Underrepresentation in Tech: A Retrospective and Social Reckoning with Jarvis Moore and Amy Lima49:11 with Treehouse
Amy Lima & Jarvis Moore discuss the history of whitewashing and underrepresentation in tech as well as the implications lack of representation has in our lives.
[MUSIC] 0:00 Hey, y'all, what's up, y'all, are you ready? 0:06 What's up, what's up? 0:10 >> [LAUGH] We're even early. 0:11 >> I know, a little bit. 0:13 I've got some folks joining us. 0:15 >> I was right on time. 0:18 >> [CROSSTALK] Well, while they're hopping on, 0:19 I am going to introduce you, beautiful folks. 0:23 It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Amy Lima and 0:27 Jarvis Moore to the stage y'all. 0:32 Amy is a product designer based in New York City one of my favorites of 0:35 first generation American college graduate in tech professional. 0:40 Her design work is driven by inclusive human centered practices and 0:45 champion marginalized voices with the aim of dismantling, 0:51 I should say, exclusionary [INAUDIBLE]. 0:56 Jarvis Moore is a UX designer, writer and 0:59 UX mentor based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 1:02 His story started when he dropped out of college to get a job to support his 1:06 family. 1:10 Being the only source of income in his household, 1:11 he couldn't afford to attend a boot camp. 1:13 But he had skills as a graphic designer and 1:16 he leveraged those to build a career in UX. 1:18 He specializes in branding and design strategy and 1:22 he tries to share what he's learned on his unconventional journey and design with as 1:25 many people as possible to show them that anybody can chase after their passion. 1:31 Please welcome, Jarvis and Amy. 1:37 >> Thank you so much for such a lovely introduction and hey, everyone. 1:40 Welcome to our talk on the very important topic of underrepresentation in tech. 1:46 We're so excited to be here today. 1:52 And firstly, would like to thank Treehouse again for inviting us to speak at such 1:54 a great festival alongside so many other talented folks. 1:58 And, we especially wanna thank all of you for tuning in today. 2:02 It's been a long and tiresome year of virtual events in screen time and 2:05 you could be doing many other things right now. 2:10 But you chose to join this space with us, and for that, we are so grateful and 2:13 we promise to make your time today worthwhile. 2:18 >> Excuse me while I get our presentation up and we can get started. 2:28 >> Cool, so before diving in, we'd like to briefly introduce ourselves. 2:35 Again, right, so I'm Amy. 2:41 My pronouns are she/her and I'm a first generation American college grad in tech 2:43 professional in my family currently working as a product designer. 2:48 My experience as a first generation immigrant in tech has come with barriers, 2:53 a mighty sense of responsibility, and 2:57 the never ending pursuit of feeling truly seen in this industry. 2:59 I've always been interested in tech and design, but 3:04 growing up didn't see many people in the field who looked like me. 3:06 I thought a career in tech was an elite two members-only club that only 3:10 the most privileged were invited to join and 3:14 it was audacious of me to even dream of playing a part. 3:16 But, once I learned that the field actually did include people who looked 3:21 like me, and even more importantly needed people who looked like me, 3:24 I followed my dreams of becoming a designer and never looked back. 3:28 I'm a tech optimist at heart and believes that we have the power to make 3:32 the world a much better place through responsible use of technology. 3:36 And I hope to help shape that better worlds through my design work. 3:40 My daily inspiration comes from any person of color forging their way in 3:44 even the most oppressive spaces and 3:48 empowering even the most marginalized through design and tech. 3:50 >> And I'm Jarvis, self-taught UX designer, mentor, and occasional writer. 3:57 I'm also a part of an organization called Black UX labs, 4:03 where our goal is to put more black B in the C suite. 4:07 So as we kind of touched on, 4:11 I'm on the opposite side of Amy where I didn't finish college. 4:13 And so, not having a college degree made it exponentially more difficult 4:16 to break into tech. 4:20 And, when you add on top of that being a black man, 4:21 it meant that I had to be better and faster and there was no room for 4:24 error in order to prove that I belonged. 4:28 But despite the odds, I was still able to find my way. 4:31 Because of that, because of the journey really that it took me to get into tech, 4:35 I felt like I can be like a shining light or a beacon of hope for 4:40 people who don't have degrees as well to realize that even without that you can 4:43 still accomplish your dreams. 4:48 So, through my unconventional path, 4:50 I take it as my responsibility to uplift people around me. 4:52 Extend a helping hand to anyone that I can and to try and make the tech industry 4:56 a more diverse and inclusive field for the next generation of designers. 5:01 So, we wanna start off by sharing some statements and 5:09 asking that you just nod along if you're aware of or 5:13 not surprised by anything that we mentioned here. 5:18 So, first, did you know that algorithms built with insufficient data sets 5:24 can lead to everything from police disproportionately targeting communities 5:29 of color to misdiagnosis of certain skin cancers for darker skinned patients? 5:34 Did you know that AI chat bots trained to learn human behavior by 5:43 interacting with Internet have users often produce streams of sexist, 5:48 racist and even pro-Hitler messages? 5:53 And, did you know that companies that have higher degrees of racially and ethnically 6:00 diverse employers are 35% more profitable than companies with homogenous workforces? 6:05 And yet, people of color make up a tiny percentage of the tech workforce. 6:12 >> If you nodded along to any of the things we said, 6:20 this session is gonna serve as an examination of why that is. 6:23 The systems at play that perpetuate under representation in tech, 6:26 the implications of a uniform industry, and how to break the cycle. 6:30 If you didn't identify with anything we said, 6:35 this session may serve as a reckoning for you. 6:37 Bringing to light the difficult but undeniable issues that people of color, 6:40 your colleagues, your friends face every day, and 6:44 hopefully provide inspiration on how to be a more actionable ally. 6:47 >> So, we hear a lot about under representation in design and technology. 6:54 But, what does that actually mean? 7:00 And, what are the implications of a homogenous field, particularly one with so 7:03 much power and influence in our day-to-day lives? 7:07 By the end of this talk, we hope you can answer these questions and 7:12 feel empowered to tackle them head on. 7:15 >> We'll soon be dissecting the current state of underrepresentation in tech. 7:20 But first, we wanna go back to the beginning and 7:24 highlight some early pioneers of color in the industry. 7:26 Who designed culture shifting products we use in our daily lives, acknowledge 7:29 the obstacles they overcame, and consider what we can still learn from them today. 7:33 >> In this day and age, 7:41 we're used to having an infinite amount of data at our fingertips. 7:42 And, we're not just talking about the Internet, we're talking about hard data. 7:46 Have you ever tracked your screen time, monitor your spending habits? 7:52 These often use charts and graphs to help us make sense of the data we're seeing. 7:58 These data visualizations are vital in making cold statistics so 8:02 meaningful and even personal. 8:06 One of the earliest pioneers in the field of modern data visualization was 8:10 WEB Du Bois. 8:15 He used his background in sociology, anthropology, and civil activism, 8:17 to highlight impressive statistics surrounding black American. 8:21 These data visualizations were premiered at the Paris Exhibition in 1900, where 8:28 Du Bois made African American culture more visible to a wider spectrum of people. 8:33 His work showed African American advances in education, 8:39 lingering effects of slavery, and most importantly, 8:43 that despite centuries of oppression, people of color were excelling. 8:46 This data was in direct conflict to the widely accepted white supremacist 8:54 paradigm that was dominating mainstream science at this time. 8:58 Using these visualizations made Du Bois one of the first great American mind, 9:03 whose reach extended beyond academics to the masses. 9:08 He leveraged design as a tool to educate and democratize information and 9:12 made us rethink how we interpret data. 9:17 His innovative visualization techniques are still widely regarded and 9:20 used to this day. 9:24 >> In the 1960s, technology was beginning to develop at an unprecedented pace. 9:29 These technologies laid the foundation for an entire half decade of 9:35 scientific innovations, many of which resulted in the products we enjoy today. 9:39 After being among the first African Americans to attend and 9:48 graduate St Louis University, Roy Clay was recruited by HP in 1965 to be 9:51 instrumental in the development of an ambitious project Taking 9:56 a room sized computer of the day and making it available for personal use. 10:01 Clay ultimately created and led HP computer division, 10:06 making HP the first computer company in Silicon Valley. 10:10 One year later, Clay and his team developed the HP 2116A, 10:14 one of the world's first mini computers and the first computer to be sold by HP. 10:19 Not only did Clay develop the software for this computer, he also went on to 10:25 become the director of the first HP research and development computer group. 10:29 Clay is often called the godfather of Silicon Valley because of 10:36 the opportunities he created for others in the industry, 10:40 specifically African Americans. 10:44 While at HP, he expanded their employment recruitment from historically 10:46 black colleges and universities to join HP's computer division. 10:51 And when Clay went on to start his own technology company Rod-L, 10:55 he professed it was at one point the largest employer of African American 10:58 professionals in Silicon Valley. 11:03 >> Outside of his tech accomplishments, 11:07 Roy became the first minority to serve on the Palo Alto City Council in 1973. 11:10 He also became the first African American vice mayor of Palo Alto in 1976. 11:16 Today, Roy is one of the most celebrated figures in technology. 11:23 Despite discrimination and 11:28 limited opportunities available to Black Americans, 11:29 Roy has enjoyed great success in an industry that is known to lack diversity. 11:33 And in 2003, was inducted into the Silicon Valley, Engineering Council Hall 11:37 of Fame where he was honored for his pioneering professional accomplishments. 11:42 Not only that his contribution saved HP and technology, but 11:47 he also helped to pave the way for minorities to follow in his footsteps 11:51 >> When we think of modern day computing, 12:00 a few names usually come to mind and get all the credit for 12:02 the interfaces we know and love. 12:05 Typically, all white men. 12:06 But we don't hear about the names of the people behind the scenes who shaped 12:11 the look and feel of the screens we use every day. 12:15 People who created the Windows, dialog boxes, and icons we've largely take for 12:18 granted these days. 12:21 Among them is Loretta Staples, 12:25 one of the earliest interface designers in San Francisco. 12:28 For years, she dreamed of interactive experiences meant to delight and 12:31 satisfy the end user. 12:36 And that was long before the term design thinking became a buzzword, 12:37 and the fields became to be known as UI. 12:42 When the Loretta first started designing, the field was so 12:45 new that most of the software from Photoshop to Figma didn't even exist yet. 12:49 She used a combination of the tools available at the time to come up with 12:53 creative ways to bring technology to life through delightful design. 12:56 >> Loretta went on to become a full time interface designer at Apple in 1989. 13:06 Before opening up her own studio U.I 1992, 13:11 where she helped create a design for an interactive television prototype, 13:15 a predecessor in many ways to streaming TV of today. 13:20 Loretta curved a space for herself and her passions before they were formally 13:27 defined as a field and paved the way for those who came after her. 13:32 In this way, she can be known as one of the earliest pioneers in 13:36 the field of interaction design. 13:39 But despite pioneering landmark achievements by technologists of color, 13:45 we are still largely facing the same obstacles and 13:50 barriers to access an entry as our predecessors did. 13:53 We can look to them for inspiration for making an impact in the field, but 13:56 we still need to recognize the present battles left to fight. 14:00 When we say that tech has a diversity and inclusion problem, this is what we mean. 14:03 >> We hear a lot about underrepresentation in tech today, and for good reason. 14:11 It's no secret that the industry skews overwhelmingly white. 14:15 Specifically Hispanic, Latinx, and black people are the most 14:19 underrepresented in tech relative to their representation in the US. 14:23 Technology is the one industry that shapes all other industries, so 14:28 representation in this field truly matters, and 14:33 it's a pivotal step towards a more equitable society. 14:36 In 2016, big tech companies acknowledged this gap and 14:43 made it a public goal to increase diversity in their workforces, and 14:46 even made hefty donations to civil justice organizations. 14:50 Unfortunately, five years later, these prominent companies and 14:54 the industry as a whole, have barely moved the needle in increasing minority 14:58 representation in their workforce. 15:03 Beyond that, a recent study of diversity and 15:05 technology found that companies that made statements of solidarity had 15:08 20% fewer black employees on average than those who didn't. 15:13 Highlighting a gap between what companies say about social issues, and 15:17 what they do about it in their own workplaces. 15:21 Tech leaders have often pointed to a pipeline problem, 15:27 to explain away the lack of minority hiring and promotion. 15:30 But even in 2017, 8.9% of graduates with bachelor's degrees in computer and 15:36 information science were black, and a little over 10% were Latino. 15:43 However low these numbers are, they're much higher than the percentage of 15:48 minorities represented in workforces across tech, which hovers at about 3%. 15:52 So just thinking about the problem of under representation in tech cannot be 15:57 explained by a pipeline problem alone. 16:01 >> So what else explains the disparity? 16:05 What else explains this disparity? 16:09 Unsurprisingly, the reasons build on each other. 16:12 The first barrier to entry minorities encounter is their early education and 16:17 socialization. 16:22 Early on, societal stereotypes and unconscious bias reinforced the perception 16:23 that minorities are not as good as white kids in STEM disciplines. 16:28 Due to often unconscious bias, parents and teachers are likely to 16:32 discourage minorities from pursuing computer related activities. 16:37 For women of color, the intersectionality of gender and race combined, puts them at 16:43 an even more of a disadvantage when it comes to computer science and engineering, 16:47 widening the gap of minority women in tech further. 16:52 The next line of offense in hiring practices is the perpetuation of 16:58 gatekeeping. 17:03 Companies are often reluctant to broaden the schools they recruit from 17:07 to include historically black colleges and universities, for example. 17:11 As widening the recruitment that can be seen as a threat to institutions who pride 17:15 themselves in being elite and of the select few. 17:20 Many tech companies also rely heavily on referrals from current employees, 17:26 which is a system that reinforces the network effects. 17:31 People in power typically refer those who look and act like they do, 17:35 which further perpetuates this vicious cycle. 17:38 >> Once you do get your foot through the door, 17:45 people of color face often another hurdle, lack of mentorship. 17:47 Racial minorities are underrepresented in tech leadership roles, 17:54 even when you control for 17:58 the fact that they're underrepresented at these companies as a whole. 17:59 This not only maintains a power imbalance, but 18:03 can also hinder the growth of employees at that company. 18:07 Similar to exclusionary hiring practices, 18:10 people in senior roles who skew overwhelmingly white men, 18:14 often seek protegees that look like them and remind them of themselves. 18:18 Because of this, people of color in tech often lack someone who will advocate for 18:23 them and who they can turn to in the face of micro aggressions in the workplace. 18:27 This results in a high turnover rate of diverse talent, 18:32 bringing us back to square one. 18:35 So we see that simply acknowledging the problem of underrepresentation in tech 18:40 isn't enough. 18:44 While setting up ambitious goals to increase representation in your work 18:45 force, pledging significant money to tech pipeline diversity programs, and 18:49 even slightly moving the needle for people of color in the industry are meaningful. 18:54 These acts of altruism ring performative at best until they're 18:59 quantitatively reflected in the company's diversity data. 19:03 Increasing opportunities for people of color in one of the fastest growing and 19:07 highest paid sectors of the economy is gonna require more 19:11 incessant efforts to bring about real change. 19:14 The tech industry still has a lot of work to do, and understanding the hurdles and 19:22 nuances that people of color face at every stage in 19:26 the hiring chain helps contextualize the problem and know how to ask the right and 19:29 difficult questions at your company. 19:34 Which are the first steps in helping reverse this trend. 19:36 >> So, how does this underrepresentation affect us in our everyday lives? 19:42 The root causes of biases and 19:47 racism infiltrating into our technologies comes from a few places. 19:49 For starters, it's extremely difficult to root out unconscious bias. 19:55 In contrast to explicit bias, where someone's deliberately and 19:59 willfully discriminating against you, unconscious bias refers to the deep 20:03 seated prejudices we all absorb due to living in an unequal society. 20:08 These biases can be present even in people who genuinely believe they're 20:14 committed to equality. 20:19 It's harder to spot out and root out than obvious discrimination. 20:20 These biases affect society in many harmful ways in our day to day lives. 20:27 Such as medical professionals believing that black patients are less susceptible 20:32 to pain, and less likely to comply with medical advice than white patients. 20:38 Police instinctively seeing darker faces as being more criminal. 20:45 And hiring managers associating ethnic sounding names with aggression. 20:53 >> While it's unreasonable to expect people to completely abandon their 21:01 implicit biases, it's easy to see how they can infiltrate the technology and 21:05 the products we use every day. 21:09 Especially if the workforces behind building these products lack 21:11 a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. 21:15 With tech tools so ingrained in modern life, 21:18 racism in tech can exacerbate prejudicial attitudes. 21:21 So how does this harmful cycle begin? 21:24 The first culprit in biased technology is biased data. 21:30 Algorithms and 21:34 artificial intelligence are trained based on datasets humans feed to them. 21:35 Biased data is a result of prejudiced assumptions made during the algorithm 21:40 development process, or prejudices in the training data itself. 21:45 An example of the harmful effects of biased data is predictive policing tools. 21:53 Whose goal is to send officers to the scene of a crime before one occurs. 21:58 The assumption is that locations where individuals have 22:03 been previously arrested correlate with a likelihood of future illegal activity. 22:06 However, if those initial arrests were racially motivated or 22:11 even illegal, this approach can provide algorithmic justification for 22:16 further police harassment of minority and low income neighborhoods. 22:21 Using such flawed data to train new systems embeds the police departments 22:25 documented misconduct in the algorithm. 22:30 And perpetuates practices already known to be 22:33 terrorizing those most vulnerable to that abuse. 22:36 >> Another precursor to biased tech is lack of complete data. 22:42 If data is not complete before it's fed to a machine learning model, 22:46 it may not be representative, and therefore, it may include bias. 22:50 For example, if an AI tool that's trained to identify people is given 22:57 100 images of faces to learn from. 23:01 And only 10% of those images include people of color, 23:04 the AI will learn more about identifying white faces than it does any other race. 23:08 This has presented problems such as faulty facial recognition software, 23:15 mis-identification and surveillance software, 23:19 which has also led to wrongful convictions. 23:22 And even photo search engines classifying photos of people of color as gorillas. 23:25 So, to alleviate these instances of racism in technology, 23:34 training data should be as diverse and free from bias as possible. 23:38 And having people of color in the professional spaces where this tech is 23:43 built, helps identify this biased datasets before they can become more harmful. 23:47 >> In other words, it's dangerously easy for machine learning algorithms to 23:55 perpetuate society's existing race, class, and gender based inequalities. 23:59 But remember, we're talking about machines here. 24:04 Powerful as they are, we still call the shots indicating how and 24:07 why they behave the way they do. 24:12 Much of the racism in technology doesn't actually come from malice, but ignorance. 24:16 It's born of the way tech tools like AI are trained and coded. 24:22 It involves unconscious bias, the limitations of technology, and 24:27 racial oversight. 24:31 With that, a logical and actionable way to combat racist technology is to ensure 24:35 there's representation in the people who build this technology in the first place. 24:40 However, it's important to acknowledge that AI systems may never be 24:45 completely free from bias, as is the case with the humans who build them. 24:50 But with more people of color involved in all stages of the development process. 24:56 With awareness of the dangerous implications of these biases, 25:01 we can greatly reduce the potential for harm these tools hold. 25:05 And work towards producing a safer and more just future. 25:09 >> So where do we go from here? 25:14 The purpose of this talk was not to paint a grim picture of the tech industry or 25:17 to leave you feeling defeated and homeless at the greater systems at play. 25:22 Instead, we hope this discussion can serve as at least a starting point to 25:28 increase your awareness about the systemic lack of representation 25:32 in this hugely impactful industry. 25:37 The repercussions this lack of diversity has on our daily lives through 25:39 technology we use and depend on every day. 25:44 And how to use this knowledge to both empower yourself and those around you. 25:46 >> Most importantly, we want to emphasize that people of color in tech have been, 25:53 and will continue to be pioneers in this field 25:58 From the early contributions of W E B Du Bois, Roy Clay, and Loretta Staples, 26:03 to the present day work of contemporary tech activists. 26:08 The perspectives and impact of people of color in tech are what allows us to 26:12 continue reaching new heights of innovation. 26:16 If you doubt that you have a place in this industry, please remember that you've 26:18 always been here and your continuous involvement drives us forward. 26:23 If you don't know where to turn to find people who look like you in the industry, 26:29 here are some present day pioneers and organizations. 26:34 Who are breaking barriers in the field and paving the way for 26:37 people of color to thrive in tech. 26:40 Everyone on this list provides resources, community, and 26:42 great inspiration to empower the next generation of tech. 26:46 For those already in the industry or thinking of breaking in, 26:49 we wanna leave you with some gentle reminders and self care tips as you 26:54 navigate influential, intimidating, and often homogeneous spaces. 26:59 >> We want you to be mindful of moments when you're shrinking yourself to fit in. 27:05 This can manifest as code switching, not asking for 27:10 the promotion you deserve, or just downplaying your value. 27:14 We know that it can feel difficult, intimidating, and 27:18 sometimes even dangerous to take up space as a person of color. 27:21 But remind yourself of your power and worth. 27:26 Don't be afraid to be unapologetically yourself in these environments. 27:29 And call up microaggressions, 27:32 and potentially inadequate applications of technology when you see them. 27:34 On the other hand, recognize when you are in implicitly oppressive environments, 27:40 and the emotional toll of having to constantly show up. 27:46 Give yourself the time and space to decompress. 27:49 Practice self care and surround yourself with a strong support system, 27:53 either within your organization or outside of it, 27:57 that you know you can go to in times of need. 28:00 >> We know this conversation isn't easy. 28:03 The most important one seldom are. 28:07 But while difficult, we hope this talk will help you see yourself, show up for 28:10 yourself, and empower yourself in the tech world. 28:14 And hopefully be part of its continuous evolution towards the greater good. 28:17 It's easy to focus on the problematic aspects of the industry. 28:23 But we're firm believers that we're living at the pinnacle of technology poised to 28:26 make the world a much better place. 28:30 And having a part in shaping that future firsthand, is both a privilege and 28:32 a right. 28:37 The next frontier of the tech revolution starts with us, and 28:38 we hope to see you there. 28:42 >> We know this is a tough topic, but we do wanna open it up for questions. 28:46 We are by no means experts in diversity and inclusion. 28:51 But we do wanna provide a space to begin to ask tough questions. 28:54 And maybe together we can start coming up with some solutions. 28:58 Please feel free to drop any questions in the Q&A. 29:08 >> So we have one question already. 29:14 Do you have any recommendations for affinity organizations we can join? 29:16 Maybe do you wanna bring the slide back up Jarvis, 29:24 where we list some great organizations? 29:27 It's by no means an exhaustive list, right? 29:29 Just some of our favorites that we're personally involved in and 29:33 have found to be impactful. 29:38 And hopefully that can help you. 29:41 How can I motivate my underrepresented peoples and get them excited about tech? 29:48 I have some thoughts, but do you want to take that on, Jarvis? 29:55 I know that you're an educator working directly with some students. 29:59 Yeah, I think the biggest thing that I had to realize was that I need to 30:04 embrace who I am as a person and not be afraid to be myself. 30:09 But also be aware of my surroundings and 30:13 how I'm being perceived to the people in that environment. 30:15 I've been in situations where things happened that I didn't 30:19 people saw me in a way that I didn't even realize I was being seen. 30:24 And so it's kinda made me a little bit more hyper focused with making sure that 30:30 how I feel like I'm being portrayed as how people are actually receiving that 30:34 behavior. 30:38 And so really just trying to communicate and be aware of my surroundings. 30:38 So, that's probably the best advice I can give for now. 30:44 Amy, you, you can add to that? 30:47 >> Yeah, definitely I would just add, and 30:50 that's why we presented some, like a very short list, right, 30:53 of just pioneering innovators of color in the tech space early on in this session. 30:58 To kind of cement the fact that people of color have actually always been in 31:04 tech and have been behind some of the most culture shifting impactful technologies 31:08 and products that we still use every single day, right? 31:13 So that you, unfortunately, don't read that as much in the history books. 31:16 And so, just knowing that, that people of color have always been here. 31:22 And, it's not so much breaking in as much as it is kind of 31:27 reclaiming that power, I think is a powerful narrative. 31:32 So, that's kind of why we opened up the chat with that and 31:37 I think just even that perspective is hugely impactful. 31:40 >> I saw one question that said, in your interview process or in the teams you've 31:47 worked, have you felt any discrimination, and if so, how have you called it out? 31:51 I know I have stories but I wanna give you let you go first, Amy. 32:02 >> [LAUGH] You go ahead, you go first. 32:06 >> So, it's a little bit harder to spot that interview process 32:11 because usually people would be very friendly to your face and 32:16 that they just won't continue to hiring process. 32:20 So, I haven't notice that a ton, but I have experienced it in the workplace. 32:25 And it's definitely something that's really hard to deal with, 32:31 because there's a lot of routes you can go and none of them really 32:36 give you good solutions, just depending on your situation. 32:41 And my particular situation, it was issues I had with not only 32:46 the people who were on the design team that I was on, but 32:51 also the people who I was working underneath. 32:55 And so, I really didn't have anybody that I could go to within the company to 32:59 address the issues because it's the people below me, it's the people above me. 33:04 I probably could have taken it to HR, but 33:09 I don't think that that would have led to anybody losing their job or anything. 33:12 So these are still people that I'm gonna have to work with. 33:17 And then, when it's kind of come up from both sides like that, 33:19 I decided to just end up leaving. 33:23 And I really emphasize company culture whenever I'm 33:25 interviewing new workplaces now. 33:29 And making sure that they are gonna be accepting of who I am, and 33:32 they do have initiatives to push for more diverse workplaces. 33:37 >> Mm-hm, mm-hm. 33:41 And I would just add that, for me, that's kind of manifested even implicitly and 33:48 feeling underestimated kind of that at every level. 33:55 Which is not a universal experience and I thought it was just, yeah, 34:00 this is what everyone kind of goes through. 34:04 But, not necessarily and people being kind of surprised and shocked when you're 34:07 you kind of show up and take up space and produce something valuable or impressive. 34:12 And it's like, why are we surprised, though? 34:18 [LAUGH] Yeah, like it seems normal at first but then you're like, wait, 34:19 no, you expect other people to be this impressive. 34:24 Why is it shocking when I am? 34:28 So that's something, again, that just was always kind of a constant. 34:29 And I never realized that it isn't universal. 34:33 And it's something, again, that just people of color women especially in these 34:37 spaces have to kind of go above and beyond to just cement their adequacy sometimes. 34:43 So, that's another thing to look out for. 34:49 >> So there's one that says, do we have a slack community? 34:54 We do not. 34:57 Maybe at- >> Not yet at least, but 34:59 there are some great these organizations. 35:01 That's come up as a slack community, quite a few of these design buddies, right? 35:03 Yeah, so- >> Discord design buddy exists. 35:09 >> Of course, yeah, highly recommend, by the way. 35:12 >> And then another question says, when looking for 35:17 a company to work for, should you be researching how diverse they are? 35:21 >> I mean, beyond, yes, that's definitely encouraged. 35:27 But beyond just doing, the hard research yourself, 35:34 you can even ask that in an interview process. 35:38 I actually do this. 35:41 And honestly even gauging people's responses is quite indicative, right, 35:43 just how they reacts to a question like that. 35:48 Like, hey, yeah, just curious if you have any diversity and 35:51 inclusion initiatives in your organization. 35:53 Or I noticed I didn't speak to any people of color yet 35:56 throughout my interview or recruitment process. 35:59 Do you have any people of color in leadership positions? 36:03 It's a fair question, I think. 36:06 And even if the answer is no, maybe they have programs in place, 36:08 maybe that's why they're talking to you. 36:12 And it's up to you how you feel about that. 36:15 Maybe they aren't expecting that question at all and they're caught super off guard. 36:17 So I find that that's a very honest, 36:23 reasonable way to speak approach that like in a human centered way. 36:27 Beyond just looking at hard data that you might find online, but 36:33 I would recommend both for sure. 36:37 >> Yeah, and just to add to that, it's kind of tough to really know 36:42 based off of the data that they might have posted publicly, 36:47 what the initiatives are kinda what he was talking about. 36:51 I know where I'm working at now, I do a lot in healthcare and 36:56 the company that I'm working for isn't the most diversed. 37:00 But they're aware of that and 37:03 they're putting things in place to solve that moving forward. 37:05 And so I felt if you can uncover what their plan is to combat, the lack of 37:10 diversity in a workforce is more important than how diverse they are right now. 37:13 Because we were already aware that there is that lack of diversity and 37:18 that not everybody is gonna be where they wanna be yet. 37:22 But it's what plans do you have to fix this moving forward, 37:25 that I think means more. 37:29 >> So, yeah, we have what self-care tips do you recommend going 37:41 through this field as a person of color? 37:46 So we mentioned a few things top of mind, or kind of like the overarching umbrella 37:50 will be to just kind of practice self-awareness, first and foremost. 37:56 And really try to be in tune with the environments and spaces that you're in. 38:01 And, how you're feeling and around certain people, 38:07 certain situations, certain organizations, that intuition and 38:11 just an internal reaction you have is not a coincidence. 38:16 So, most often when something feels a bit off, if it's a comment, 38:20 if it's slight, if it's just something that happens in your organization, 38:25 it might not be just you, right? 38:30 It's a very valid feeling and could be an indication of something bigger. 38:32 So I think just even like practicing that self-awareness is the first step 38:36 in kind of recognizing whether you're in an explicitly oppressive environment. 38:41 And then kind of take mediating that, deciding if that is a place for 38:47 you long term. 38:52 Unfortunately that also comes with tremendous privilege, 38:53 right, to be able to walk away from an oppressive environment or 38:58 employer like most of us can't do that. 39:02 So, recognizing that and you having a strong support system, 39:06 that's when that really comes in handy. 39:10 If you don't have the privilege to be able to just walk 39:12 away from something that's actively causing you harm like that. 39:15 Surrounding yourself with people who you can talk to, reach out to as a confidant, 39:19 ask for support, hey, have you been in this situation? 39:24 Passed up for a promotion or something with co-workers just being having 39:28 a community where you can share these conversations and stories. 39:32 That's when this is hugely important, again. 39:37 And another reason we shared this by no means exhaustive list of organizations and 39:40 communities, where you can start finding that. 39:44 >> And I feel like this doesn't just relate to being in like an oppressive 39:49 environment, just in general like, practice meditation. 39:54 Get away from your computer, go on walks, take care of your mental health, 39:59 take care of your physical health Do things away from your computer just so 40:03 that mentally and physically you have a lot of clarity on that front. 40:08 So that way when you do have to, be clocked into work, you've done the best 40:12 that you can to prepare yourself to deal with whatever is gonna come your way. 40:17 So definitely practice mental health, 40:22 mental wellness, and physical health as well as much as you can. 40:25 So I see a question that says, how can I hold my employer accountable? 40:33 And is it worth calling stuff out or should I just lay low and 40:38 survive for fear of retaliation? 40:44 For this one, I would say, if within the company you 40:47 can find allies who feel the same way that you do, and 40:52 you can come to leadership as a group instead of just a single person. 40:57 Specifically, if you can get those allies in positions where they may have a little 41:03 bit of pool within the company, that can help you gain a lot of traction and 41:09 make some strides to improve the way that things are now. 41:14 If you can't do that, then, 41:18 it kinda depends on the amount of risk that you wanna put forth. 41:20 So you can push for change on your own, but 41:26 you do have to understand that there could potentially be repercussions 41:29 that result in maybe a loss of a job or something along those lines. 41:34 If it goes against what everybody else in that company feels, or 41:39 what the executives feel for that particular company. 41:43 So definitely, start by trying to find some allies. 41:46 >> Yeah, there's the question, how did you two connect? 41:59 Jarvis is a mentor of mine. 42:02 He's a mentor at the design school I went to, design bootcamp rather. 42:04 And yeah, that's how we've connected and collaborated through that. 42:11 I see some comments, questions in the chat not even Q&A 42:17 if we don't have questions in the Q&A. 42:22 I see some. 42:26 No sorry, did I miss it? 42:30 Sorry it was right here. 42:37 I'm worried as I start a new role that I won't have the support I need and 42:40 will suffer like I have in previous industries. 42:45 So yeah, I think you were just kind of speaking to this a bit, right Jarvis? 42:49 The importance of seeking and having allies, ideally within your organization. 42:53 But again, even if it's outside of it, even if that's family and friends, 42:59 just having that support system is hugely important. 43:04 No one should go through that alone and we sell them have to, 43:07 at the very least to be able to have people who you can speak to this with and 43:11 kind of even form a plan of action. 43:16 Just even debrief and say, okay, this is what happened, what steps do I wanna take? 43:19 If any, just to have a safe space to be able to communicate those things, 43:23 I think that will go a long way. 43:28 But again, that's entirely possible. 43:30 If you don't have that in your own life, design and tech communities, 43:34 the inclusive design and tech communities are so valuable and so welcoming and 43:39 just wonderful resources to be able to have those safe conversations. 43:45 And connect with people who have very likely gone through the same things you 43:50 have and are. 43:55 So I would highly recommend seeking that out and 43:56 you absolutely won't be going through that alone. 43:59 >> I second that. 44:05 So I see two questions that are kinda similar. 44:09 Somebody said they're fairly new to the field, so any tips. 44:13 And somebody else said, can you join the field if you're not an artist? 44:16 >> Proceed, 44:23 yeah, I see >> I'll 44:26 address the one about being an artist. 44:31 The thing about UX is that it's not art, we study patterns and behaviors. 44:34 And we're not attempting to build something that's super innovative and 44:39 super out there in a way that people won't know how to use it. 44:44 We're trying to leverage common patterns and 44:48 recognizable behavior that people are already used to seeing every day and 44:51 making the software that's gonna be new to their everyday lives. 44:57 So we don't wanna be super out there in artistic in 45:02 that fashion, we wanna be very scientific in a way. 45:07 >> Yeah, very well said. 45:12 And as far as certifications or design degrees, 45:13 college degrees are concerned, at least for 45:18 design the weight of a design applicant is far greater on 45:22 their actual work than it is their education background. 45:27 Even if you did go to the most prestigious design school or art school, 45:33 that won't weigh as heavily as the actual work in your portfolio. 45:37 So I would always emphasize the actual work over anything else. 45:42 If your work is phenomenal, it won't matter where you got your degree or 45:46 lack thereof, like in the case of Jarvis. 45:51 It absolutely not necessary, but again, 45:54 that doesn't mean that there aren't privileges or 45:58 biases that come with people without degrees. 46:03 I think Elizabeth Lizzy was even mentioned in the chat that 46:07 applications that require college degrees or bachelor degrees 46:12 are inaccessible by default, I'm of that opinion as well. 46:17 So, again, that it's not every employer that will even require that. 46:22 Some will explicitly encourage applicants from underrepresented communities, 46:26 both ethnically and educationally to apply. 46:31 And I always think that that's great. 46:35 That kind of levels the playing field a bit more in democratizes the industry or 46:36 at least an entry to the industry. 46:42 But again, as we've mentioned in this talk and as most people know firsthand, 46:45 you will undoubtedly regardless probably end up doing more 46:51 work than your white counterpart just by default, even without that degree, right? 46:56 So that's kind of an unfortunate reality. 47:04 >> Yeah, and to add to it. 47:07 It will be significantly harder for you to get into the tech space without 47:10 the certification or degree or some type of piece of paper to validate your 47:15 experience just because that's how our society is kinda set up now. 47:20 But because we're in a space where we have work to backup what we know, 47:25 it does mean that there is still an opportunity for 47:32 you to break into the field. 47:36 You may not be taken seriously by everybody, you probably won't. 47:39 I know there are companies that I can't apply to because I don't have a degree. 47:43 Not saying that I don't meet all the qualifications within their job posting, 47:48 but they'll be really strict on no bachelor's degree sorry. 47:54 I've been told that by recruiters before. 47:58 So there will be opportunities that you can't take advantage of. 48:01 There will be times where people don't take you seriously. 48:06 There will be times where, yeah, people will ask, 48:09 can you send us over your transcript or your degree or something like that? 48:12 And you say no and then that's it. 48:17 So just being aware of that, you can still make it without one. 48:19 Clearly living proof of that. 48:24 >> Yeah, I think we got through all of the questions right on time too. 48:32 >> Perfect. 48:37 >> Perfect, we'd love that. 48:38 So thanks again, everyone for having us in engaging in such a thoughtful and 48:41 meaningful Q&A and discussion. 48:45 Feel free to reach out to either Jarvis or myself. 48:47 You can find us on LinkedIn, socials. 48:51 Not sure if you're on socials Jarvis, but yeah, you'll be able to find all of our 48:55 information through the Treehouse registration site. 48:59 And hope you enjoy the rest of the festival. 49:01 >> Yes, thank everybody. 49:05 >> We appreciate you. 49:07 >> Thank you for coming out. 49:08 >> Bye. 49:10
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