After winning a fully-funded place on ColorinTech’s Immersion programme, I got the chance to visit San Francisco and explore how US companies are innovating to promote diversity and inclusion in tech.
Last June, I went on a 4-day trip to San Francisco with ColorInTech, a London-based organisation whose mission is to diversify the tech industry in Europe. The Tech Immersion Programme was an amazing experience, as it was a great opportunity to travel whilst learning about the tech industry first-hand.
The trip consisted of tours and Q&A sessions at some inspiring tech companies including Google, Twitch and Handshake. I especially loved the visit to Twitch because of their open workspaces and gaming room – plus they had great food options in their cafeteria! The visits enabled me to gain contacts with employers and build my network. I learnt about what employers are looking for when recruiting. At Google, we had a presentation from a recruiter, explaining the application process in great detail and advising on how to make our CVs stand out.
Diversity was the main emphasis of the trip. I learnt about the current challenges in this area and what is being done to overcome this. We visited The Hidden Genius Project – an organisation that ‘trains and mentors black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities’. Their immersion programme teaches high school students computer science, entrepreneurship, problem-solving and leadership skills. The Kapor Center is another organisation that is also working towards levelling the playing field in tech.
I also saw the different approaches companies use to increase inclusivity in the workplace. For instance, Blend, a FinTech company, helps to create communities so that their employees feel included and more comfortable in the workplace. There are lots of groups to get involved with such as ‘women at blend’, ‘pride at blend’, and ‘parents at blend’.
In my free time, I had the chance to explore San Francisco and visit some tourist hotspots: the Golden Gate Bridge; China Town; Pier 39. However, one of my tourist highlights was the Uber ride on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. We drove past the house where they filmed Mrs Doubtfire!
Based on this trip, I highly recommend seeking out opportunities for work experience or immersion programmes in a field you’d like to work in. After this experience, I feel really positive about my career prospects in the tech industry and I have a much better idea about how to attain the kinds of jobs that I’m interested in.
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