BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2023 - BLACK TECH FEST
Nicole discusses her experience as a black woman in tech and her time at Black Tech Fest. As part of our Black History Month feature, Nicole discusses who she is proud to be and why events like Black Tech Fest are important.
Hi, I'm Nicole, a maths and computer science student currently on placement as a developer in the Finance Technology department. I joined NEXT in July and I'm loving it so far! My team have been incredibly welcoming and I've already had the opportunity to work on real-world projects that are both challenging and rewarding.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending Black Tech Fest, Europe's largest event celebrating Black culture, showcasing innovation, and creating pathways for underrepresented talent. NEXT generously supported my attendance by granting me time off and covering my travel expenses.
I attended Futures Day, a day designed for students and early-career professionals. The day was packed with inspiring talks, panels, and workshops on a variety of topics, including career development, entrepreneurship, and tech for social good.
In addition to attending the scheduled panels and workshops, I also had the chance to connect with other Black professionals in the tech industry. I met people from different kinds of backgrounds and professions, including entrepreneurs, engineers, product managers, and recruiters. I was inspired by their stories and their passion for technology, and I learned a lot about the different opportunities that are available.
Some of the things I took away from Black Tech Fest are:
The industry is constantly changing and evolving, with new technologies like AI emerging all the time. Therefore, it is essential to continue learning and developing new skills in order to stay ahead of the curve.
Personal branding and networking on LinkedIn are essential for building your professional reputation, finding new opportunities, and advancing your career.
A degree is not the only way to land a tech role. There are many non-traditional routes, such as bootcamps, apprenticeships, and self-learning.
Overall, Black Tech Fest was an amazing experience. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have attended, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in technology, innovation, or social change. I think NEXT would benefit from attending the event next year as an exhibitor. It would be a great way to connect with Black talent and to demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.
Attending community-focused tech events like this makes me feel proud to be a Black woman in tech. I know that, as one of the few black women in tech right now, I am paving the way for other Black women and girls who are interested in pursuing careers in the field, and I am excited to see what the future holds for us.