(originally appears at US Review of Books)
Women of Color in Tech: A Blueprint for Inspiring and Mentoring the Next Generation of Technology Innovators
by Susanne Tedrick
John Wiley & Sons
book review by Barbara Bamberger Scott
“This book will help you design your own personal blueprint for starting your tech career.”
Women of color are markedly underrepresented in tech careers. Author Tedrick offers practical strategies to encourage those with ambitions in the field. Early on, Tedrick asserts, girls of color may be discouraged from STEM education by parents and teachers, the latter sometimes expressing the bias, even abuse, that shadows these females throughout their lives. But there are organizations that offer help and sound reasons to choose a STEM/tech-based career. These are some common misconceptions: a certain degree is required; only top companies hire tech professionals; only certain kinds of people get jobs. These are examined and refuted. The book explores specific tech jobs, such as consulting, networking, data science, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, and many others in detail. Tedrick offers sound advice on self-presentation, salary expectation (and negotiation), skill-building, resume creation, finding mentors, and dealing with bias. There may be some tough times, especially for women of color, but there are solid rewards, including the opportunity to give back to future aspirants.
As a technical specialist for a Fortune 50 tech company and a community activist assisting those facing challenges in career building, Tedrick has walked the walk she commends to her readers. Her book is thoroughly researched, lists current resources, and is generously arrayed with relevant charts, illustrations, references, and bullet points. Accounts of real-life experiences substantiate her personal acquaintance with her subject. She boldly asserts that though all women face barriers to entering the tech world, women of color are particularly burdened by explicit and implicit bias, causing added stress and invoking crucial decision-making at every level of one’s life and employment. Tedrick’s work is comprehensive, logical, and well-considered. All those engaged in serious job seeking, especially the target group anticipating a tech career, will learn a great deal from the frank, factual, and extensively gathered information she presents here.