Writing Women of Color in Tech

(originally published on susannetedrick.com)

Of the roles I have taken on during the course of my life, never in my wildest dreams did I ever think ‘book author” would be one of them.

And yet, last year, the opportunity was presented to me write a book to help inform and inspire young women of color to pursue tech careers – and keep them there – based in large part of my own transition into tech. 

When the opportunity was presented to me by Wiley, I sincerely doubted if I could do it. Beyond writing for work and school, I’d never taken on something of this scope and magnitude. There were also work-life balance considerations to be considered too. However, I mostly worried about how to convey to future tech leaders both the well known and not-so-well-known difficulties that women of color face in the industry, while advocating that it is an industry where they belong and are needed.

Racism, sexism, microaggressions, glass ceilings, mental health issues, and my personal “favorite”, mansplaining – all of these are very real and persistent issues in tech workplaces. It was important for me to strike a balance between being candid and honest that these may be difficulties but illustrating the art of the possible – a rewarding and engaging career field with a diverse range of opportunities, and plenty of communities to provide support.

What motivated me to say yes was that I wanted to give women of color hope, as well as the tools to be successful. Thinking about my own journey, the women of color in tech professions were few and far between. I thought that if I can give guidance to even one person – someone who just has the “spark” and curiosity in tech, like I did growing up – and make their path a little easier, then the effort was 110% worth it.

Reflecting on the experience, it was not an easy experience. Make no mistake, the book writing process can be incredibly hard, and I have tremendous respect for those who write as a profession. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, long days and nights, warts and all. I learned a great deal from the amazing men and women that I interviewed; it solidified my commitment to growing my technical eminence, and to help others in their paths as well. I’m incredibly proud to be able to do my part to help increase our ranks in the tech field.