A Black, Female Steve Jobs? Yes We Can!

  revature |

Picture a big-tech CEO. What do they look like? Inside the stereotypical black turtleneck and steel-rimmed glasses, most people would likely imagine someone white and male. And to be fair, that is an understandable assumption, because, even in 2021, tech still has way too few women and people of color. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, women—who are of course half the population—only hold one-quarter of computing-related jobs, while African American women hold just three percent. I guess you could call me a three-percenter, but that’s one club I wish were less exclusive.

Now picture the Vice President of the United States. Until recently, you would likewise have been imagining a white man, because that was the only type of person who had ever served in that office. But not anymore! Trailblazers like Kamala Harris take our preconceived stereotypes and turn them on their heads. Just think what a difference it makes to little girls of color—like my own daughters—to have a celebrated role model to look up to. Imagine what future possibilities have opened up in their minds.

For the same reason, we need to celebrate the achievements of black women in tech. There is no shortage of role models to choose from. Think of women like Jessica O. Matthews, who is pioneering new forms of renewable energy; Kathryn Finney, who uses data to help women of color become entrepreneurs; and Melissa Hanna, whose Mahmee app gives new moms better access to healthcare.

For me personally, the standout figure is Kimberly Bryant, whose inspirational Twitter feed has me glued. Bryant herself enjoyed a successful career in electronics and biotech, but she recognized that in too many communities girls of color lack access to education in computer programming. So she created a nonprofit, Black Girls CODE, to remedy this with workshops and after-school programs. Her ambition is to train one million girls aged seven to 14 to code by 2040. In other words, Bryant not only serves as a role model in her own right; she is helping the girls of today become the tech heroes of tomorrow.

At Revature, our mission is complementary to Bryant’s. We recruit from a slightly older age bracket—mainly recent college grads—and our ultimate goal is to train one million programmers. Moreover, diversity and inclusion are built into our business model: by design, we recruit from a diverse talent pool. Along the way, we try to create role models by celebrating the achievements of our alumni, for example by showcasing their success stories. In this way, we hope to show that anybody, from any background, can succeed in the tech world.

Will we see a black, female Steve Jobs? Absolutely! It is no longer a question of if or even how that glass ceiling will shatter—it is only a matter of when. We are on the way to the win, and I could not be more proud of the role that Revature is playing in building this future.

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