Less than 0.7% of black women work in tech in the UK.

In the vast landscape of the tech industry, diversity remains a critical challenge. Among the underrepresented groups, black women stand at a unique intersection, facing both gender and racial barriers in their pursuit of a career in technology. In a 2022 Report by Coding Black Females and BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, less than 0.7% of black women work in tech in the UK, making it challenging for cultural change to take place on a larger scale.

Flavilla Fongang, the driving force behind the nonprofit GTA Black Women in Tech, understands how difficult it can be for young black women trying to break into the industry. Starting her career in branding and marketing, she decided to specialise in technology and quickly realised how little diversity there was.

“I launched GTA Black Women in Tech in 2019 to inspire, support, and connect black women within the tech community, fostering an environment where they can excel while simultaneously enhancing the performance of tech companies through the principles of diversity and inclusion. I knew how important it was to inspire black women and girls to see successful black women so they could dream big too,’ says Fongang.

If you’re a black woman interested in starting your career in tech but not sure how to break in, Fongang gives her four top tips on how you can transition into the tech industry.

Expand on your technical knowledge

Fongang acknowledges that navigating the tech industry may feel daunting at first, but a plethora of free resources exist to help you acquire essential skills without financial strain. Platforms like Codecademy, EdX, Alison.com, Dash General Assembly, Harvard Online Learning, and Microsoft Learn provide extensive courses covering various tech subjects. From coding languages to software development and data science, these platforms offer hands-on learning experiences, interactive exercises, and even certifications from prestigious institutions like Harvard. Once you’ve established a solid foundation, consider advancing your skills through more specialised courses such as Code First Girls and Coding Black Females.

Whether you’re a newcomer looking to break into tech or an experienced professional seeking to enhance your expertise, these resources provide accessible pathways to learning, growth, and success in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

Consider the non-tech role in Tech

When we envision the tech industry, our minds often gravitate towards coding, website and app design, or data science. While these roles are indeed significant, they represent just a fraction of the myriad opportunities available.

From marketing to product management, copywriting to UX design, the tech industry offers a diverse array of roles suited to the talents and aspirations of black women. Embracing these opportunities can lead to fulfilling and impactful careers in tech.

Develop your personal brand

Your personal brand is crucial for making an impression and standing out. It encompasses how you present yourself, what makes you unique, and how others perceive you. By showcasing your experience, skills, and authenticity, you can improve your chances of career success and business growth.

Authenticity is key; avoid exaggerating your expertise. Honesty and vulnerability are more appealing than pretending to be better than you are. Storytelling is powerful for building connections and engaging your audience emotionally. Consistency is vital in messaging, especially on social media. Balance personality with professionalism, adapting your tone to each platform.

“Living your brand means embodying it in all actions and decisions. Stay true to your core values and remain open to opportunities that align with your brand’s mission. Building a strong personal brand requires dedication and consistency, but it can greatly enhance your career prospects and business success,” advises Fongang.

Build your network

LinkedIn is essential for managing your online brand and expanding your network. With 94% of recruiters using it to find candidates, creating or revamping your profile is crucial. Attend tech events and connect with professionals on LinkedIn, especially those following relevant pages. Always send a personalised message when connecting and focus on giving before taking.

To craft a standout LinkedIn profile;

  • A professional headshot that reflects your personal brand
  • Aim for 500+ connections to demonstrate your commitment to expanding your network
  • Craft an attention-grabbing headline akin to newspaper headlines to entice visitors to explore further
  • In your “About” section, showcase your expertise and accomplishments, including a clear call to action for visitors
  • Ensure your contact email is filled in for easy communication

Fongang believes the tech industry holds immense promise and opportunity for black women seeking to embark on fulfilling career paths. Whether you possess prior experience or you’re eager to embark on your tech journey, GTA Black Women in Tech’s Transition into Tech Guide will provide even more tips and advice to help you navigate your way.

About GTA Black Women in Tech

Global Tech Advocates Black Women In Tech is a not-for-profit global organisation, based in London, dedicated to building bridges of opportunities in tech by enabling black female talents to excel and companies to have access to black women of talent. They are a community of black women tech advocates of all levels and allies who support and empower diversity and inclusion. GTA Black Women in Tech is the 2nd largest working group of the Tech London Advocates Group and is part of a network of more than 20,000 tech leaders, entrepreneurs and experts across the UK and in over 50 countries worldwide.

If you’re looking for a new tech role or would like a new challenge, take a look at our latest job vacancies here.