When you think of the world of technology, you probably don’t immediately think of black people. After all, how many blacks are working in tech? And what do they do? Well, the truth is that even though there are more black workers in tech than ever before (and more women too), it’s still not a welcoming place for them. That doesn’t mean they can’t succeed—far from it! But as difficult and scary as it can be, being black in tech isn’t always smooth sailing. Here are things you need to know about being black in tech if you’re considering a career in this challenging but fantastic industry.
The Numbers: How Underrepresented Are Black People in Tech?
Black professionals make up roughly 3.7% of the workforce in tech. Why is this important? Well, if tech companies are looking to grow, they need to hire and train new workers. But even with high demand, many companies struggle to find qualified candidates. The issue of diversity in tech is important for several reasons.
The first is that these companies are missing out on potential talent. For one thing, people of colour are more likely to be interested in tech, so if companies are more diverse, they’re more likely to receive applications from these groups. Another reason is that people of colour and women in tech are more likely to see inequities in their companies. And when they do, they’re more likely to speak out about it.
Why does this matter?
Diversity is the key to building a strong, healthy and innovative workplace. It’s not enough to have a diverse team if they don’t have a lot of different experiences. Companies with a diverse team are more likely to be successful because they have a broader perspective and a richer set of skills.
What’s more, a company with a diverse culture is more likely to attract and retain talent. This makes being black in tech a tremendous journey to pursue. When employees feel welcome and respected, they are more likely to stick their around.
Why is there a lack of diversity in tech?
One of the biggest reasons for a lack of diversity in tech is unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is when people evaluate people or potential outcomes based on stereotypes – for example, a woman might be assumed to be less capable than a man. This can affect hiring decisions and also how people interact with each other – for example, someone might assume that a black person is less competent than someone from another race.
There are also other reasons for the lack of diversity in tech. For example, the cost of studying computer science has increased, making it less accessible to less well-off people. Also, people might not be aware of the diversity opportunities in tech, so they don’t apply.
Where the problem comes from
All tech companies are different, but there are some traits that are common in all workplaces that can create a barrier for people of colour in tech. For example, tech companies are often white-dominated, so black people might feel that they can’t speak up. This can make some of them feel uncomfortable or excluded, which can affect their work and their attitude. As a result, black people in tech fail to excel in their roles. This discourages people of colour to pursue a career in tech.
Why is diversity important to companies?
Companies need to hire diversely to be more successful. For example, it’s important for companies to hire a diverse team because it gives them a broader perspective and a richer set of skills. Also, companies with a diverse culture are more likely to attract and retain talent.
But the biggest reason for diversity is that people from different backgrounds and experiences bring a different set of skills to the table. This means that organisations are more likely to solve problems in innovative ways.
The biggest barrier to entry might be you
If you’re a person of colour, there are a few things you should know before you apply. First, it’s important to know that you have to work just as hard if you’re a person of colour. You might have to overcome unconscious bias, but you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to anyone by default.
How to get involved
If you’re interested in the tech industry and want to learn more, instead of spending money on expensive courses and programs, just get involved in your community. You can learn a lot from volunteering or working in a non-profit, or you can also attend workshops, conferences and career fairs to meet people.
If you want to get into tech, start by looking into the companies around you. Do you have a tech company nearby? Do you use a certain app? If so, try to ask the people who work there about their experiences.
Being black in tech can sometimes be uncomfortable but can be rewarding. Diversity is important for many reasons and is especially important in tech because it can lead to innovation. And innovation is what drives progress.
So, tech companies that want to stay ahead of the game need to diversify their teams and be open to people from all walks of life. If you’re interested in the tech industry, don’t let race hold you back. There are plenty of tech jobs out there where you can succeed. And remember, there are also lots of resources available to help you get there.