Diversity, equity, and inclusion (D,E&I) is essential in generating new ideas and improving business functions. Despite this fact, sectors have a lack of diversity.
Although there is a rich history of Black people in the world of data and technology, this demographic is underrepresented in the current software workforce. Currently, only 5% of software engineers in the US are Black according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In an effort to change this situation, interview company Karat is teaming up with tennis legend Serena Williams.
Serena Williams has made a strategic investment to help scale Karat’s Brilliant Black Minds program.
This program is designed to improve diversity in the entire tech industry.
Additionally, Karat has made Williams their ‘Champion of Brilliance’, and she will support the company’s call on the industry to help add more than 100,000 new Black engineers to tech in the next decade.
Williams’ role will see her detail the importance of practice and building a championship mindset while participants navigate landing their dream job.
Steps to improve D,E&I
Karat’s Brilliant Black Minds initiative has been designed to improve interview access for under-represented group. Karat and Harvard University found that 50% of Black interviewees had experienced a technical interview, but technical interview repetition was essential to helping respondents succeed.
To help in this area, Karat’s program uses the company’s ‘Interviewing Cloud’ tech to enable candidates to practice their interviewing skills, get feedback, and receive coaching. On top of personal feedback, Karat uses data to inform candidates about areas where they can improve.
Discussing the importance of this partnership, Williams said: “The technology industry is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. My focus is ensuring the solutions to those challenges are developed by all of us.
“There has never been a shortage of brilliance in Black America; only limits to the access and opportunities extended to our community.
“That is why I am proud to team up with companies like Karat who are taking actionable steps to bring more diversity and equity to the industry, as well as call on others to be part of the change.”
Mohit Bhende, co-founder and CEO of Karat, also discussed the importance of the program: “We’re living in a world where engineering time grows more valuable every day, yet organizations are grappling with a multi-decade shortage of software engineers.
“The current approach is to source talent from the same talent pool over and over again, which reinforces the industry’s lack of diversity and makes it harder to find technical talent.
“The Brilliant Black Minds program helps solve this major business challenge by giving organizations access to a deeper, interview-ready talent pool. More engineers ultimately unlocks more engineering time, driving diverse and powerful innovations.”
Anthony Mays, senior advisor to the Brilliant Black Minds program and former software engineer at Google, noted his belief in the potential for the initiative: “The tech industry is the biggest opportunity generator of our lifetime. And yet, those opportunities have not been distributed equally. People who look like me have been mostly kept out of the highest levels of tech.
“With Brilliant Black Minds, Black software engineers have a safe and collaborative space to learn how to crack the code on how the industry hires. All it takes is just one opportunity to change a person’s life, and the lives of those who come after.”
While not every company can enlist a pro-athlete to help them on their D,E&I journey, tech employers evidently need to re-evaluate how they hire and retain staff. Programs like this begin the process of reconsidering business priorities.
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