Facets: Issue 32

February 19, 2017

Improving Diversity Does Not Mean Lowering the Bar

Kate Heddleston
"There is a clear and immediate answer to the question, "How do we get more diversity without lowering the bar?" The answer is to create hiring practices that fairly assess diverse candidates who are already in the industry.”

We’ve all heard this one before, an excuse propped up by the damaging, incorrect assumption that minorities are less capable— and, for that matter, that a company’s hiring practices are objective to begin with. Heddleston disproves all of this, offering concrete data which companies can use to audit their own hiring practices and hire diverse candidates— without “lowering the bar."

The Impact of Product Decisions on Tech Diversity Initiatives

Datrianna Meeks
"Diversity initiatives don’t stand a chance if companies have reputations for overlooking the very people they’re looking to hire.”

Would you want to work on a product which contributed to your marginalisation? The decisions made in the product design process have ramifications far beyond usability, highlighted by the innovation behind alternatives such as Innclusive and Noirbnb. We don’t need more initiatives or reports, Meeks says: just inclusive, considerate products that everyone wants to have a hand in building.

Coding Bootcamps and Emotional Labor

Tilde Ann Thurium
"I, along with a hefty dose of my white privilege, won the bootcamp lottery: thus, I have a job. A lot of folks aren’t so lucky."

A critical look at the oft-overlooked emotional impacts of technical work, Thurium describes the Hackbright bootcamp and its consequences— demands of time, of skill, of emotion— which linger long after graduation. Thurium underlines how attending and graduating from a coding bootcamp isn’t as neat and romantic as we’d like it to be, and how these initiatives bootcamps can actually serve to perpetuate the lack of diversity in tech, if we’re not careful.

Universities not teaching front-end development is a diversity problem

Vasudha Rengarajan
"After paying for their estimated $9,000-a-year public college education or $30,000-a-year private college education, university students looking to make an app or website are still left with a knowledge gap to fill.”

We would hope that a computer science degree would provide a complete foundation for a career in tech. However, in failing to teach front-end development, universities are sabotaging diversity efforts. In order to close the knowledge gap and get a job, students have to teach themselves this critical skill, an opportunity that is not available to everyone— marginalised folks especially so.

Gender Decoder

Employers can run their job postings through Kat Matfield's Gender Decoder to avoid using gender-coded language and discouraging minority applicants.

Our Future Katherine Johnsons

“She inspires me to do things like take math and make a career out of it. I want to be like Katherine Johnson."

This site was built by the girls at Black Girls Code; meet and read the stories of the next generation of Katherine Johnsons.

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