada is also hosting a hybrid hackathon on Oct. 14th that covers the Supreme Court‘s recent overturn of Roe v. Wade. The organization currently has a large IRL campus in Seattle, is about to open another in Atlanta and also hosts students from California, Florida, DC and beyond via its digital campus. The event will thus be a mix of IRL and in-person components.

Sato said she’s particularly excited to get the DC-based team and students involved who are already part of the digital programming.

“They’re really living and breathing in this space, especially via these highly politicized issues,” Sato said. “So I am really, really excited to get their perspectives in the circle.”

With the hackathon, she hopes to get communities involved in using tech to take on social issues such as Roe v. Wade and educate others. She also hopes that the connections people make in the event will continue — especially as the fight for reproductive rights continues.

The current reproductive rights attack, she noted, not only hurts those who can get pregnant but also might have a huge impact on increasing gender equity in the tech industry as a whole. Women and nonbinary folks are already struggling to get into the tech sector, she noted, and unplanned pregnancy with no access to the healthcare they need might mean someone can’t pursue or switch into a tech career.

What hit the organization’s leadership the most regarding the decision, Sato said, is how many students will not be able to take part in Ada and other bootcamp programming because of it.

“It’s a self-perpetuating cycle where technology could really help solve some of these challenges,” Sato said. “But until there are women at the table building the technology that they need for their bodies and their lives, it’s not going to be representative.”

Series: Tech Education Month 2022

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