Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in observance of the contributions, histories and cultures of American citizens who came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The official observance begins on September 15 to celebrate the independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively.
While overall diversity across career fields has expanded in recent years, there is still a long way to go within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. According to Pew Research Center analysis of federal government data, Hispanic workers make up 17% of total employment across all occupations, but just 8% of all STEM workers.
During this month, we're recognizing Hispanic people and their stories. Ricardo Martinez is a LaunchCode graduate who is now a candidate engagement manager on LaunchCode’s Impact team, shepherding new learners through the program. We asked Rick to share a bit about his experience thus far.
How would you describe your journey into tech?
My journey into tech started thanks to LaunchCode. I started my career in insurance and finance and one day I saw an ad for LaunchCode. It was an opportunity that I had to take to learn a skill set that was not easily accessible to myself, especially considering my non-traditional educational background. It is even more difficult for DACA recipients like myself, since we face numerous obstacles towards getting a degree.
While enrolled in LaunchCode's full-time course, I enjoyed challenging myself every day and the feeling of accomplishment of completing every assignment. After graduating, I decided to use my new skills to add services to my business, CentralJA.
While running CentalJA we focused on web development, digital marketing and software solutions for Spanish-speaking businesses as they transitioned during Covid. This work led to being named "Hispanic Advocate of the year" for 2021. This would not have been possible without LaunchCode to help me start my journey into tech.
“My wish is to see more Hispanic representation in tech, and I plan to play a role within my community to make that happen.”
— Ricardo Martinez
What does ‘Hispanic Heritage Month’ mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month, to me, means time for reflection upon my heritage. The word "Heritage" I think is implicitly put in there to remind people to think about their heritage, who they are and how they got to where they are right now.
To me, this month reminds me of the struggles my parents went through as immigrants and to be proud of the culture that I grew up with and share that same culture with my kids.
What does the future have in store for Hispanic tech talent?
One of my biggest hopes for the future is that there will be a large growth in the number of Hispanics in tech. Growing up I was never exposed to tech as a possible career choice; however, the longer I am in tech the more I have come to enjoy it.