When job opportunities are scarce and competition is fierce, having a network of allies in your corner who can offer guidance or even open a few doors makes all the difference. But with Black people and other POC comprising only fractions of the tech workforce, networking opportunities within those communities can be limited. The good news is: there are tons of cool organizations working hard to nurture and advance the careers of BIPOC in tech. Let’s explore a few in celebration of Black History Month.
The Hidden Genius Project
The Hidden Genius Project teaches Black high school students coding, computer science, entrepreneurship, and leadership with the goal of helping young men of color break into the tech industry. They’ve supported over 11,000 students since their establishment in 2012, and they’re currently accepting applications for their 2024 cohort. The Oakland-based program has sites in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and Baltimore. You can get involved with The Hidden Genius Project by volunteering (you don’t need technical experience) and/or donating.
Blacks in Technology
Blacks in Technology (BiT) is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Black technologists with educational resources, career guidance, mentorship, and community. They maintain an active community on Slack and LinkedIn where BIPOC talk about their professional experiences, trials and tribulations, and more. The LinkedIn group is a great place to discover open job listings and connect with recruiters who are seeking to hire diverse talent. You can join BiT to engage in their online communities and chapters worldwide or donate if you want to further their mission.
The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has been uplifting Black students and professionals in tech and engineering since 1975. Their Information Technology Think Tank (ITTT) helps members earn certifications in cloud computing, network, and cybersecurity, and connects Black IT professionals to professional opportunities. (Curious about IT careers? Read this blog to learn about the highest-paying IT jobs of 2023.) You can join the NSBE to take part in their global programs and events and donate if you want to lend a hand.
The Black Data Processing Associates (BPDA) has been around since 1975 and it’s the largest professional organization for BIPOC people in tech. They help create a professional pipeline for BIPOC in STEM and technology through scholarships and programming training for all ages (from youth to high schoolers and adults). They also provide networking and career development opportunities for BIPOC in IT, computer science, and related fields. Sign up with the BPDA to participate in programs, conferences, and events or contribute to the cause with a donation.
Code2040 is a community of Black and Latin tech professionals working to achieve racial equity in the innovation economy, specifically the tech industry. The name is a nod to census projections showing that people of color will make up the majority of the United States population by the year 2040. Code2040 nurtures budding professionals by teaching them how to land career-advancing opportunities and manage obstacles like impostor syndrome and microaggressions. You can volunteer as a virtual mentor if you want to get involved or donate to support their work.
DevColor is a career accelerator for BIPOC developers and technologists with over 600 members in countries around the world. They offer programs that provide technical interview training and coaching, an exclusive cohort of BIPOC women in senior and leadership roles, and live and virtual networking opportunities, pitch sessions, and Q&As. You can subscribe to DevColor, sign up to become a member, or donate to support the initiative.
Want to learn more about the specific challenges and opportunities Black people face in tech? And if you want to learn more about all the cool things Black people are doing in tech spaces, check out the rest of our Black History Month blogs.