This will definitely not be the first article to reference that diversity within the technology industry is abysmal. This topic has long been widely reported on multiple industry websites, blogs and news outlets.
The current state of affairs is embarrassing and many tech companies are working hard to improve this. All that said, in many ways, I’m beginning to feel like a contrarian on this topic.
I’m actually optimistic about the future of diversity in tech, in the long-term.
Not only do I think things will continue to improve, but I think the pace at which it will improve will dramatically increase, very soon.
Time will eventually prove me right or wrong. We will see. But here is why I feel the way I do:
First, while minority & female representation in science and technology fields have lagged significantly in the last decade, the number of new entry-points are increasing and becoming more accessible.
For example, many colleges/universities are rapidly expanding computer science and technology courses. This comes by way of expanding existing programs to attract a wider base of students (women and under-represented groups) and in schools that previously didn’t offer such a curriculum, including in many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
This creates a pipeline that will extend into career interest. In addition to companies organically understanding the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, additional resources and outside firms are gaining traction to help them quickly adopt these new lessons.
As these efforts continue and show progress, a following increase in job applications, employment and ultimately industry influence by minorities and females in these fields will emerge.
This takes us to the second entry-point of progress: specialized recruiting. Outside of the dependence tech firms seeking out diverse job candidates, interested and talented candidates can now utilize innovative firms like Jopwell to get them in the door.
The second reason that I’m bullish on our industry’s progress is that there are countless examples of young, successful minorities doing extremely well in our space. Their stories, examples and accomplishments will undoubtedly motivate a new generation of under-represented groups.
A few impressive individuals who I follow (and you should too) and who motivate me, include:
- Everette Taylor (@everette)
- Tristan Walker (@tristanwalker)
- Morgan DeBaun (@morgandebaun)
- Wayne Sutton (@waynesutton)
- Jewel Burks (@jewelmelanie)
- Paul Judge (@pauljudge)
just to name a few. And trust me, the list goes on and on.
The stories of these folks will create a new path for other aspiring and emerging female and minority entrepreneurs, software engineers, designers, marketers and brand builders.
In addition, there are some really amazing technology blogs that highlight the challenges, journeys and successes of female and minority entrepreneurs, engineers and executives. This perpetuates the progress, inspiration and motivation. Some of my favorites are:
- http://blavity.com/ (not entirely tech focused, but often highlights relevant tech stories)
- And yes, even older publications like http://www.blackenterprise.com/technology/
So yes, I think things are getting better. To be clear, I dismiss/reject any argument of the notion that we should do nothing and let things work themselves out.
I commend, encourage and directly support many efforts of companies and people that push for a more diverse tech industry. But I do remain positive.