Building more resources for Blacks in technology
Resources for Blacks in technology continue to grow.
Increasing diversity and minority participation in technology will be the main topic addressed at the upcoming MarTech Live diversity panel on Oct. 7, and the pent up demand from minorities wanting to enter the technology field has led to a new international-focused group, Blacks in Technology International, a spin-off from the original Blacks in Technology organization.
Blacks in Technology International chartered its first international chapter in China in late July, proving that the demand for minority participation in the STEM industries knows no geographic boundary.
“Our mission is to increase the participation and representation of Black people in technology, no matter where they live,” said Peter Beasley, executive director of Blacks in Technology International. “We are receiving heavy interest in international markets from people looking to improve their career and gain professional insight, just like they want in the United States.”
Meeting a need for mentorship
Blacks in Technology International has plans on establishing chapters in Canada and Europe in 2021, to go along with a domestic membership that includes over 5,000 members in nearly a dozen chapters across the U.S.
Regardless of the chapter location, members taking an active role in mentorship programs is a fundamental part of the organization. Members are paired as mentors to younger professionals or mentees with older, established professionals.
“It is phenomenal to find opportunities for mentoring,” said Beasley. “We even have an extensive roster of non-technology professionals that serve as mentors, from marketing professionals to lawyers to hedge fund directors.”
There are now over a dozen national organizations that cater to being resources for Blacks in technology, including groups for cyber security professionals and data processing professionals. Many of these national organizations work with each other to provide career development, industry certification and valuable speaking opportunities.
“Now that there are so many groups to help black people, we all have to remember it is not about the organization name, it is about the mission,” said Beasley. “The social structure is changing but our goals are still the same.”
Easing entry into technology
One of the common goals of these organizations is to widen the entry points in the technology industry, removing barriers and showcasing opportunity more than traditional jobs and entry-level positions.
Many organizations purposely have job posting sites that are full of non-tech positions to not only increase their audience, but also lessen the intimidation factor of entering the technology industry.
“You do not have to be a coder to get into technology,” said Beasley. “There is more than one way to get in with the Apples and Microsofts of the world. They also hire chefs, pilots, journalists and other non-tech professions, so there are many ways to get into tech. We make sure we communicate that to members and non-members alike. We are here to show that technology is for everyone.”