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Black History Month: Celebrating Influential Black Americans In Tech
Wade Tyler Millward
CRN celebrates executives and pioneers from IBM, AT&T, Xerox, Oracle, WWT and other tech giants this Black History Month.
In time for Black History Month, CRN is featuring a sampling of the achievements of Black Americans in the field of computer science and technology.
From Otis Boykin, inventor of an improved resistor used in computers, to Marian Croak, a pioneer in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, this list includes past and recent contributions to technology, whether by invention or business acumen.
While we celebrate these contributions in history, it’s important to remember that much more work remains to increase Black representation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Last year, Pew Research Center reported that Black workers comprise 11 percent of total employment across all occupations but 9 percent of all STEM jobs and 7 percent of computing jobs. They comprise 5 percent of engineers.
Looking at STEM earnings, Black women saw the lowest at $57,000, tied with Hispanic women. The median earnings of Black full-time workers ages 25-plus in STEM are 78 percent those of White workers.
In 2018, Black students earned at most 9 percent of STEM degrees across bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Black students earned 9 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 13 percent of master‘s degrees and 7 percent of research doctorates in computer science in the 2017-2018 school year.
Organizations that seek to increase diversity in the field include Sales for the Culture (S4TC), Black Women Talk Tech, Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE), Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), Black Career Women’s Network, BlackJobs.com, Black Tech Talent, HBCU Connect, Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), Black Tech Nation (BTN), Blacks United in Leading Technology (BUiLT), Blacks in Technology (BIT), CODE2040, dev/color, Blacks in Cybersecurity and National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME).
Here are some of the Black Americans that CRN is featuring for their achievements in technology.