Survey of 300 Black computer science students highlights the importance of access to computers, exposure to the technology industry, and interview practice
Karat, the world’s leader in technical interviewing, today released new research in partnership with faculty from Howard University exploring key factors that can help more Black software engineers enter the tech industry and excel in their careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Black engineers comprised just 6 percent of all computer programmers in the U.S. in 2020, and this research shines a light on the challenges and opportunities that exist to improve representation.
Co-authored by Dr. Legand Burge, III, Howard University Professor of Computer Science, Dr. Katherine Picho-Kiroga, Howard University Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, and Portia Kibble Smith, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Karat, The Interview Access Gap for Black Engineers identifies a number of socioeconomic and systemic barriers young Black talent face to get jobs in tech.
“The lack of representation of Black engineers in tech is a barrier to entry for the next generation,” said Kibble Smith. “A lot of the HBCU students we interviewed are first-generation college students. They don’t have a clear understanding of what goes on in a technical interview until they’re interviewing for their first engineering internship, and they don’t have anyone in their networks to help them prepare.”
Structural inequities delay exposure to computer science education and make it more difficult for Black software engineers to start careers in tech.
- Respondents who have had software engineering internships had access to their first PC nearly a full year earlier than those who had not secured an internship.
- They also had their first exposure to computer science education an average of two and a half years earlier.
- Proximity and access to people working in the tech sector increase interview confidence, but the under-representation of Black engineers in the sector limits that access for HBCU students.
- Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents knew fewer than five people working in big tech, and more than 25 percent reported knowing none.
- Professional networking was even more limited in the tech startup space, with 83 percent of respondents knowing fewer than five people working at startups, and 43 percent not having any contacts.
Interview practice helps students overcome the lack of structural exposure and access to the technology industry.
- Just 39 percent of respondents who had never taken a practice interview believed that they were either somewhat or very likely to succeed in a technical interview.
- Confidence levels increased with more practice, with those numbers climbing to 79 percent of people with more than three practice interviews.
- This also translated to career opportunities. 55 percent of survey respondents who have taken more than three practice interviews have had an engineering internship, compared to just 9 percent of those who have never had one.
Closing the access gap
Adding transparency to the hiring process and building ways for candidates to practice technical interviews are two ways that tech companies can close the access gap and reduce interview anxiety for underrepresented engineering candidates. Strategies for accomplishing this include publishing sample interview questions online and giving candidates multiple opportunities to interview. Both of these practices help demystify technical hiring for engineers from nontraditional backgrounds. This not only creates a more equitable talent pipeline but also a more efficient and effective way to hire the best engineers.
“The students in my classes are incredibly resourceful, they’ve had to hustle their entire lives. These are positive traits that hiring managers look for, but they’re hard to demonstrate in a traditional job interview,” noted Dr. Burge. “This research highlights the importance of transparency and making information about interviews readily available for candidates. It also reinforces why practice interview programs like Brilliant Black Minds are so critical for closing the access gap and empowering more Black engineers.”
Karat’s Brilliant Black Minds program provides Black software engineers free practice interviews with live feedback to expose students to the components of a technical interview alongside career development workshops.
“The program has helped participants build confidence, hone their technical interviewing skills, and ultimately get summer internships and full-time jobs,” added Kibble Smith. “Interview scores from the Fall and Spring practice seasons showed promising results, with more than three-quarters of students maintaining or improving their performance.”
The full report includes survey responses and feedback from focus groups conducted in the Spring of 2021. More than 300 Black computer science students and HBCU alumni from schools including Howard University, Morehouse College, and University of North Carolina Charlotte participated.
Karat unlocks opportunity by conducting predictive, fair, and enjoyable interviews for the world’s largest and fastest-growing companies. Karat’s human+tech approach uses the world’s first interviewing cloud to enable a global network of Interview Engineers. The expertise and data generated from hundreds of thousands of interviews produce a trusted hiring signal that unlocks developer productivity, accelerates hiring, drives transparency, and promotes equity. Karat is building innovative products and services like the Brilliant Black Minds program with an eye towards becoming the developer talent platform and accelerating the journey from how developers find jobs to how they grow in their careers.
About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.
Triller Launches Monthly Assembly for Black Creators
A Virtual Event Series Built to Connect Creators with Brands
Triller, the popular global social media and music discovery platform, announced the Assembly for Black Creators, a new virtual event series beginning October 20 and running monthly through the end of 2021. The series will build to the 1st annual Black Creator Conference, which will now be held in the first half of 2022.
The objective of Assembly for Black Creators is to empower Black creators and talent to deepen the pipeline of Black-owned content across entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, sports and other genres available to consumer brands for integration and advertising opportunities. The Assembly will bring together more than 250 Black content creators with major brands, including Popeyes and Hallmark, enabling both parties to forge relationships and create branded content.
Brand managers and content creators will meet in a virtual “Monetization Village,” working together to strategize, ideate and execute real-time social media campaigns. Through this collaboration, brands will have immediate access to bespoke integrations, new audience exposure and possibilities for future collaboration with creators.
“Building direct, equitable relationships between creator and brand is the driving force for Assembly for Black Creators,” said Bonin Bough, Triller’s Chief Growth Officer, who has led the initiative for Triller. “With our innovative ‘Monetization Village,’ Black creators will work with best-in-class brands to gain a more substantial foothold in the ever-evolving digital marketing space. We’re fostering greater racial equity across media, and by bringing together creators and advertisers in a dynamic and supportive environment we will enhance opportunities for everyone.”
“We started this effort with a deep appreciation of the huge impact Black Creators have had on culture and content around the world. With this series, we are catalyzing the need for brands, agencies and media properties to invest in Black creators and media owners,” said Mahi de Silva, CEO of TrillerNet, parent company to Triller, Verzuz, Amplify.ai and other media brands. “Events like the Assembly for Black Creators are essential for pushing important industry-wide change, as it is scalable and repeatable, deploys spend directly to individuals and brands, and helps create a thriving ecosystem of media, bolstered by education, tools and support.”
Assembly for Black Creators will take place October 20, November 10 and December 3, culminating in the Black Creator Conference in 2022. Leading Black-owned, Atlanta-based influencer house The Collab Crib is an advisor and curator. The first day-long event on October 20 will kick off with keynote addresses by music icons Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, founders of the ground-breaking Verzuz “artist battle” livestream platform, as well as remarks from celebrated rapper-singer-producer Quavo.
Assembly for Black Creators will feature breakout and training sessions for creators focused on digital design, new creator tools, augmented reality, culture marketing, virality & trends and platform partnerships and brand building.
For more information, please visit https://assemblyforblackcreators.com.
Triller is the globally popular AI-powered social media and music discovery experience that allows users to create professional-looking videos in a matter of seconds. Pick a song, select the portion of the song you want to use, snap a few takes and with the tap of a button you have a celebrity-quality music video starring you and your friends. Triller relies solely on organic growth and has more than 350 million downoads, with celebrities like Alicia Keys, Cardi B, Marshmello, Roddy Ricch and Eminem regularly using the app to create their own music videos. Triller is owned by TrillerNet. For more information, visit www.triller.co and follow @triller on Instagram.
Method Man Launches Tical World™
Method Man is a multi-talented personality, having transitioned his multi-platinum, award-winning success in the music industry into the film industry, with an award-winning career in acting and producing; as an NAACP Award-winning actor in Power: Book II and executive producing “Wu-tang: An American Saga,” now entering its second season on Hulu. Now, the self-proclaimed “comic book geek,” and host of the Marvel / Method podcast, is following in the footsteps of Stan Lee by launching his own comic universe, Tical World™, featuring original characters that will evolve into storylines for interactive comic books, TV shows, feature films, and video games. Tical World is breaking new ground by releasing original characters, artwork, and music in both physical, traditional form and via non-fungible tokens (NFTs). His anthology is a sharp contrast to the “cash grabs” that NFTs have become synonymous with, by launching an ongoing, interactive world that is centered around creating a new experience through which to connect with his fans. TuneGO®, Inc. will secure the content and creative rights for Method Man’s Tical World™ in the patented TuneGO Vault™.
Tical World™ will be an interactive comic community, giving audiences the opportunity to offer creative direction, interact with characters, purchase NFT rights to ownership, and create new storylines. Fans can sign up for limited-capacity early access to the Tical World community at https://www.tical.world.
The universe will be securely hosted on TuneGO’s next-generation global platform, with NFTs minted on the energy efficient Flow blockchain. The patented TuneGO Vault™, which creates a verifiable and indisputable “digital record” of the entire creative process, will be used to ensure the content and creative rights of Tical World are transparently secured and protected.
The first of the three Tical World NFT drops, called Part 1: The ORIGIN, will include:
- Original one-of-a-kind artwork of the Tical World anthology—a Killa Beez-inspired painting on canvas, on display digitally at https://www.tical.world and entitled “Who M I?”, by renowned New York City artist Alex Smetsky, which will be signed to the buyer by Method Man and Mr. Smetsky.
- Original 3D-enabled digital animation depicting part I of the anthology.
- Unreleased, original audio by Method Man, with original music composition and production by Van Gogh.
- Five physical and digital artist renderings of the five original Tical World comic characters, representing the comic universe’s “Da Vinci sketches,” and signed by artist Alex Smetsky.
- The first minted gold VIP card for Tical World and Tical Athletics, Method Man’s athleisure brand, offering exclusive discounts, access to limited-edition designer collaborations, physical and digital apparel, and the capability for the cardholder to be the first to access new product drops.
“The owner of this NFT will be purchasing a piece of history—as if they were buying the original sketches of Star Wars, Marvel, and Harry Potter characters,” said Alison Ball, President of TuneGO. “Method Man’s Tical World is introducing a new interactive experience that combines the digital and the physical to give its fan community a say in the creative process. We are proud to work with Method Man, and a variety of other artists, to secure the ownership rights to the content they bring to today’s audiences in new ways.”
The environmentally friendly Tical World™ uses Proof-of-State design principles via Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, consuming thousands of times less energy than traditional Proof-of-Work blockchains like Ethereum. Combined with the TuneGO Vault, Method Man’s first NFT drop incorporates the world’s most advanced and environmentally friendly technology solutions for content security, creative rights protection, and equitable royalty collection.
“The patented TuneGO Vault complements blockchain technology by adding an extra layer of transparency that enhances the long-term value of an NFT’s artwork and creative content throughout its lifespan,” said John Kohl, Co-Founder and CEO of TuneGO. “With the support of TuneGO, it is possible to own both the original physical, and digital, renderings of Tical World comic characters, all minted via the blockchain. As more artists introduce creative content through the minting of NFTs, we can help them prove they own what they create, and trade what they create as unique assets that can’t be copied or replaced.”
The enhanced, patented TuneGO Vault, launched earlier this year, is a first-of-its-kind solution giving artists and labels full control over the entire creative process, providing the ability to establish a chain of custody for a song, or pieces of artwork, prior to the minting of an NFT. This level of detailed tracking of creative rights and contributions has never before been available to artists.
TuneGO® Inc. is leveling the playing field in the music industry. We streamline content and music rights management, creative collaboration, plus distribution, licensing, and promotion, on a single unified digital platform, enabling artists and creatives to focus on what they do best—making music. Our patented technology stores a complete, permanent digital record of the music creation process in the cloud, essentially digitizing an artist’s catalog while protecting creative rights throughout their career. TuneGO’s end-to-end ecosystem also offers streaming distribution, sync licensing opportunities, and promotional services to help artists take their music to the global stage.
By giving artists, labels, and publishers the capability to securely manage their digital content and control their creative rights on the same platform where they distribute and license their music—ensuring artists are paid all of the royalties to which they are entitled—TuneGO is breaking new ground in the music industry. To learn more, please visit www.tunego.com or contact TuneGO at info@TuneGO.com. TuneGO is a free download in the app store and is powered by cutting-edge technology which has more than 100 granted patent claims.
About Tical World
Method Man’s Tical World™ will be the first of its kind to provide a community owned, character-based experience that transcends the digital and physical world. As the origin story is told via exclusive artwork, animations, and music, the future will be unfolding as the characters, already slated for an original series of comic books, animated films, and video games, are released to the community. In addition, relevant designer collaborations across physical and digital apparel will be available on the Tical World Store at shop.tical.world, and through Method Man’s athleisure line, Tical Athletics. To learn more, and sign up for early access to Tical World, please visit www.tical.world.
JConnelly for TuneGO
Artist and Tical World™ Contact:
SOURCE TuneGO, Inc.
First-ever Black Woman to Visit International Space Station
Nationwide — Jeanette Epps, a NASA astronaut, will soon make history as the first-ever Black woman to fly to the International Space Station on a mission into orbit. It will also be her first space flight in her career.
Epps, who is from Syracuse, New York, earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1992 from LeMoyne College. She then attended the University of Maryland, College Park where she received a Masters in 1994 and a Doctorate in 2000 for Aerospace Engineering.
She was also a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Project fellow while pursuing her doctorate degree, where she authored several journals and conference articles on her research.
After finishing her graduate school, she worked as a technical specialist in Ford’s Scientific Research Laboratory for 2 years, co-authoring several patents. She then served as a technical intelligence officer in the CIA for 7 years. In 2009, she was one of the nine selected people to become a NASA astronaut.
Moreover, she would have made history earlier in 2018 as the first Black woman to live on the ISS, but was later reassigned for undisclosed reasons.
Now, Epps has been assigned to NASA’s Boeing Starliner-1 mission, the first operational crewed flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft on a mission to the International Space Station. She will be joining NASA astronauts Sunita Williams and Josh Cassada for a six-month expedition which is set to launch in 2021.
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