15 professional organizations focused on diversity in tech

BIPOC communities have long been grossly underrepresented in IT. These 15 professional organizations aim to help close the diversity gap in tech by empowering BIPOC tech pros.

The tech industry does not have a reputation for being an inclusive space for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) working in IT and STEM jobs. While companies have made efforts to increase diversity in tech in the past few years, the statistics still paint a grim portrait of the diversity gap that persists in the tech industry.

White people comprise around 68% of the tech industry, far outpacing representation of Asian Americans (14%), Hispanics (8%) and African Americans (7%), according to data from the Diversity in High Tech report published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. White tech workers also benefit from disproportionate representation in executive roles (83%), while African Americans hold only 2% of tech executive roles and Asian Americans hold around 11%.

Despite diversity being a much-discussed topic in the tech industry, representation for BIPOC tech workers is still not where it needs to be. While the current list of professional organizations focused on diversity is short, hopefully emerging conversations about diversity and equality in tech will help the list of professional resources grow in the future.

Here are 15 professional organizations dedicated to growing representation in the tech industry through scholarships, training, networking resources and more.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES)

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing representation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, First Nations, and other indigenous peoples of North America in STEM studies and careers. The organization offers support to students in STEM programs with scholarships and events and offers professional development support in addition to career and networking opportunities.

Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA)

The Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) is an international organization founded in 1975 as a network for underrepresented minorities working in the IT and computer science fields. The BDPA organizes technology conferences, local chapter events, continuing education and professional development events, academic scholarships, and mentoring and career opportunities for Black IT professionals. The BPDA also organizes community outreach programs for students including the Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES), National High School Computer Competitions (HSCC) and Youth Technology Camp (YTC) to increase representation in tech and create pipelines for future talent.

Black & Brown Founders

Black & Brown Founders is a professional organization for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs to network and learn about startup bootstrapping through online resources and events. The goal is to “give entrepreneurs knowledge, tools and cutting-edge tactics to launch startups without relying on venture capital.” Black & Brown Founders was developed after its founder Aniyia Williams saw firsthand the barriers people of color face when trying to get venture funding. She wanted to provide a way for founders of color with limited resources to get the training and resources to support their business idea, helping them grow their businesses without outside funding.

Black Girls Code

Black Girls Code is an organization dedicated to inspiring young girls from underrepresented communities to code to help grow the number of women of color working in the tech industry. In Silicon Valley, white households are twice as likely to have internet access compared to African American households — this is what Black Girls Code calls the “digital divide.” The organization focuses on bridging this gap by teaching young girls, especially from underprivileged areas, the early skills they need to get a head start in programming and equipping them with the right tools to learn. While it’s an organization targeted at a younger audience, they encourage adult professionals to volunteer their time to help teach programming skills.

Blacks in Technology (BIT)

Blacks in Technology is a global networking platform that is dedicated to “stomping the divide” for Black people in the tech industry by outlining industry standards for creating a more diverse workplace. BIT offers its members access to a network and community of other professionals with opportunities for mentorship, including 14 local chapters across the U.S. Members also get access to resources and guidance to foster diversity and representation in the tech industry.

CODE2040

CODE2040 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “activating, connecting and mobilizing the largest racial equity community in tech to dismantle the structural barriers that prevent the full participation and leadership of Black and Latinx technologists in the innovation economy.” The organization achieves this through events, training, early-career programs and knowledge sharing to ensure Black and Latinx technologists have the tools and network to enable racial equity throughout the tech industry.

DigitalUndivided (DID)

DigitalUndivided (DID) is an organization focused on fostering more inclusivity in entrepreneurship by empowering Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. It started as a conference for Black women founders in tech, which led to it growing into a Focus Fellow (FF) program and eventually it turned into an eight-week virtual accelerator program. And they didn’t stop there — DID later took on research projects that uncovered how Black and Latinx female founders receive less than 0.2% of all venture funding. After the report was released, the number of startups led by Black women tripled and funding increased 500%. DID has since continued to expand its offering of programs, initiatives and research to uplift Black and Latinx female founders in tech.

Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF)

The Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) offers career-advancing programs for Black IT professionals. The ITSMF was formed in 1996 by a group of technology executives who wanted to improve diversity in the technology industry all the way to the executive level. The mission of the ITSMF is to “increase the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth.” The ITSMF offers programs for executives, managers, and an “emerge” program specifically designed for increasing the representation of women of color at senior levels in the technology industry.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) is a professional organization for underrepresented minorities working in engineering and STEM roles. NACME provides college scholarships for underrepresented minorities who are interested in pursuing a degree in STEM. The goal is to increase representation of BIPOC in tech by providing scholarships, resources and opportunities for “high-achieving, underrepresented minority college students pursuing careers in engineering and computer science.” NACME’s focus is on helping students become qualified candidates for in-demand tech jobs.

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is a student-governed organization with 500 chapters and nearly 16,000 active members in the U.S. and abroad. The nonprofit organization comprises collegiate and pre-collegiate students and technical professionals in engineering and technology. The mission of the NSBE is “to increase the number of culturally responsible Black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community,” according to the website. 

The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN)

The Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN) mission is to help create a world where “nonprofits fulfill their missions through the skillful and racially equitable use of technology.” NTEN offers professional credentials and training as well as community skill and resource sharing for the nonprofit community. The organization is openly committed to antiracism and aims to advance equity by dismantling systems of oppression. They acknowledge the work that needs to be done in becoming an antiracist organization and that it requires a continued commitment to listening and learning. NTEN offers a digital equity professional certificate and a digital inclusion fellowship along with other programs designed to help improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the tech industry.

Opportunity Hub (OHUB)

The Opportunity Hub (OHUB) was founded as a “technology, startup and venture ecosystem building platform” to ensure that everyone has “equitable access to the future of work” and to create pathways to “multigenerational wealth creation with no reliance on pre-existing multigenerational wealth.” The organization is dedicated to providing skills development, early tech exposure, job placement, entrepreneurship support program, new job creation, and alternative capital formation for college students, young professionals, founders and investors nationwide. 

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is an “inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in STEM.” The organization has more than 8,000 members and has trained over 300 leaders sine 2009 — they offer conferences, regional meetings, webinars, leadership programs and professional programs to members.

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) was started in a garage in 1974 by a group of Hispanic engineers who experienced the barriers the Hispanic community face when embarking on career path in tech spaces that lack diversity. Rodrigo Garcia started the organization after realizing that at work, he found himself as “a brown face in a sea of white,” and noticed the stark contrast in diversity to his own Los Angeles neighborhood. The organization has since grown into a nationwide professional association boasting more than 11,000 members and 375 college and university chapters.

Wonder Women Tech

The mission of Wonder Women Tech is to “highlight, celebrate, educate and amplify” women, BIPOC and underrepresented groups in high-tech fields. The nonprofit organization offers programs, conferences, workshops, career fairs and a robust online community for networking and mentorship opportunities. Wonder Women Tech aims to highlight women and underrepresented communities who make an impact in STEM and the arts. They also offer a series of inclusive and accessible workshops and camps for deaf, disabled, seniors and underserved youth.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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