This piece was written by Brittani Hunter.
Although women of color are sprinkling Melanin magic in various areas of business, there is still an all-time low, especially for black women, in tech.
There are many companies that are noticing this gender and racial disparity and are taking real measures to tackle this issue. Slack, a group messaging and document-sharing app, is one company that is doing just that.
In February, Slack made a few heads turn at the 2016 Crunchies Awards where they were nominated for the Fastest Rising Startup award and sent 4 black, female software engineers to accept it.
I was given the opportunity to talk with Duretti Hirpa, one of the amazing black engineers at Slack who turned heads at The Crunchies, on why diversity is so important for not only women and people of color, but also for business.
While hiring diverse is nice, what happens after the hire?
Hirpa: I think a lot of places don’t think about what happens next after diverse people are hired in the workplace. Not a lot of places think about what happens once you are on-site and working and fitting in with the environment. So even if you do all the work of applying, getting an interview, getting the offer, and working on site; it can still be intimidating if you don’t fit in with the culture.
Why diversity matters.
To me, diversity means more than just skin tone and color. It’s about different kinds of people. It could be religion, LGBTQ, a person of color, or maybe a different type of upbringing. There are a lot of studies that show different kinds of people working on the same problem who will come up with different solutions. [They also show] companies that are more diverse tend to be more profitable and more innovative. In my opinion, the more diverse your team is, the better. Every person brings a different life experience to work and those different kinds of life experiences bring unique ways of approaching problems or situations.
It is important that we see more women of color in tech.
I think for most women of color, it can be intimidating to work in the tech industry. At the Crunchies, I think that it’s great that we went up, accepted the award, and signaled that at a [Silicon Valley] company like Slack, you can really build a great product and something that people like using, and still care about treating people fairly and embracing diversity.
Advice for getting a job in tech.
There are so many camps, workshops, and even websites that will teach you so much [about tech]. My advice for women of color is: If you feel like you have the interest in tech, learn the skills, apply for jobs, and go to networking events.
Brittani Hunter is a proud PVAMU alumna, freelance writer, management pro, and #foodporn addict. When she is not sharing information on business, entrepreneurship, and career tips for Millennials, Brittani can be found dancing to Beyoncé and working out. Meet Brittani on Twitter and Instagram (@BrittaniLHunter).