Why should you as a woman of colour, consider a career in tech?
Why should you consider a career in a field very popular for persistent challenges to women generally?
Why should you get involved in a field that is known to be non-welcoming to women of colour?
A field that has chancy support structure?
Well, despite the negative stats surrounding tech, there is no better time to be here. We all know there is no path really easy for women of colour.
Women of colour are leading the charge in entrepreneurship. They are using a wide range of technology to shift the culture across various industries. They are spreading their magic to make a difference in and through tech. Despite not having easy access to funding, numerous women of colour are doing incredible things in the tech space.
Tech is a field where creativity, research, discovery and innovations can be used to solve very pressing world issues. Information technology is one of the fast growing industries with more jobs available than graduates. It may not be an easy field but it can richly reward your mind, heart and purse.
Currently, there is paucity of women in tech careers. Gender equality is a major issue in the corporate world and women remain underrepresented.
Here are some Figures
According to a 2019 study from the National Centre for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), number of women in computing has been stagnant at 25% since 2007. They also revealed that proportion of women in tech has dropped since 1991.
Only 12% of all women in computing roles are Black or Latin according to the Kupor centre. Even worse in Silicon Valley, only 2% of all workers are black, latin or native American women.
Though companies are making efforts to improve this figure, it still remains disappointing. Although the percentage of African American Black women in computing profession rose to 12.9% in 2017, more women have been leaving the tech careers than staying.
Also, according to the ascend foundation on the career and economic progress of minorities in top tech companies, the number of women of colour in tech profession dropped by 13% in 12 years.
Workplace diversity statistics reported 71% men and 29% women at leading tech firms with 7% black representation.
Women of colour who make it into tech may have non-welcoming workplaces because of the low representation of women of colour. Those present are low cadre staff with limited opportunities for advancement.
Employees of colour have to deal with explicit and implicit bias. Women in colour are therefore leaving tech jobs for these reasons and more. They are challenged at almost every stage and have little likelihood of success. One way to curb this trend is for more women of colour to join the field.
As more women of colour start careers in tech, the idea of non-white female software engineers or data scientists will stop sounding weird.
Also, as more women of colour become common and not an anomaly, they will increase confidence that these careers are accessible for them. The numbers may seem currently bleak but if you are a black women interested in a career in Tech, this post is for you.
Here are five reasons you should consider a career in Tech
1. Valuable Relationships
In the Tech industry, you’ll find people who will add value to your life. This is because the field contains all sort of people who are looking to learn and share their knowledge with others. It will give you a sense of belonging. It will also make you a part of those striving to create something in order to make the world better. You will be surrounded by brilliant, like-minded people.
The stats available reveal that very few women of colour are present in tech.
Only 23 of 3,300 LinkedIn employees in 2015 were black Americans and none held senior positions. Similarly, google employs 250 black women out of 32, 500 according to their 2014 EEO report without senior staff representation. These numbers don’t mean that the industry isn’t ready for black women to join the executives.
More women of colour who are willing to push and challenge the status quo can increase representation. Your participation can motivate more women who are currently unwilling to enter the male dominated industry.
Lack of representation will leave women of colour without role models or support system.
Read also: Five Subtle Ways Women of Colour Sabotage their Tech Careers
3. New, Unique Ideas
As a woman of colour in tech, you’ll offer the industry fresh, unique perspectives and ideas. People of colour have different interests and you can bring this in to reach new audiences. Artificial intelligence system can be designed to see a wider population by ensuring that systems are designed properly, to have diverse development team made up of people from different economic and social backgrounds.
More so, the tech industry gives you the opportunity, tools and resources to make your ideas a reality. Therefore, as a woman of colour, you can take responsibility and risk to accomplish goals. Changing the industry from inside will add more women of colour, change the frat-bro culture and make the industry diverse, more inclusive.
4. Tech Careers Are Abundant
Apart from the big five Companies (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google), much more tech companies abound. Many companies such as Nike, Verizon, etc are looking for tech talent. The government also has a lot of Tech job companies.
5. More Support Available
There are a lot of organizations available to help women of colour gain skills for tech jobs. They also provide social and economic support for women of colour to thrive.
Also employers are becoming more and more aware of the importance of creating diversity and inclusion programmes to impact their business competitiveness.
As you go through the journey, be confident that you are worthy and deserving of a seat there. These reasons and more should spur you to consider having a career in tech.