What is your current role and where do you work?
I work as a Career Developer at Dev Bootcamp. I have the pleasure of working with passionate career changers looking to break into technology and contribute to making meaningful and beautiful things. I do everything from personal branding to supporting salary negotiations. Outside of DBC I work with HBCUtoStartup, a community for HBCU students, alumni, and Black professionals looking to transition to tech. We also support the next wave of Black entrepreneurs with a biweekly hangout series that invites founders to share their stories and participate in Q&A.
How did you get into tech?
While working at UC Berkeley as the Director of the African American Theme Program I was bitten by the tech bug and realized my potential to inform the creation of technologies I am constantly consuming. I enrolled into a User Experience Design course at UC Berkeley, and that experience shaped how I do my work: centering the needs of users in everything I do.
Tech also provides an opportunity for upward mobility for many young first gen Black professionals like myself. As a non-technical person, it took me a while to gain confidence in what I brought to the space until I realized my potential as a connector in creating pipelines into tech for historically underrepresented populations.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your tech career?
I am reminded everyday that tech companies cannot function without non technical people! For those saying to themselves that they can’t code, know that there is space for you and your skills are needed.
What do you see as the most interesting technology on the horizon?
I LOVE Virtual Reality (VR), though it remains pretty inaccessible financially. I love the potential to share and tell stories in unconventional ways. Variable Labs in the Bay Area has a segment on negotiating salaries in VR, which highlights its endless potential.
If you weren’t working in tech, what would you be doing?
I’d be working in higher education, helping historically underrepresented populations successfully navigate and craft a critical understanding of themselves in relation to the world.
What can companies do to create more inclusive environments?
Be mindful of the language being used. While the intentions are good, phrases like “blind recruiting” still perpetuates ableist language. Refrain from referencing people of color as “minorities”. Companies should find a balance between authentic representation and tokenism, as representation is important but should not come at the expense of tokenizing underrepresented folks.