Shortage of black IT Professionals?
I got an interesting question from a good friend of mines recently. Hi, Jason! (Yeah, he wanted me to mentioned his name. )
Jason and I met in the workplace. He was the Lead Developer. Very intelligent, eccentric, and very pleasant to work with (sounds like i'm giving him a job recommendation..lol). Anyhoo, my good friend, Jason, is white.
Jason, asked his good friend the following question:
"Why do so few children of color enter STEM careers? Is it simply exposure? And if so, is there anything I can do to help?"
Do I personally think there is a shortage of black IT Professionals? Yes. However, the reasons for it are not so black and white. I will give 3 reasons from my perspective, Exposure, Pipeline, and culture.
There could be lack of exposure to STEM in the predominantly black elementary/high schools. There is definitely an educational is apparent and should be acknowledge. There are still a lot of schools that are working with inadequate supplies and tools to teach our young minds. Add that to a lot of kids (even in this age where it seems like everyone has access to a smartphone,tablet, PC) do not have access to technology, such as a computer, in their home. This makes the educational gap even wider. When we can all acknowledge the educational and digital gap present, then we can increase exposure.
Now, this is one has been mentioned about this industry. As far as the recruitment pipeline, some feel their are not enough blacks graduating with tech degrees. I will keep my perspective short here. Do I feel there are not enough blacks with technical degrees? No. I feel that,sometimes, they may not be getting similar access to opportunities that is received by their counterparts. This hasn't been my experience. However, from engaging with others through the
years, it's lead me to believe it happens. There may be a need for more recruiters to expand their reach to more HBCUs .
Sometimes, it's not a issue of black IT professionals getting in the field. Some may have been in the field and decided to leave. Why? Well, from my perspective, the lack of diversity or other blacks in the workplace can be a reason. Now, this ties in with my point on the pipeline. When there are a lack of black professionals being recruited, it could make the current ones uncomfortable and leave the field. This can,also, contribute to the mindset that they have to work twice as hard as their counterparts to be noticed or promoted, which adds a level of pressure. So, if recruitment efforts are expanded and opportunities really become open to all IT professionals, there can possibly be resolution and black IT professionals can feel more accepted and comfortable in the industry.
Welp, this is my response to the possible lack of black IT professionals. Tried to give you all the short version, when, honestly, I probably haven't even scratched the surface.
Oh, and I offered my friend some suggestions for how he could assist (for ex: start a coding class at his local community center). I'm sure he is already working on it! :)
Till next time,
Southern Techie Belle