Frequently Asked Questions About Techtonica


What is your one-sentence description of Techtonica?

Techtonica partners with tech companies to provide free tech training, living stipends, and job placement to women and non-binary adults in need in the Bay Area.


What makes Techtonica different?

We offer underserved, diverse populations an opportunity to be involved in a long-term, tuition free, full-time program that prepares and places students in the software engineering field without having to worry about financial instability. The main differences between us and other programs are:

  • Our students are local, low-income women and non-binary adults, preventing more displacement and empowering the people who really need tech skills
  • 71% of our students so far have been people of color
  • Our program is free for students
  • We cover our students' living and childcare costs
  • We are a nonprofit, so donations are tax-deductible
  • We provide laptops
  • Our program is six months long instead of just three​
  • Our program ends with a job and professional connections in the industry
  • We expose students to a variety of roles in the tech industry, not solely the role of software engineer—our goal is to find great fits for our students and help them support themselves and their families
  • We encourage students to be leaders in the community
  • We organize intro coding workshops with local organizations to reach the local community
  • Our program is more age-inclusive—it's not just for young adults
  • We provide ongoing support to our graduates
  • Partner companies are involved in criteria, curriculum, and mentoring
  • Our curriculum is open-source
  • We provide diversity and inclusion training to the teams that our graduates will be placed onto


What do “genderqueer,” “non-binary,” and “femme” or “femme-presenting” mean?

Genderqueer and non-binary are terms that describe people who do not identify as men or women. “Femme” refers to people’s appearance. A more traditionally-feminine appearance is considered femme.


What is Techtonica looking for in students?

We are seeking students who can show consistent responsibility, resilience, commitment, and interest, among other criteria that our partner companies work out with us.


I'm interested in being a student in your program. How do I sign up?

At this time, we do not have an open application process and our students are recruited through our community organization partners and workshops we organize with them.


What is Techtonica looking for in companies?

We are seeking companies that are interested in increasing diversity and social impact, committed to learning about and encouraging inclusion, supportive of junior engineers, etc.


What is considered low-income?

For most area nonprofits:

For a family: less than $39,000 annually

For an individual: less than $24,000 annually

For Techtonica:

Less than $50,000 annually


Is there an age limit?

Adults, ages 18 and up


How long is the students' training?

Our full-time program is full-time, Monday through Friday, for six months.


When does the first class start?

In May! Sponsoring companies must commit to sponsor in April.


Where will classes be held?

The classes will be held in San Francisco—we are currently looking for space, possibly at a sponsoring company.


Which subjects will be covered? What does the curriculum cover? What level of training do you provide?

The curriculum covers mostly web development (full-stack JavaScript), but we also do sections on other skills useful in tech, such as project management, UI/UX design, and data analysis. Sponsoring companies have a say in what should be added or improved upon.


Why don’t you just take a cut from students’ salaries following the program?

We believe in empowering underrepresented folks, rather than placing an additional burden on them.


Why does your program end with job placement?

Being underrepresented and without connections in the tech industry makes it very difficult to find a job. Companies are working to increase diversity, and underprivileged locals are seeking employment, so why not help each other?


What are the sponsor levels and benefits?

See our sponsorships page.


Do sponsors get to select students for employment?

Advocate-level sponsors are involved with the training and curriculum, so they get to know students over the span of the six months. Around the fifth month, companies and students rate each other and we do our best to align you so both sides are happy.


What topics are included in the diversity and inclusion training for sponsors?

Implicit bias, privilege, allyship, empathy, inclusion vs. diversity, apologizing, tools for inclusive hiring, why policies are important, giving actionable feedback, etc.


Are my donations tax-exempt?

Yes. We are fiscally sponsored through Social Good Fund.


How do I donate?

Thank you! You can donate once or regularly via our PayPal page or by writing a check to our fiscal sponsor, SocialGood, adding "Techtonica" in the memo section, and mailing it to SocialGood, PO Box 5473, Richmond, CA 94805. Please send us a message when you donate so that we know to check with SocialGood.


What else can we do besides sponsoring and hiring students?


Where did the name 'Techtonica' come from?

Our founder Michelle Glauser liked the idea of Techtonica being a "tonic" or "solution" for tech and a technical solution for neighbors in need. She also likes the "moving and shaking" that the name implies. The A at the end just fits, you know?