Helping More Brothas and Sistas Get into IT

A few days ago, The Advise Show on YouTube provided good commentary on Cynet Systems’ racist LinkedIn recruiting post, which specified a preference for a Caucasian for a particular IT job. Of course, this sent shockwaves across social media, and the company repeatedly apologized for the gaffe, and even fired the person who uploaded the post. Despite widespread assumptions, Cynet is owned by east Indians, not Caucasians. For more on the story and commentary, check out the YouTube video below. [Article continues after the video]

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Blacks in IT are still kinda rare, but the landscape is trying to change. However, there are still some discriminatory practices where companies tend to favor whites and asians, and fail to reach out to other minorities. I’ve written about tips on getting in IT before on here. I have nearly 30 years experience in the industry, and I know how tough it can be to break in to IT. However, instead of letting discrimination and racism hold you back, take it as a challenge that YOU can overcome if you want to achieve success in IT!

It is not impossible.

No matter how much “they” may prefer skinny dudes with glasses and pocket protectors that don’t look like you, the truth is, highly technical skills are hard to come by. In this industry, technology changes rapidly every six months, so there’s always a chance to get ahead of the competition if you stay abreast of these changes in advance. Know the market leaders and follow their trends before they go viral. Right now, the current microtrend is in blockchain technology. Microsoft just announced a new blockchain service for its very popular Azure Cloud platform. Read that again! This announcement just came out today (May 3, 2019). What are you waiting for? Get busy studying it! Yep, you’re welcome.

Blockchain is just one example of a smokin’ hot skill being sought after in IT. Other hot skills as of 2019 are Cloud Computing, with AWS and Azure leading the pack, Big Data (Hadoop is a good buzzword in this space to know about), Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), IoT (Internet of Things), Java and JavaScript, Python, .Net, Microservices, Apache Spark and Kafka, Scaled Agile and Scrum, among some others. The more of these skills on your resume, the less discriminatory practices you’ll face. I know this for a personal fact because business is all about money, and when a business needs a certain hot technology to get a competitive advantage, then race/skin color become less of an issue: it’s all about that green! If you are still in school, be sure to look up courses in these skill areas and seek financial aid to get certified in them online if your school does not offer courses in them. If you are out of school, you can read up on them on your own and then pursue certifications if your resume is light on IT fundamentals. Those with stronger IT experience but light in these areas should look for ways to incorporate them in your current job.

Finally, your resume is the door opener. Often, it can be tempting to assume discrimination has played a part in not getting a job, but oftentimes, your resume might be the silent “racist” holding you back. I’ve helped friends polish up their IT resumes in the past, and so if you want, you can send me your resume, and as time permits, I’ll quickly let you know my thoughts. If I get a lot of responses, it may take a while, or I might charge a small fee (something like $5 for a 2 page resume or $10 for longer resumes) to get you a quicker response. But those seasoned vets who have been in the game long enough will not need personal resume review as my advice above should be sufficient. Let me know you thoughts, and hang in there. You can do it! Don’t let anyone hold you back.

By John “John the CEO” Conley

The author is an IT executive and entrepreneur based in the Dallas, TX, area. He is the owner of Samsona Corporation, which provides strategic and tactical IT consulting services to large and small companies.

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