Tech is not a space where you find plenty of black women so let me give you some background on how I ended up here. When I was heading to high school I tested into a science and technology program where I had to choose a focus area of Biology, Engineering or Computer Science.
At that age I had no idea what the difference was between Engineering and Computer Science, so I did what I always did, I asked my parents. After a quick chat, we chose Computer Science. That choice led me to start coding with C++ in the 10th grade in my first ever computer programming class. That early exposure to computer programming (aka coding) had a lasting impact on my life and career path.
After high school, I went on to a private engineering university where I studied information technology and stumbled into IT consulting. Now, the lack of diversity was clear while I was in college, but corporate America was a whole different ball game! I joined the company with my quiet demeanor and optimistic nature having no idea what was to come. This experience could be a blog all on its own, but I will just touch on one experience that is indicative of my time there.
I joined the company through a cohort program with defined times for performance review and promotions. This being my first job I had no idea how to talk about promotion with my manager, but he managed multiple people from my cohort, so he was very much aware. One day I logged in to my laptop and looked through my IM contact list and noticed that ALL of my peers had been promoted except for me! The ONLY black woman from that group. I was absolutely crushed but from that moment on I vowed to never leave my future in anyone else’s hands and began to speak up for myself!
A few years later, I felt it was time for me to accelerate my career, I wasn’t happy with my job progression, and I decided I wanted to go back to school. I applied to business school and got in! I joined a part time MBA program at the University of Maryland, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was a challenge, and I barely had a social life between weekend classes and traveling for work, but the sacrifice was worth it!
During my last year of business school, I got laid off from my job and a few months later found out I was pregnant by my boyfriend (and future husband). While one would think that I would have been worried, I wasn’t, I was hopeful! I was excited for what God had in store for the next chapter of my life and I was comforted by the unwavering support from my family and friends.
During my search for a new job, I was contacted by a recruiter from a top tech company, but I simply did not have
the qualifications to get the job. No worries, I landed a great opportunity as a Senior Tech Consultant at a Big 4 Consulting firm.
I started this job equipped with an MBA and valuable experience from my previous job, I was ready to take on anything. Everything was going according to plan, I was quickly staffed on projects, made all the right connections and found my way into the Cloud Strategy practice.
During this time, I was again reached out to by a recruiter from that same Tech company about that same role! I was open to chatting but wasn’t looking for a new opportunity at the time. Now, there were some things I did not really care for at my current job, but I wasn’t ready to leave.
The following year it was time for promotion….I had prepared for this moment, I frequently spoke to peers and mentors about it and knew exactly what to do. I started to have conversations about it with my project leadership but I wasn’t getting direct answers.
Oh no, not this again…the familiar feeling from my previous job started to come up! As I began to learn
more about the career path at that company I started to question whether it was something I even wanted.
After a check in regarding my promotion with my manager resulted in him talking in circles, I became so frustrated! I simply could not go through this tedious promotion process to just be disappointed. I needed a backup plan, so I reached back out to the recruiter from the top tech company! Mind you this was a year later but I did not care, I was willing to try anything.
When I read through the job description, I got excited about the opportunity all over again. During almost 3 years at my current job, I had unknowingly been gathering the experience I needed for this next opportunity, I even got a certification which made me an even stronger candidate for the job.
I cleared the recruiter screening phone call, and it became even more real to me, I was not going to pass this opportunity up. I reached out to people that I knew at the company, and even one I didn’t know, to inquire about the company culture and how to ace the interviews. I reviewed technical notes to refresh my knowledge, I studied the interview prep materials meticulously, watched YouTube videos to learn about their unique interview process and did mock interviews with a career advisor from my MBA program.
As a believer I put this opportunity into God’s hands, I wrote this job down specifically in my prayer requests during my church’s January fast and frequently prayed with my husband about it. I went through the longest and most challenging interview process I have ever experienced in my life.
I went through so many emotions during that time, and I was so close to giving up. I even had my friend refer me to a completely different position at the same company while awaiting interview feedback, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that I wrote that job down as a part of my prayer requests and assured me that it was mine. So, after three rounds of interviews over three months, I received a job offer to join one of the top tech companies in the world! I thank God for how far he has brought me and though it has been a long road “He has made all things beautiful in its time” Ecclesiates 3:11
Wishing you the best in your career goals,