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What It’s Really Like Being Black in Tech

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When you think of the world of technology, you probably don’t immediately think of black people. After all, how many African Americans are working in tech? And what do they do? Well, the truth is that even though there are more black employees in tech than ever before (and more women too), it’s still not a welcoming place for them. 

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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 as a black talent if you’re considering a career in this challenging but fantastic industry.

The Numbers: How Underrepresented Are Black People in Tech?

 Black People in Tech
Source: Freepik

Black tech workers make up roughly 3.7% of the workforce. Why is this important in the tech space? 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 black candidates. The issue of diversity in tech is important for several reasons. 

First, major tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Microsoft are missing out on potential talent. For one thing, people of color are more likely to be interested in tech. So if companies are more diverse, they’re more likely to receive applications from black tech professionals. 

Another reason is that people of color 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 strong workplace culture 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, especially in the tech workforce. This makes being black in tech a tremendous journey to pursue. When equity prevails among colleague peers, they feel welcome and respected. They are also more likely to stick around for long.

Why Is There a Lack of Diversity in Tech?

 Black People in Tech
Source: Freepik

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. In the tech space, for example, someone might assume that black people are less competent than their counterparts. 

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.

Read also: 6 Black-Owned Tech Platforms Building Digital Communities

Where Does the Problem Come From?

All tech companies are different, but some traits are common in all workplaces that can create a barrier for people of color in tech. For instance, tech companies are often white-dominated, so black people might feel that they can’t speak up. 

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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 color from pursuing a tech career and prevents inclusion.

Why Is Diversity Important to Companies?

 Black People in Tech
Source: Freepik

Companies need to hire diversely to be more successful. For example, companies need 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. 

However, 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 organizations are more likely to solve problems in innovative ways.

The Biggest Barrier to Entry Might Be You

If you’re a person of color, 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 as any other employee. You might have to overcome unconscious bias, but you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to anyone by default. 

How Do You Get Involved?

If you’re interested in the tech industry and want to learn more, don’t spend huge money on expensive courses and programs. Instead, get involved in your community where black workers meet to encourage each other. You can learn a lot from volunteering or working in a non-profit or 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. You can also use your influence to fight systemic racism.

Being black in tech can sometimes be uncomfortable but can be rewarding. Diversity is important for many reasons especially in tech because it can lead to innovation. And innovation is what drives progress. You should set a personal goal and encourage yourself every day to get there. You could become a tech leader in Silicon Valley one day who knows?

For big tech companies that want to stay ahead of the game, you need to diversify your teams and be open to people from all walks of life. There should be a lot of conversation about racism in Corporate America if we want to eradicate structural racism. 

If you’ve experienced obstacles as a black professional in tech, share your story in the comment below about how you overcame them. This will go a long way to motivate any person of color in tech.

People also read: 10 Organizations That Pledge Full Support to the Black Tech Community

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Abdul Rashid Sani
Abdul Rashid Sani
Abdul Rashid Sani is a talented and experienced Growth and Content Manager with a passion for writing and building relationships. With a strong background in SEO content writing, paid search and social, and content marketing, he possesses a diverse set of skills that make him an asset to any team. In his free time, Abdul is a huge soccer fan and enjoys writing in his spare time. He is dedicated to continually improving his skills and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in his field.

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