I am Taz Brown, but you can call me Taz. My grandmother raised me since I was 5 months old, and she gave me the name. I am a woman, I am black, and I have been in IT for years. I am passionate about technology, but also disheartened. There is a lack of black women participating in technology. What may be more disturbing, the ones that are here are increasingly leaving the field.
I’ve pursued a couple of career paths in life. I worked hard and received my MBA, but decided 15 years ago to move into a technology career. I loved taking apart desktop computers, replacing parts, and getting them back up and running for other people. As I got deeper into the field, I noticed that there weren’t many people in the technology field who looked like me. This seemed like a challenge, and since I’m not one to back down from a challenge, I accepted it. Technology, I believed, was truly the place for me, and the first step to making a career out of it was to get some initial IT certifications. Once that foundation was built, I branched out to other areas like Networking, Security, and Linux.
As I said, my group isn’t well represented in this field. I’ve been the only black woman on several teams of all white men, and this sometimes feels isolating. There’s also a sort of Bro culture going on, where company perks might be free beer and ping pong, rather than free theater tickets, spa days, or work-from-home options. Whether or not it’s a conscious decision, the tech industry hasn’t been real inviting or inclusive. I have thought about leaving more than once, but realized that if I did, I would have to give up doing what I am passionate about.
Right now, women are only holding about 26% of all computing jobs in the US, and 11% of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies. That’s bad, but the same stats for women of color are even worse.
While I advocate for increasing the number of all underrepresented groups in technology, I can’t help but be especially concerned with black women in particular. I am nearly alone. I love technology, and I want other black women to to know that they have a place in the industry. It won’t always be easy, and they may find themselves, like me, contemplating leaving at some point in their careers.
I am Taz Brown, but you can just call me Taz. It’s a name given to me by my grandmother who raised me since I was 5 months old. I have been working in the technology field for 15 years now and am passionate about technology but disheartened not just about the lack of black women participating in technology, but I am more so disturbed by the increase in black women leaving the field of technology.
I am excited to host Linux Academy’s next Women in Tech Webinar: A Black Woman’s Perspective. Oftentimes, there’s nobody at the table in a D&I panel that remotely looks like us, and I think we’re getting left out of the discussion. I want the opportunity to put a face to technology, not just from a coding and programming standpoint, but from the perspective of being a seasoned professional whose core focus has been infrastructure, Linux, and open-source.
During the webinar, I will be discussing my experience as a black woman in technology. We’ll talk about the rewards, the challenges, what we can do to increase the number of black women entering technology, and maybe more importantly how we can improve the attrition rates. Further, I will discuss why black women are not making it to senior, lead, or beyond in the technology industry and how this can change.
When: Friday, October 26th, 10:30am CDT
Where: Sign up here!
Join Taz Brown and Treva Williams for a discussion on diversity and inclusion from the perspectives of Black women in the tech industry. They will discuss:
- Why diversity and inclusion is still an issue
- Challenges that minorities face in the tech industry
- What needs to be done to increase the number of women of color working in the industry
- How companies can retain women of color throughout their careers
- And much more!