Posted July 1, 2022

Temple alumnus’ nonprofit pledges to diversify the tech industry

Sylvester Mobley, FOX ’07, founded Coded by Kids to prepare young people from underrepresented groups to succeed as technology and innovation leaders through project-based learning and mentorship.

 Image of Sylvester Mobley, a Temple University alum and founder of Coded by Kids.
Photography By: 
Courtesy of Sylvester Mobley
Sylvester Mobley, FOX ’07, founded Coded by Kids in 2013 to help young people from underrepresented groups excel in technology and innovation.

Business owner and investor Sylvester Mobley, FOX ’07, has been raising the bar on tech education opportunities for young people from underrepresented groups since 2013. 

Mobley, a native of Philadelphia, said he chose to pursue a bachelor of business administration degree with a focus on finance at Temple in 2004 because he wanted to stay close to home after serving in three branches of the United States military (Marines, Air Force and Army) for more than 12 years, including service during the war in Iraq. 

Years after graduating from Temple he set his sights on a new mission to start his own company for young underrepresented groups of people interested in technology and innovation economies, citing that there is an extreme lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in the tech industry.

In 2013, Mobley founded Coded by Kids, a tech education nonprofit organization that prepares young people ages 8 to 24 years old from underrepresented groups to succeed as tech and innovation leaders through project-based learning and mentorship.

“The mission is to prepare underrepresented young people for leadership positions in tech, with a focus on preparing them to start venture capital-backed startups,” he said. “There are very talented, high-potential people who are missing out on the opportunity to build scalable, high- growth companies, simply because of what they look like, their gender and where they come from.” 

Mobley said his responsibilities as the founder and CEO of Coded by Kids are split among managing and raising money, negotiating partnerships, hiring and recruiting, setting strategy, and managing performance to ensure that the organization is achieving objectives each year and for the next three to five years.

He explained that his organization focuses on young people who come from groups that, based on the data within the tech and startup space, would be considered underrepresented, including Black and Latino people, women, and people from the LGBTQ community. 

“We support young people who are in college, too,” he added.

Located at the University City Science Center on Market Street in Philadelphia, the Coded by Kids organization offers education opportunities particularly in software development, user experience, digital design, computer science, project management roles and tech startup-focused entrepreneurship programs. 

During the early years of building Coded by Kids, Mobley said it was about building relationships and partnerships, from meeting with teachers to meeting with parents at recreational centers. He noticed his company was finding success when more kids in the communities were showing up to his classes and schools started reaching out to him about forming partnerships so that the classes could be held inside of their schools.

“Getting that traction and seeing people valuing what we were offering is what told me that we had something that could work,” he said.

Mobley explained students from diverse backgrounds interested in tech have found success in taking his organization’s classes because it provides multiyear programs that follow them through high school, college and the job search. 

“We have multiyear programs and multiyear engagement because there’s far more development that can happen when you’re working with young people [for] multiple years as opposed to a two- or three-week workshop,” he said. “We have had several college students who have been taking our programs since they were in high school. 

“And if students are interested in working for our company, we have a development shop, so they can work as developers, designers and project managers throughout their time in college that serves as more learning and professional involvement,” he added. 

He said that his nonprofit also forms partnerships with other organizations, like the Franklin Institute, so that kids are able to register for Coded by Kids through them. He added that registration for Coded by Kids programs is also held online and at their headquarters.

In the future Mobley hopes to continue to grow the diversity of the tech industry by helping members of underrepresented groups find success within the tech industry. And he hopes students within his program are able to find success by building their own lucrative startup tech company.  

“Ultimately, I would like to see a startup with more than a billion dollars in value founded by a young person that came through our programs,” said Mobley. 

To register online for programs offered by Coded by Kids, visit their website: