Women of Color in Tech by Susanne Tedrick is a groundbreaking book that seeks to empower women of color by providing them with valuable insights into the technology field. Tedrick’s mission is to debunk misconceptions, address barriers, offer practical advice, share inspirational stories, and shed light on the reasons behind the underrepresentation of women of color in tech. Additionally, the book delves into various technology areas like AI, blockchain, and cloud computing in an easily digestible format. It also offers indispensable guidance on finding a tech career, including networking, resume building, and job offer negotiation. This book is essential reading for women of color, those working with them, and anyone eager to grasp the challenges they face while exploring various tech topics.
Why Are There Not More Women of Color in Technology?
“The number of Black women in technical professions declined by 13 percent over a 12-year period.” So, why is this happening? Tedrick believes this decline can be attributed to various factors, including early learning experiences and the lack of diversity and inclusion in tech workplaces. Historically, societal norms have pushed young girls toward gender-normative activities, and expressing interest in more traditionally “male” activities often leads to a lack of support or even shaming. Research shows that a child’s learning experiences and the support they receive directly influence their confidence in pursuing specific careers. When girls with an interest in technology enter college, they encounter additional barriers like the high cost of education, biases from professors, lack of peer and familial support, and a low percentage of those who enter college actually graduating with a 4-year technology degree.
Clearing Up Misconceptions About Working in Tech
Despite the challenges, Tedrick emphasizes why women of color should still pursue tech careers. The tech field is steadily improving, thanks in part to organizations like AnitaB.org and Black in AI that provide support. It’s a rapidly growing industry with high earning potential and can be fulfilling for those passionate about technology and innovation. Moreover, women of color in tech can serve as positive role models for young girls of color, helping them envision themselves in various tech roles and dispelling misconceptions about the field.
Tedrick’s book aims to dispel myths and misconceptions that dissuade individuals from pursuing tech careers. For instance, the belief that “all tech careers require a 4-year degree” is debunked, as many positions value professional experience gained through internships, apprenticeships, boot camps, and more. Another critical misconception addressed is the notion that “tech careers exist only at top tech companies.” In reality, tech roles are essential across all industries. Tedrick also discusses the qualities she considers essential for tech careers, emphasizing traits like confidence, perseverance, and patience.
A Wide Variety of Tech Careers
Tedrick provides detailed insights into a wide range of tech career options, from business analysis to web design and consulting. Each career is explored in terms of its responsibilities, required skills, educational prerequisites, typical job roles, titles, and average salaries. After this comprehensive overview, Tedrick offers resources to help individuals identify their strengths, weaknesses, and core work values, assisting them in determining their ideal fit within the tech industry. Additionally, the book explores tech opportunities outside traditional tech companies, such as in the government, education, healthcare, and emerging fields like 3D printing and online banking.
The book covers various emerging technologies like AI, virtual reality, blockchain, and cloud computing in a straightforward and understandable manner. It breaks down complex topics, making them accessible to a broader audience. Tedrick highlights the significance of staying informed about these technologies to remain competitive in the ever-evolving tech industry.
Finding, Landing, and Thriving at Tech Jobs
Tedrick offers invaluable advice on building a professional network, finding mentors, and enhancing one’s skills to secure a tech career. The process begins with a skill gap analysis and explores various educational pathways, including formal education, trade schools, and boot camps. Additionally, the book addresses financing options for these educational pursuits. Tedrick guides readers through crafting a tech-focused resume, optimizing their LinkedIn profiles, and provides essential interview tips.
Even after you have found that dream tech job, Tedrick continues to provide detailed guidance on evaluating job offers, understanding compensation structures, and negotiating effectively. The step-by-step process of how a job offer works is explained, highlighting key points for evaluation and negotiation.
The book acknowledges that workplace challenges may persist even after securing a tech job. Tedrick offers advice on dealing with issues such as imposter syndrome, bias, lack of support, bullying, and tokenism. These are common experiences for people of color, especially those who have achieved career advancements but still feel inadequate or face discrimination.
In conclusion, Tedrick encourages those in the tech field to give back to the community through volunteering and community service, serving as role models or mentors, and supporting initiatives that empower underrepresented individuals in tech. This call to action aims to address the challenges highlighted at the beginning of the book and create a brighter future for women of color in technology.
You may check out Women of Color in Tech by Suzanne Tedrick from the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.
Written by Kathryn Cusimano