It Pays To Get Your Kids To Learn To Code, Says Microsoft Recruiter For HBCUs

Written by Dana Sanchez

In case you missed the recent 500 Startups Unity and Inclusion Summit (Atlanta) at TechSquare Labs, we’ve got you covered. was in Atlanta for the event, which provided a forum for some of the newest ideas around reversing inequality in tech. This is the fifth in a series of Moguldom videos from 500 Startups Unity and Inclusion Summit (Atlanta), June 10, 2017.

Tech internships pay some of the best salaries anywhere, and some 19-, 20- and 21-year-old students from historically Black colleges and universities are now in opportunities where they’re earning around $8,000 a month.

Students who start to code at age 13, 14, and 15 are coveted in the market, said Matt Poole, a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta who was recently hired by Microsoft as a recruiter at HBCUs.

Young coders are getting hired at Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft — tech companies that are paying $90,000, $100,000 and $110,000 as starting salaries for engineers, Poole said.

Poole works with Tech Square Labs, an Atlanta incubator, seed fund and coworking space. Through the Opportunity Ecosystem HBCU@SXSW program, he helped bring 100 students from HBCUs to this year’s SXSW event. It’s part of an effort to help increase diversity and inclusion in the innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem.

A handful of Black students who attended this year’s SXSW tech, film and music event in Austin received internships and full-time opportunities as a result of the connections they made there, Poole told on the sidelines of the 500 Startups Unity and Inclusion Summit (Atlanta) at TechSquare Labs.

For college students, internships are experiences that can make or break a career. Some experiences are better than others.

Internships that pay $8,000 a month are not everyday opportunities, Poole said by way of a reality check. “They are really rare,” he said, “but we’re giving those opportunities to Black and minority students that would never have opportunities like that.”