As we start the summer of 2022, almost daily, we get videos and tweets that tell us how to jump into the tech field. There are a lot of shady claims about how quick and easy this process is. What is sometimes left out is how the tech field is very male and very white. A 2020 study found that 67% of tech firms have less than 5% black employees. I aim to share a process that gives people of color some guidance, tools, and a network to start this journey. So, the first question is what do you want to do? What are you interested in? Many of our current jobs are evolving to include tech skills. Making getting more tech savvy a good move for all of us. So Let’s begin.
What are you interested in? This is one place you can start to research. Website: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/ have shared the link to the Occupational handbook. It gives you job growth income and skills that are helpful in making decisions.
Ask friends or people you may know in the tech field to share their paths. You may find someone close to you that is willing to help.
After this research and reference, write down your goals to help to keep you focused and moving forward. Here, I would include what you want to do and two or three possible ways to accomplish them.
Give a time frame so you can track how your process is going.
Here are a few of the paths that get you into a tech career:
Four-year University Program
Some combination of the above
Each person’s path is going to be different. How many resources you can bring to bear and over what time frame makes a huge difference. Money and the stress of not having it, have derailed many people from college and boot camps. Accessing your situation will give you the best chance at success. Self-study and certification have their own set of benefits and issues. For me, when I start something new, I want a good mentor, a good teacher, and a partner to hold me accountable. Finding the right support system is mission-critical. We at Knox St Studios want to be a partner in this space. We will be hosting monthly Black Hackertons to create accountability and bring together interested individuals. Check out our website for more information - https://www.knoxststudios.org/.
What tools are you going to need in order to get into the tech field? The basics are a decent computer and internet speed. These along with a clear sense of how you are going to attack your plan of action get you moving. In future articles, I will highlight other paths but in this article let’s talk just a bit more about the self-study path. Here a person has to be more self-disciplined because not only do you have to figure out what to study you then have to do it day in and day out and reading isn’t enough. In order to really show mastery in tech, you have to create programs or apps. You have to code. This is the single most important thing you can take for this article in order to gain this new set of skills you have to code and do it a lot.
Before I wrap up this article I want to say to you that you can be in tech. Don't let the naysayers kill your dream. There are people that believe in you and support you. Getting into tech can be very hard when you don't see folks that look like you and the people you do see can be dismissive.
Remember, stay the course! You got this!
- Richard Brown, Director Career - Knox St. Studios