5 Reason Why We Don’t Pursue Career Paths in Technology
Had to share my friend Rich's video about his thoughts on why many black minorities don’t really pursue career paths in Technology specifically Data, I'm writing regarding Tech overall.
Tech is such a great field to get into and there is so much area for growth. It’s such a large umbrella, from an analyst to an engineer, a creative designer to a scientist, some roles you don’t even need to know how to code.
Rich listed his 5 reasons, I will add my 2 cents. I'm starting from 5 to 1:
#5 Lack of Representation
Sometimes just seeing a person in a field that looks like you, or shares a similar background to you is the force that you need to get you going. That person was my roommates mom. I had never met a woman in Tech before her, I had never met a black woman in Tech, and NEVER someone of Haitian descent like me in Tech before meeting her. I have told her many times but just knowing she was in my field and succeeding was the driving force that made me believe it was achievable.
I am a huge advocate of getting more women and black people in the IT field because unfortunately there is a huge lack of us. Theres not many of black technologist being shown in media or film succeeding, and when they are, they are the stereotypical nerdy trop.
TIP: I try to find someone I admire on LinkedIn, send a message, ask for a meeting, and ask as much questions as I can.
#4 Lack of Support
Going through this career, I have learned that having a support system is so vital for your growth. Often many people feel like they are in it alone, I understand but you need to find support, be it through family, work, or school. My friends and family had no clue what I was studying in college and till this day have no clue what I actually do for a living, but they’ve always supported me, and their support is my driving force.
Another reason to find a support system is for career growth, you never know who in your past will be a gate keeper for the future.
TIP: Build your support team! If you don't have supported family or friends, find like minded people that you can rely on and share ideas with.
#3 Lack of awareness
When I was in high school, the only career paths I saw that led to success was in Sports, Banking, or Teaching. NO DISRESPECT TO THOSE CAREERS, I wasn't an athlete, I’m very particular about my finance, and I’ve had my share of volunteering at elementary and middle schools to know that teaching wasn't for me. I wasn't expose to careers in technology. Exposure in any field can open up so much possibilities.
TIP: Google and Linkedin are your best friend. Research a topic, join local groups in STEM, find someone on LinkedIn with a similar background and ask questions. Most people are really open to this.
#2 It Too Hard
In Rich’s video, he set his number 2 as Doubt, but to me I think it’s should be people believing the field is too hard. I've had too many people tell me this is a hard field, why would you put yourself through it. I've spoken to many youth and the first thing they say is “I heard it's hard”. But you know what, every field is hard! Med school is hard but there are still people grinding to be doctors. Getting into sports is hard yet there are people pulling in multiple practices a day to be better at their craft. The hardship is what molds you.
I tell my mentees all the time, yes CS and IT have some hard classes but every major has hard classes. There are also fun classes, like IT leadership. You find your niche, find that area that brings you joy. I love puzzles, I could sit in a room all day and focus on solving a puzzle. To me, I got joy in my Discrete Mathematics and my Database Design class.
TIP: What do you like to do? Find the intersection of your happiness and tech, trust me it exist
#1 Fear and Doubt
Fear and Doubt go hand in hand, doubt creates fear. The fear of failing and not succeeding and doubting yourself are real. This field is a bit intimidating, but you have to keep your eyes on the goal and find ways to help push your self.
TIP: What drives you? Keep it around you always, when you feel doubt, use it to help push through the fear, for me, I keep a picture of my family around.
Growing up the life that I live now was not something I thought was attainable. We need to do a better job showcasing to the youth that there are so many ways to be successful than through Sports or Music.