In programming, there’s rarely a reason to start completely from scratch. Every project I’ve managed has had a code base to start from – or, at the very least, open source software to use. Building on the collective hard work and expertise of engineers around the globe is how we give ourselves more time to design elegant solutions to complex problems.
It’s always puzzled me that the diversity conversations in tech industry aren’t approached in the same way. This is an industry that values collaboration – we hold open source conferences, discuss programming challenges in online communities, and use tools to optimize our internal teams’ productivity. But when it comes to addressing the work that companies are doing to diversify their engineering teams, we go it alone.
Today, /dev/color is launching The Guild to change that. We’re joining forces with Airbnb, Asana, Capital One, Clover, GitHub, Google, Pinterest, Quip, Reddit, Remix, Square, Sequoia Capital, Twitter and Uber to host roundtable discussions throughout the year. At these gatherings, our partners will have an open conversation about the challenges they’re facing, and will share new ideas and best practices for tackling them. After the event takes place, /dev/color will disseminate key learnings publicly so that companies everywhere can benefit from our findings.
While some of the topics that The Guild will address are straightforward, others may not be so obvious. For example, exploring how engineering and diversity teams can work better together may not seem critical on the surface. But if these stakeholders aren't communicating and providing feedback, nothing of substance can get done.
Additionally, we’ll be connecting engineering leaders from our partner companies with senior members of /dev/color for regular dinners. The goal of this initiative is to foster an open dialogue between these two groups, bridging the divide and enabling our partners to hear firsthand about the unique challenges that Black software engineers face. These dinners are a huge win-win for diversifying the networks of engineering leadership across the industry, as well as elevating the contacts accessible to talented Black software engineers.
Just as engineers shouldn’t build a database from scratch, neither should companies have to experiment with ways to attract and retain diverse talent. While this will undoubtedly require problem solving on many fronts, we know there are proven initiatives that work. Now is the time to start sharing them.
For inquiries about partnership opportunities with /dev/color, contact our partnerships team at firstname.lastname@example.org