Tag: African-American engineers

Google Partners with Howard University to Develop Future African-American Engineers

Bonita Stewart, VP of Global Partnerships at Google, and Dr. Wayne Frederick, president of Howard University. (Photo: Google/Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

article via thegrio.com

On Thursday, Google announced a new program partnered with Howard University in an effort to recruit more young minds from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Howard has opened a campus at the Googleplex, called Howard West, “a physical space on campus where Howard students and Googlers can grow together,” and hopefully will encourage diversity in a field that sorely needs it.

In a press release, Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick said:

Howard West will produce hundreds of industry-ready Black computer science graduates, future leaders with the power to transform the global technology space into a stronger, more accurate reflection of the world around us. We envisioned this program with bold outcomes in mind — to advance a strategy that leverages Howard’s high quality faculty and Google’s expertise, while also rallying the tech industry and other thought leaders around the importance of diversity in business and the communities they serve.

The move comes as Google and other tech industry giants are still working to find ways to bring diversity to Silicon Valley in an industry where diversity in hiring has not been the norm. Bonita Stewart, Google’s Vice President of Global Partnerships says “students can expect an immersive academic and cultural experience at one of the most iconic companies in the world. Academically, they’ll acquire the skills necessary to excel on real-world projects, taught by the engineers who work on Google products and services every day.

The Howard graduate added, “Culturally, they’ll have a chance to experience daily life in Silicon Valley. On the flip side, we cannot wait to learn from our Howard West students and are excited to see the fresh creativity and innovation they bring to the table.”

Google hopes to expand the program to other HBCUs.

To read more, go to: Google partners with Howard University to develop future black engineers | theGrio

Black Engineers Join Forces in Non-Profit Group /dev/color to Boost Diversity

Pinterest engineer and /dev/color founder Makinde Adeagbo (Photo: Awara Adeagbo)
Pinterest engineer and /dev/color founder Makinde Adeagbo
(Photo: Awara Adeagbo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Makinde Adeagbo knows how isolating it can be to live and work in Silicon Valley as an African American. He says it’s even more isolating to be a software engineer here.

Adeagbo, who is an engineer at the San Francisco company Pinterest, says he can go weeks without spotting another black engineer in America’s tech hub.  “It’s not only that you are the only black person in the room or in the company, often times you are the only black person you see in Palo Alto or Menlo Park,” says Adeagbo, 30.

About 1% of engineers at Facebook and Google are African American. The population of Palo Alto, Calif. is 2% African American, Menlo Park, Calif., is under 5%.

Over the summer Adeagbo founded /dev/color, a nonprofit group for African-American engineers that officially launched on Wednesday. The group brings together engineers from top companies such as Facebook, Uber and Airbnb to provide support and a voice to African Americans and give them the opportunity to raise up the next generation, Adeagbo says.

Adeagbo says he hit on the idea while volunteering as a mentor to a couple of computer science students.

“These students knew they had someone who had their backs, whom they could look up to and reach out to when they needed help. I thought to myself: Every black software engineer could accomplish a lot if they had someone like this,” says Adeagbo. .

The name /dev/color is a reference to a common directory on computer systems “as well as our efforts to strengthen the community of Black software engineers, engineers of color,” he says.

Adeagbo’s /dev/color is joining Black Girls CodeCode 2040 and the Hidden Genius Project, a new and growing wave of enterprising organizations founded by African Americans aimed at addressing the scarcity of African Americans in the tech industry.

“Other black software engineers need to provide this for the black engineers coming behind them,” says Adeagbo, who is splitting his time between /dev/color and Pinterest. “We all need to work together to pull ourselves up and make sure we are accomplishing all that we can.”

The challenge is daunting: A fraction of the tech work force in Silicon Valley is African American and little progress has been made to address the problem. Only 1% of venture-capital-backed start-ups are led by African-Americans and less than 1% of general partners at major venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, the ones that back tomorrow’s Facebooks and Googles, are African American.

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