Who is Coding Black Females?
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Reviewed by Laila Abdalla
- Black women are underrepresented in the tech industry and face workplace challenges.
- Coding Black Females is a nonprofit organization that supports and connects Black women in tech.
- Coding Black Females hosts events and provides free resources for group members.
It's a good time to work in technology.
The tech industry continues to flourish — the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in computer and information technology occupations will grow by 11% from 2019-2029. Plus, individuals in this field earn a median salary of $91,250, according to BLS figures. That'sfar above the national median wage of $41,950.
Even so, working in the industry comes with challenges, especially for individuals with very little representation in the field. According to 2016 statistics from the National Center for Women and Information Technology, women make up only a quarter of the computing industry —and only 3% of computing jobs were held by Black women.
It can be difficult to be a Black woman working in an industry that has historically excluded and/or underserved you. Black women often face microaggressions in the workplace, encountering both racism and sexism on the job.
And if you're the only Black woman working at your organization, it becomes an even greater burden when you can't turn to anyone at your company who shares your experiences.
Luckily, professional organizations can offer a sense of camaraderie for Black women in tech, such as Coding Black Females — an organization based in the United Kingdom that aims to connect Black women who work in the industry with their peers from around the world.
Who Is Coding Black Females?
Coding Black Females aims to provide career support and professional connections that Black women might not otherwise find within their workplace. Founded in 2017, the nonprofit group hosts regular virtual meetups so that Black women can build relationships with each other and develop their support networks.
Events include professional development workshops and lectures on critical topics like neurodiversity and chronic illness in the technology industry. A blog on the organization's website and a Coding Black Females podcast also allow Black women to share their experiences in the field.
The group's #VisibleInTech campaign profiles women who work in computer science, highlighting the accomplishments of women thriving in the tech industry.
Coding Black Females' Resources
In addition to hosting events and networking opportunities, the group provides members with several resources to help them grow in their careers. Members can join a mentorship program as a mentee or a volunteer mentor. The organization also publishes a job board, with positions like full-stack developer and technical analyst in locations around the world.
Coding Black Females also gives back to its members' communities. A back-to-school drive gives students the technological equipment they need to succeed in school. The group also offers free resources for children and adults to help them start studying coding languages, and members get discounts to programs like the Makers bootcamp.
Coding Black Females' Impact
Members of Coding Black Females speak of the positive influence the group has had in their lives. For many young programmers, the group has helped them begin their careers. Other members have discussed how Coding Black Females has given them a safe space to share the challenges and insights that come with working as a Black woman in tech.
"After working in tech for so many years and often feeling like 'the token' in the office, it brings me absolute joy to be in a room with women who I can identify with and understand what it means to live in the intersection of being black and female," one member said.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coding Black Females
Although Coding Black Females does not publish its membership numbers, women from around the world get involved with the organization. The organization has highlighted over 60 women in its #VisibleInTech campaign since early 2020.
Coding Black Females does not list a fee for joining the organization. However, the group encourages members to donate in order to support their community.
Coding Black Females typically hosts events twice a month, although sometimes the group hosts one every week. Members can join virtual events from all over the world, including lectures, webinars, discussions, and media hacks.
Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. For over 21 years at Central Washington University, she taught courses in her subjects, along with classes on successful writing. Laila has devoted her teaching and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion. She is committed to her students' complete experience above all, raising awareness of BIPoC issues in language, community, and culture. She leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues.