Big tech companies have reportedly vowed to prioritize diversity in their workplaces, but BetterUp reported that diversity in tech only improved slightly in recent years, even though there are both “moral” and “business” reasons for doing so.
A software engineer on TikTok (@codeherk0) created a video that speaks to how non-white workers still make up the minority at many tech companies, leaving the few non-white hires to be seen as “diversity hires” by some. In the most popular video on @codeherk0’s page, with over 280,000 views, @codeherk0 reveals he doesn’t mind if he gets called a “diversity hire”—a term most commonly used in a negative context, as it indicates the person saying it believes someone else was hired for a job to fulfill a racial or ethnic quota in a workplace.
The video features a voiceover narrating the inner thoughts of someone who gets called a diversity hire, with a text overlay that reads: “POV: being called a diversity hire.”
“Woke up this morning, I didn’t give a fuck. Took the first sip of my coffee, and I knew I still didn’t give a fuck. It’s a beautiful morning, and guess what? I don’t give a fuck,” the voice says.
@codeherk0 Hire more please #fyp #coding #softwareengineer #techtok #techhumor #coder #codetok #career #careerhumor #codenewbie #programmer ♬ MuffinTops – Jimmy Baggz
Viewers of @codeherk0’s video expressed they also do not care if they are seen as a diversity hire and can even use it to their benefit. “The best part is they are really reluctant to write you up or fire you,” one said.
Others expressed they simply want to see more diversity in the tech industry.
Some of the non-white workers—62% of Black workers and 42% of Hispanic workers—who are already in the industry self-reported experiencing discrimination in the workplace, according to the Pew Research Center.
BetterUp outlined some solutions to promoting diversity in the workplace, like adopting a flexible work environment and reporting on diversity statistics.
The Daily Dot has reached out to @codeherk0 regarding the video via Instagram direct message.
Update 3:17pm CT Oct. 7: Byron is a software engineer who creates content about getting in the field to uplift other men who may be interested in entering the field.
“What personally inspired me to make that video is that a lot of people that I know, have experiences of working in the tech industry, rather than in an office or remote, being the only Black person on the team. I was going through TikTok and coming across trending sounds trying to find some way to bring it back to experiences in the tech industry. That was a perfect opportunity for me to create (the video). I did not expect it to go as viral as it did,” he said via Zoom call.
He provides tips and advice to those who are looking to advance in their careers and make way for additional diversity in this field.
“The content that I create is solely around inspiring others to code and create content. I focus on different programming languages and ways to get into tech, or how to level up in tech,” he continued. “So I try to create paths, not just only for the beginners, but for people who are already in it, and looking for ways to level up and get to a higher leadership role.”
Byron said his advice to people interested in becoming a software developer without getting a degree in the subject is to consider a boot camp program to help brush up their skills.
“A lot of companies are requiring that you have a college degree, some companies are dropping it now. It’s definitely a barrier of entry,” he explained. “Over time, boot camps are emerging, and people will find alternatives to get into tech, so it’s like an established pipeline. What I tell them to get into tech is just to build your portfolio because they will find a reason, depending on the recruiter, to not move forward when you don’t have that proper education or whatever their requirement is.”