EXCLUSIVE: According to a report, Black women represent only 1.7% of the tech industry’s labor force.
Black women are leading the charge on the revolution to increase representation in the technology sector.
Latoya Elder and Sherrell Dorsey have developed mentorship programs and literary resources to help Black job seekers who want to pursue tech jobs without limitations.
“In so many situations, us as Black women, we weren’t told that we deserve to be at these tables. We weren’t even told that there’s room for us at these tables,” Latoya Elder, founder of Her Tech Unicorn told theGrio.
According to a report from Anita B, Black women represent only 1.7% of the tech industry’s labor force. To address this underrepresentation, Elder is connecting Black women with the goal of providing personalized career development. Within the Her Tech Unicorn network, women receive interview prep, career coaching and salary negotiation tips.
Elder’s main reason for launching the organization was to address what she saw as a lack of engagement from large companies.
“It makes me kind of angry to know that little old me with a little bit of resources and a little bit of money and a little bit of time, has been able to drive that kind of impact,” she explained.
Not only does Elder’s program prepare women for tech jobs, but it also helps secure them.
“We brought a tech company out, LiveRamp, that actually sponsored our event,” Elder explained. “And they did right there on the spot interviewing and ended up hiring people from my organization into six-figure roles.”
Like Elder, Sherrell Dorsey wants to help build a pipeline for Black job seekers to secure jobs within the tech industry. Dorsey thinks tech jobs will provide the flexibility and salaries needed to support the unique lived experiences of Black Americans.
For starters, Dorsey’s book, Upper Hand: The Future of Work for the Rest of Us, provides salary ranges for common tech positions and explains how the salaries vary depending on the location of the job.
Dorsey told theGrio that, overall, most tech positions have become more flexible with remote work options and more accommodating with offering lifestyle-based benefits like paying off student loans or even egg-freezing procedures.
The main objective of Dorsey’s book is to present a guide for Black job seekers to see that six-figure salaried tech jobs are accessible. Using the book as a guide, Upper Hand walks readers through how to position themselves for a pivot to tech despite having a degree in another field or not having a degree at all.
“You could still go do maybe a six to nine-month certificate or go through a boot camp or things like that, and still come out with six-figure jobs,” Dorsey explained. “There’s also a transition, and that really is through this idea of certifications, micro-credentialing, and showing your work in public through spaces like GitHub.”
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