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Black History Month

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It’s October which marks Black History Month! A month that has been celebrated annually in the UK since 1987. This marks a time when we come together and acknowledge our diverse culture and celebrate the history and achievements of black heroes both past and present that have contributed to making our society a better place.

Black History Month originated from Carter G Woodson, who wanted to challenge the assumptions at the time that ‘the negro had no history’. This resulted in Carter founding the Association for the Study of Negro and History in 1915, which aimed to encourage research and protect and preserve black history and culture. However, the idea was first brought into the UK, in the 1980s by Akyaaba Addai Sebo to eradicate discrimination and promote the importance of equality across the UK [1].

In the US and Canada, black history month is in February, whilst in the UK and Ireland, we celebrate it in October. Why? This is because, Akyaaba Addai Sebo chose it, as it fell in line with the start of the academic year and therefore thought it would inspire young people. Alongside the fact, October is traditionally when African leaders unite and settle their differences, so it was chosen as a month to reconnect [1].

Being part of the tech industry, we undoubtedly recognise the multitude of black engineers and leaders that have pushed for change in the tech industry. As well as pushing technology forward through the invention of numerous products and features that have set the stage for technologies we still rely on today and inevitably will in our future. Here, we share three extraordinary examples of black pioneers that have made a large contribution to the tech industry.

 

  1. Firstly, we must obviously discuss the incredible legacy of Marain Croack. She is an inventor in the voice and data communication field [2] and is best known for envisioning and developing the technology that is responsible for Voice Over Internet Protocol. This invention has meant we can make calls over the internet instead of a phone line. Which Devyce know all about and have you to thank for contributing to an integral part of our business!
  2. John Henry Thompson, ‘the father of Lingo programming’ [3] invented Lingo, a scripting language that displays visuals in computer programmes. His programming language is embedded into Macromedia Director and popular Adobe Programmes [4]. Essentially, his work has helped combine the world of art and tech in video games, graphic design, web design and computer graphics today. Both designers and Adobe users should thank Thompson!
  3. Lastly, Kimberley Bryant, is an excellent modern-day example of an inspirational black leader that is making positive change in the tech world. Kimberley founded Black Girls CODE, whose mission is to help young women of colour get into the tech world by introducing them to numerous science and technology concepts. Currently, Black Girls CODE has reached 30,000 women and has taught over 50,000 hours [5]. It is clear that her actions have already helped so many young women. Her drive to change the narrative within the tech industry surrounding diversity in STEM, will undeniably have a positive impact on our future, as it will increase the number of female black, tech founders, entrepreneurs and leaders. 

    Of course, there are also many more inspirational leaders and influencers, and we encourage you to explore more! 

    You can also celebrate this month by:

  • Raising money for a charity that is dedicated to helping the lives of ethnic minorities.
  • Shopping from blacked owned businesses or supporting them in other ways by sharing them on social media platforms, with friends and family.

References: 

[1] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/black-history-month-2022-uk-why-is-it-important-why-celebrated-in-october-a4250966.html 

[2] https://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/marian-croak#:~:text=Croak%20is%20a%20prolific%20inventor,computer%20or%20other%20digital%20device

[3] https://blog.adafruit.com/2015/02/26/john-henry-thompson-invented-lingo-programming-used-in-macromedia-director-and-shockwave-african-american-history-month-2015-blackhistorymonth/

[4] https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp/events/fall-2017/dice-with-john-henry-thompson#:~:text=John%20Thompson%20invented%20lingo%20programming,design%2C%20animation%2C%20and%20graphics.

Why you should apply to jobs even if you may not fully qualify for them

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The corporate job market is at an all-time high, with a record number of job openings. Specifically, the graduate job market is soaring. The number of vacancies has risen by 59% and is set to see an expected 7% salary rise, compared to the figures released in May last year [1].

Despite this boom, entry-level jobs used to be the leading pathway into the workplace for new graduates but now many require prior experience. This was highlighted in a 2021 study that found that 34% of graduate-level jobs and 24% of junior jobs in the UK require at least one year of work experience [2].

Scrolling through numerous job websites and spotting an Entry Level Job that seems interesting, is quickly scrolled past when the dreaded phrase ‘two years of experience required’ is read and this can be incredibly frustrating. This can often be the only element a candidate is missing. Yet, women hold back if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria, while men only apply if they meet at least 60% [3]. It is important to remember that no candidate can meet 100% of the criteria. As there is simply no such thing as a ‘perfect candidate’.

Often this requirement is merely just a guideline and not a necessity. Employers also use this to narrow down the applicant pool, to avoid them getting flooded with unqualified candidates that have absolutely no knowledge of the industry [4].

Don’t let this requirement limit you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous real-life stories that support this advice, including a recent article written by Janet Phan and published in the Harvard Business Review sharing her story. She found a job outside of her expertise which required skills she did not have. Yet, she applied anyway. This resulted in her landing a job at a major tech company! So, her advice would be, apply! [5].

We’ve asked one of our interns, ‘Kate’ who is fresh out of university, about her experience and her advice/ tips. 

Kate:

Finding a job straight out of university is a difficult and daunting task. It is incredibly frustrating when you search for hours to find a job that interests you, and you see you need years of experience. Why would I have years of experience, I have just finished university. 

After speaking to friends, family and industry experts I have taken away 5 incredibly valuable pieces of advice when faced with this dilemma. Firstly, there are many ways to tweak your C.V to work around the requirement. 

  1. Holm in on your transferable skills. Speaking from experience, as someone who entered the job market with no industry experience. Using these transferable skills when writing your C.V or a covering letter is a great idea!

  2. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good covering letter. 

I managed to slip these transferable skills into my C.V by including details about my university projects or modules I completed. I tailored each one I sent, by including different keywords that were in the description of that particular job. 

  1. Read the job description!

  2. Prepare! If you do manage to get an interview, preparation is key! Make sure you have spent time researching the company, their values, their culture, what they do, and any of their recent projects. Prepare for any questions they may ask you, but try not to over prepare! Get a good balance, you want to be yourself and you don’t want to seem scripted or answer the wrong question because you heard what you had prepared for!
  3. Be confident and take risks. At the end of the day, what’s the worst that can happen? They say no. At least you tried. You didn’t lose anything.

 

OR take a step back. You don’t need to rush, try and get some experience, this is not only good for filling that ‘missing experience’ experience but can also help you find your niche! An internship is a great idea!

 

References:

[1]

https://www.cityam.com/uk-graduates-set-to-enter-strongest-job-market-in-years/

[2]

https://www.linkedin.com/business/talent/blog/talent-acquisition/viral-post-asks-why-entry-level-jobs-require-years-of-experience

[3]

https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions-lodestone/body/pdf/Gender-Insights-Report.pdf

[4]

https://upjourney.com/why-do-entry-level-jobs-require-experience

[5]

https://hbr.org/2022/07/apply-to-a-job-even-if-you-dont-meet-all-criteria 

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