There are many amazing career opportunities in tech - it's a rapidly growing industry representing the progressive jobs of the future. So why is Black representation in tech so low? Take Google for instance. In 2014 Google, along with the other US tech giants, published its first diversity report which reported that only 1.9% of its workforce was Black. Despite announcing a $150 Million dollar commitment to improving diversity in their organization, progress has been slow - in the six years since publishing that report, Black representation has increased by just 1.8%, to just 3.7%.
Statistics are good to know, but they present a superficial picture of a complex situation. What the stats don't address are the "underlying structural racism and inequalities preventing Black candidates from reaching top positions or simply retaining a good job in tech" in the first place, and these structural inequalities are far too vast to outline entirely in this blog. As a start though, you can read personal anecdotes from Black people working in tech, where you'll learn about the mistreatment and discrimination that many Black employees at tech companies face.
Wells Fargo CEO, Charles Scharf, recently caused outrage by claiming that the bank finds it difficult to reach diversity goals because there is a “limited pool of black talent” to choose from. The outrage surrounding his comment stems from the fact that there is amazing Black talent out there and organizations who claim the opposite are either not looking hard enough, not diversifying their hiring strategies, or don't care to.
While Mr. Scharf's statement is far from the truth, the purpose of this blog is to shine light on an amazing organization called Black Boys Code, which is committed to improving Black representation in tech by introducing young boys of colour to computer science through coding workshops and other programs.
The organization helps Black youth develop critical problem solving and leadership skills in a collaborative and supportive environment, giving them tools and confidence to shape their own future, and to achieve the jobs of the future in STEM disciplines. Black Boys Code also recognizes the importance of having positive male leaders in one's life, and the correlation this has with one's own success. The organization brings Black male leaders together to offer mentorship and demonstrate representation for their youth, leaving lasting impacts on every child that goes through their programs.
To learn more about this fantastic organization, please visit their website, follow them on Instagram @BlackBoysCode, and consider making a donation so that more young Black boys can see careers in tech as a possibility, to help close the racial divide in the tech industry.