Let’s face it - the tech industry is still very homogeneous. In spite of study after study proving that diverse teams outperform, following the cultural shift impacted by the murder of George Floyd, and public market and board pressure to diversify the workforce, we still face a major underrepresentation problem in tech.
Most lists featuring notable software engineers mirror that same homogeny. Think Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, David Heinemeier Hansson, and so on. Mostly White, mostly male, mostly the same polarizing people called out and revered. Yawn. 🥱
What’s next? A new type of role model for young engineers. We’ve compiled a list of engineers who are breaking through the glass ceiling, battling stereotypes, defying societal expectations, and standing out as inspiration for the next generations of underrepresented talent.
Here are some key players we admire who are forging the way ahead for the future generation of all races, genders, and identities.
(Listed in alphabetical order.)
Briana Mayes is a motivated STEM educator who’s making a difference in EdTech. They are improving the lives of teachers and students by making education more equitable and engaging. Being a Software Engineer at Clever has allowed Mayes to put their skills in Angular and React to good use and develop an enjoyment for maintaining APIs. They love coming across opportunities that positively impact the community. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Being a self-taught tech innovator, Carlos Vasquez spends his time translating English technology resources for Spanish speakers and providing computer science training to young, aspiring engineers. Working as a Full Stack Engineer at Northwestern Mutual has helped him showcase his coding skills as well as learn how to solve difficult problems. He also co-founded Latinos in Tech LLC, where he provides resources and professional development services to Latinos who hope to one day work in tech. (LinkedIn)
With a stellar background in the computer software industry, Danny Thompson devotes his time to inspiring developing tech leaders and assisting them with coding. He’s led several initiatives at his full-time Software Engineer job at Frontdoor and run the largest meetup group of Developers in the Memphis area to provide the community with coding resources. Thompson also teaches tens of thousands of his YouTube subscribers how to succeed as a software developer in tech. He prides himself on building a dedicated tech community always looking to learn and improve their skills. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Looking to bring positive societal change, Ean Nugent uses his leadership qualities and tech skills to add real value to his work. He’s a Lead Software Engineer at Panorama Education where he provides software solutions for issues in collecting data on emotional learning, school environment, family engagement, and more. He finds great satisfaction in what he does as an engineer, after working in the tech industry for 15 years. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Isaac Elias has a proven history of succeeding in high-growth startup environments. He helps provide financial services and solutions for families and professionals at True Link. He started out as a Senior Software Engineer, using his skills in React and MySQL. Now, he works to plan and direct projects at the company as Engineering Lead. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Kumba Janga improves business systems and enhances company performance for a living. Having worked at JP Morgan Chase for over 10 years, she’s successfully worked her way up to Senior Software Engineer and Agility Lead where she works on complex financial data and data analytics. Her 16 years of experience in software engineering, data analysis, data visualization, statistics, and data mining have been repeatedly proven in her impressive results. (LinkedIn)
Luiza Carneiro is a talented problem solver, who’s constantly providing capable software solutions to achieve the best results for companies. She impressively worked her way up from a software engineering internship at Cloudera to Staff Software Engineer in just a few short years. On top of that, she’s built a niche search engine for digital scrapbooking freebies called Creative Busy Bee that she’s grown to garner thousands of page views per day. (LinkedIn)
To Maria Zhang, every piece of code has a purpose. She believes in using software to change people’s lives and connect them to others. Zhang is the VP of Engineering at Instagram, working with the Sharing Experience team to deliver users only the most satisfying experiences. Building software for over 20 years at various companies has shown her that technology can spark massive change. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Mark Nyon is making big strides in the world of EdTech. He’s a Senior Software Engineer at 2U, where he works on software that creates educational opportunities for students. Nyon looks to build a community with other Black software engineers and managers as a member of the A* program by /Dev/Color. He loves to set and achieve ambitious career goals. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Maya Bello is a full stack developer educating others through social media. She uses her platforms to tell her story as a Woman of Color in tech, along with providing inspiration for other People of Color. As she’s excelling in her full-time Software Engineer role at Slack, Maya is also dishing out coding tutorials and tech inspiration to tens of thousands of her TikTok followers. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
After 24 years of working in management, Michelle Waldorf is excellent at building inclusive and well-balanced engineering teams. In fact, she leads the Engineering Productivity Division at Procore Technologies, overseeing 4 distinct teams. She brings success to large-scale engineering initiatives with effective strategies to ensure that business goals are met and teams are productive. She finds value in challenges and educated risk-taking and loves sharing her industry knowledge with others. (LinkedIn)
Onel Harrison helps schools across the globe improve their performance. At Schoolzilla, he’s a Data Engineer providing the critical data district and school leaders need to quickly and effectively enhance their operations. He’s very skilled in Python, Terraform, and Amazon Web Services and has a strong passion for data engineering and web application development. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
Osman Romero is an outstanding tech leader who shines in collaborative environments. With 10+ years of industry training, Osman has successfully achieved challenging goals, while still learning new concepts and ideas. His ‘can do’ attitude has allowed him to lead different projects at various companies like Iterable and Nisum. He now works as a Senior Software Engineer at SpaceX. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
As an Analytics Leader with over 9 years of experience in IT consulting and business process improvement, Teneika Askew has been sparking change in the tech industry. Being recognized with the ‘Global US Digital Leader and Women of Color in STEM - Technology All-Star Award’ is just one of her many career highlights. She loves to create opportunities for her community with her non-profits Ribbons of Beauty and BiCTech. Her goal is to use her knowledge to mentor high school women and student entrepreneurs in North Carolina and DC. (LinkedIn | Twitter)
This highly analytical executive is delivering software solutions that serve billions of people around the world. Travis McPhail is a tech professional looking to redefine products and bring the visions of multiple projects to life with the help of his intrepid, diverse team. Starting out as a Software Engineer at Google, he’s worked his way to Google Maps Platform Engineering Lead in nearly 10 years. McPhail strives to collaborate with others and passionately advocates for diversity in the workplace. (LinkedIn)
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