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While the tech field offers high-paying, fast-growing jobs, Black computer science professionals are underrepresented in the field.
The Pew Research Center reports that Black people made up just 7% of the computer workforce between 2017 and 2019. Pew reported Black adults made up 11% of employed adults during the same time period.
But the interest in computer science is there. According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 88% of Black students showed interest in learning computer science that outpaced interest from white peers (80% interested) and Hispanic peers (84% interested).
The same poll reported Black students have less access to home computers or computer classes.
Institutionalized racism creates barriers to entry (lack of a home computer, as a minor example) but is not the only limiting factor at play.
Once Black students are in computer science programs issues like classmate behavior or imposter syndrome brought on by lack of representation can make Black students switch majors.
When AudienceNet and Jobs for the Future asked working-age Black adults why they never pursued a computer science or STEM-related credential, 16% of respondents cited financial concerns, and 12% were worried they would not fit in.
Several computer science organizations encourage Black students to pursue STEM degrees and offer professional development resources for professionals. These organizations perform advocacy, conduct research, and support computer science students and professionals in various other ways.
The Pew Research Center reports that Black people made up just 7% of the computer workforce between 2017 and 2019.
Students can find scholarships and fellowships, networking events, and job and internship resources by joining a Black computer science organization.
This page features lists of computer science, coding, and tech organizations that support Black students.
Computer Science Organizations
Several computer science organizations, nonprofits, and networks offer resources, scholarships and fellowships, and mentorship programs that can help Black students successfully pursue computer science degrees. Black computer science majors may also find internship and job opportunities, access to professional news and publications, and advocacy efforts through the groups below.
Students can use NACME's career center, search its database of scholarship programs, and find information about corporate support.
The coding organizations below support Black students and professionals interested in or actively engaged in coding careers. Explore this list to find out about scholarships, mentorship programs, conferences, and learning opportunities for Black coders.
The tech organizations below offer support and encourage current and aspiring Black tech professionals. Students can find educational opportunities, ways to connect with other Black tech workers, and career information. Some groups also provide scholarships, organize events, and publish professional newsletters and journals.
Started in 2012, the Hidden Genius Project connects young Black men with local tech jobs. The organization provides skills training, mentorship, and other experiences that prepare them for careers in the global tech industry. Hidden Genius offers intensive immersions, catalyst programs, on-site community programming, and youth educators.
An alumni venture seed fund helps young entrepreneurs launch their projects.
Created in 1996, ITSMF is a national organization dedicated to encouraging Black technology professionals. The group's offerings include leadership academies, membership opportunities, a speakers bureau, and a college mentorship program. Students can attend symposiums, virtual events, regional events, and key programs.
The ITSMF foundation awards scholarships for Black students pursuing STEM-related college degrees.
Teens Exploring Technology inspires Black and brown highschool boys to pursue tech entrepreneurship. The group offers educational skills training, consulting, and a mentorship program. College students can apply for an internship, fellowship, or volunteer position helping teens develop technology skills.
The organization also creates a podcast and posts articles and videos on its website.
The Knowledge House empowers, educates, and serves Black and brown students who aspire to careers in the tech industry. The organization offers technical and career instruction and a fellowship program for technologist hopefuls.
The innovation fellowship program is free and open to New York City residents who hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and make less than $50,000 a year.
Questions About Black Computer Science Organizations
Where can I find other Black coders?You can find other Black coders by exploring coding organizations that support Black students and professionals. Consider groups like Black Code Collective, All-Star Code, Black Boys Code, and Black Girls Code.
What percentage of coders are Black?Black workers make up just 7% of the computing workforce as a whole. The exact percentage of Black coders is difficult to calculate, but Facebook reported that Black workers accounted for just 1% of its engineers and coders in 2018.
What are the largest Black computer science organizations?The largest Black computer science organizations include the National Society of Black Engineers, Black Data Processing Associates, and Code2040. Other major groups include the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering and the National Society of Blacks in Computing.
How can a computer science organization help me?Black computer science organizations can help you find mentorship opportunities, apply for scholarships, and learn through professional development workshops. Joining a group is also a good way to find out about job and internship openings.
- Castillo, Michelle. (2018). Facebook admits it’s doing a bad job hiring more black and Hispanic engineers and says the problem may go back to the company’s roots. CNBC
- Computer science learning: closing the gap. (2016). Google Inc. and Gallup
- Fry, Richard, et al. (2021). STEM jobs see uneven progress in Increasing gender, racial, and ethnic diversity. Pew Research Center
- Increasing opportunities for Black learners and workers within digital & IT careers. (2021). Jobs For the Future
- Lawrence, Keith, et al. (2004). Structural racism. Intergroup Resources
- Newsome, Melba. (2021). Even as colleges pledge to improve, share of engineering and math graduates who are Black declines. Hechinger Report
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