Today we honor Black Girls Code Founder Kimberly Bryant as a #BlackButterfly. There is still a cultural isolation in the Tech Industry. I applaud Kimberly Bryant for her vision with Black Girls Code, and hope to be of service to her mission one day.
In the past, technology wasn’t a common field or career in most African American households. There were very few people of color working in Computer Science fields than there are today. Especially, for women of African American decent. According to a study done by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), in 2015, women held 57% of all professional occupations, yet they held only 25% of all computing occupations. And the numbers are even lower when considering women of color; for example, Latinas and Black women hold only 1% and 3% of these jobs, respectively. With the help of people like #KimberlyBryant, we can help shorten this huge disparity of African American women in IT careers.
As a child, I wanted to become a teacher when I grew up. I really enjoyed learning and teaching others. I thought it was fascinating. But, life, be it as it may, changed for me when I became a mother at 15 years old. At that point, I had to reconsider my career goals and strategize to come up with a plan where I could earn a quality living to support my son and me. I had to pick a career that would afford me opportunities to excel, rapidly. It was no longer about choosing a career that interests me, but more so one that would allow for rapid growth and higher compensation. My circumstances at the time caused me to completely alter my goals and ambitions of becoming a teacher.
One day at school, I attended a career fair. I was in my 12th grade year of high school. One group of guest speakers/career professionals were IT Professionals. As they talked about their day-in-the-life as an IT professional, I was intrigued. They got my attention! Shortly after, I was fortunate enough to go on an informational visit of their company. I got to see firsthand what went on in the world of Information Technology. I left feeling inspired and empowered to take control of my destiny and follow my dreams of becoming an IT professional, in particular, a Software Engineer. I did more research on the major itself and learned how competitive IT can be, and how broad it was in terms of growth opportunities - the compensation wasn’t too shabby either. I later applied at a local college and obtained an Associate’s degree in Networking and Administration. Shortly after, I transferred to a University and obtained an undergraduate degree in Computer Science/Information Technology. I started my career in on the hardware side of technology where I supported servers, LAN/WAN, PC’s, helpdesk support, etc. Later, I transitioned to the software/information side of technology where I started as an entry level programmer. I quickly learned to program in various software languages and continued to progress. Today, I am an IT Leader in Software Engineering, and I continue to thrive each day.
I’ve worked in IT for over 18 years and I realize that technology isn’t gender or ethnic based, but more so individually driven. It is a field where ideas, mathematics, and science emerges into something world changing. Regardless of race, gender, or creed technology is a place where everyone belongs. Organizations such as #Blackgirlscode are a stepping stone to bridging the gap between African American girls becoming Software Engineers. Growing up, I never would have imagined myself here. There were very few Kimberly Bryants where I’m from. All that this has taught me is that Anything is possible!
Our Ancestors would be so proud.
#Blackgirlscode #QianaHickscode #codingchangedmylife #KimberlyBryant I solute you!