In tech, making sure companies are comprised of a fair and representative mix of people is more important than ever. After all, the tools we create today may become the underlying infrastructure of society as we know it tomorrow.
Why diversity in tech matters
While it may not seem like it at a first glance, diversity is especially important in the context of tech projects, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Think about it; if the majority of teams supporting the build of AI were comprised almost exclusively of white men, then unconscious biases could easily seep into the project’s potentially life-changing bit of code.
We’ve seen this happen before too. In 2019 Apple’s credit card system was found to be operating on algorithms that were inherently biased against women. With Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) being offered a credit limit almost ten times higher than his wife’s, in one staggering example.
Concerns were also raised around the AI used on Google phones, because it failed to recognize black males. The reason? The black community was not involved in the development of that AI.
Celebrating initiatives that make a difference to black communities
Diversity in tech is not just important – it’s critical. And with the last week of Black History Month 2021 fast approaching, we want to take a moment to celebrate some of the fantastic tech initiatives out there that are making a difference to black communities.
From the 10,000 Black Interns project, to Coding Black Females, these initiatives help to elevate black people and black communities in the UK, US, and beyond. Check them out below!
The 10,000 Black Interns Project
10,000 Black Interns is a fantastic project that is working to offer 10,000 internships to Black African, Black Caribbean and/or Black British people across 24 different sectors and 700 companies – all in the next five years.
The project is slated to begin offering internships in summer 2022, each presenting the “opportunity to change a life”, by providing invaluable work experience, training, and the opportunity to start a meaningful new career. Plus, every single intern will be paid the Living Wage for their relevant geographic location.
Coding Black Females
Founded in 2017, Coding Black Females is a non-profit organization that aims to provide opportunities for growth, personal development, support, and relationship-building opportunities for Black female developers.
The initiative is available to any Black female, regardless of their experience. In their own words, “We want to meet you if you’ve been in the industry for 5 minutes, or 10 years, if you work as a freelancer or for a huge corporation.”
Coding Black Females runs a free coding bootcamp, campaigns for greater visibility of Black females in tech, as well as hosting regular developer meetups, and being a true force for good for Black women and communities in tech.
In 2015, Arlan Hamilton founded Backstage Capital, a fund that invests in “underestimated founders,” such as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Since then, Backstage Capital has raised more than $15 million (US) and invested in more than 150 start-ups.
Back in 2018, Backstage Capital also announced a $36 million (US) fund, specifically designated for Black female founders, as part of their efforts to see more Black women enter into business and gain meaningful investment.
All Star Code
All Star Code is an organization that teaches computer science skills to young Black men, with an aim to create “economic opportunity by developing a new generation of boys and young men of color with an entrepreneurial mindset who have the tools they need to succeed in a technological world.”
Founded in 2013 by Christina Lewis, All Star Code offers workshops, hackathons, alumni services, and intensive summer courses to help grow the number of “capable young men of colour” that matriculate into the top 100 universities in the US.
/dev/color is a non-profit networking organization that aims to empower Black software engineers to become industry leaders. The community – based both online and offline – is made up of like-minded Black software developers who wish to grow their careers by learning from and supporting their peers. /dev/colour excel at helping Black software engineers find new jobs, learn new skills, or even start new companies.
Plus, in 2021 /dev/color released their first “State of Black Tech” report, which aims to “continue the conversation about improving institutions and culture within tech to create an equitable space for Black technologists.”
What diversity means to us
At Revolent, we have always believed that one of the biggest challenges within tech – a lack of diversity – could be leveraged to solve our sector’s other greatest challenge, the tech skills gap.
We believe that, with so many skilled workers needed in tech, it is not only a moral imperative that we become more diverse as a sector, but a business one too. Which is why we’re dedicated to building more diverse tech teams, and offering careers in tech to people from a wider range of backgrounds.
And we’re proud to say that it’s working. Since 2020, we’ve expanded into the US, Australia, and Canada, all with an incredibly diverse employee demographic. 63% of our people are Black, Asian, or from an Ethnic Minority background, a third are female, and over half of our senior leadership team are women.