Diversifying the Tech Pipeline: How did I get into Tech? with Yahoo’s Desmond Vehar
Diversity is not a characteristic of life; it is a condition necessary for life … like air and water.
- BARRY LOPEZ
There is a lot of rhetoric around diversifying the technical pipeline and the pipeline in other industries as well, such as pharmaceutical and financial services. We need tolerance of real diversity changes. And frankly, we also need less talk and more action.
Under our HBCU I.C.E. platform at UNCF, our concern is the lack of exposure for our black and brown students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for technical positions, trainings, or key opportunities that other ethnicities are provided. The HBCU I.C.E. platform seeks to provide our Computer Science + Engineering HBCU students with exposure and opportunities — — and serve as the community leader linking each student to tech ecosystems across the country through technical and entrepreneurship training. With exposure comes training — — training to develop the hard and soft skills preparing these Computer Science or Engineering HBCUs students for the competitive… Positions where they can thrive in, building new verticals or products for the technical companies they dream of working for.
This is the reason we’ve developed a new Webinar Series in addition to our other training and leadership development programs ( HBCU Innovation Summits), “ How did I get into Tech?” with Yahoo’s Desmond Vehar, Co-Chair of the Yahoo Black Network and an Associate Software Engineer.
In addition to answering technical and non technical questions on the webinar, Desmond graciously provided our students with a 10 page resource guide: “Landing a Job or Internship as a Software Engineer.”
Below are a few questions, Desmond answered for our students.
- How do I deal with self doubt after failing a technical interview and not securing an internship or job?
- What is the biggest obstacle you faced at Yahoo?
- What are the perks of working at Yahoo? ( besides the free food)
- What was your perception of Tech Companies like Yahoo before landing a job at the company?
- What is the work culture and daily schedule like?
- Is everything free at Yahoo?
Desmond described to our students what a day in the life of a Software Engineer at Yahoo is like, and how he was able to transition to a new project, Back end Systems Engineering to UI Engineering. He also mentioned that as a Black engineer, there are not many employees that look like him at Yahoo which is the reason why he is so passionate in preparing our HBCU students for careers to work side by side him. Watch here for the full video.
UNCF hosted it first Webinar of the Series, "How did I get into Tech?" with Yahoo's Software Engineer + Co Chair the…www.hbcuinnovation.org
- As an engineer, you should never stop learning. There is always a new skill set to learn and master.
- Teams at Yahoo work in Scrum and other similar Agile methods.
- During the Technical interview, ask clarifying questions about the problem you have to solve.
- Practice coding in a simple text editor or on paper.
So I close with asking you to join Desmond and others like him in preparing and exposing our HBCU students to environments where they are provided with opportunities to acquire and demonstrate skills that will empower them to compete in Technical Careers and Tech entrepreneurship. Join us in bringing more HBCU students out to Silicon Valley Tech Giants and Bay Area Startups!
We have an abundance of viable candidates for the tech industry. But as much as we are working to connect these students to tech ecosystems and recruiters, they are still not being hired or offered internships/positions at the pace we like…so help us help these HBCU students master their hard and professional soft skills.
I work with over 120 HBCUs students who are CS/E + IT/S + other interdisciplinary study majors. Here is a taste of the talented students and their experiences. — — Article written by one of the 2015 HBCU Innovation Summit Fellows.