Contact Us 0131 473 7030

Blog and News

Black History Month: 5 inspiring Black leaders in tech

It’s time to talk about a tough topic. The tech industry has a serious diversity problem. Nowhere is this more deeply felt than among black men and women.
Based on the information from Diversity UK, only 5% of tech roles are filled by Black and Latino candidates, despite making up 18% of all Computer Science graduates. The question is why are 13% of these graduates not working in the industry?
Research suggests that in the last 10 years, 0.24% of UK venture capital investment went to Black founders, a total of just 38 entrepreneurs – with only 0.02% of venture capital investment going to Black female founders.
Whilst these numbers are discouraging, there are a multitude of dedicated professionals working hard to reverse this trend and bring new talent into the fold.

5 inspiring black leaders in tech

October officially marks Black History Month in the UK, an opportunity to celebrate the incredible black innovators and leaders who shape the tech industry 365 days a year.
We all know the story of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. But do you know the story of Valerie Thomas? Do you like seeing images from the vastness of space? If so, it’s Valerie Thomas you have to thank for it.
To increase diversity and inclusion in tech, it’s important to amplify the accomplishments of Black leaders in tech. That is why we’re highlighting 5 inspiring black tech leaders.

Highlighting 5 prominent tech experts from history and today who are working to bring more diversity into tech

Andre Young aka Dr. Dre – Creator of “Beats by Dre”
Dr. Dre is a pioneering West Coast hip-hop producer, rapper, and entrepreneur. In 2008, Dre introduced the “Beats by Dr. Dre” line of headphones. Six years later, tech giant Apple purchased the company for $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in company stock.  The transaction made Dr. Dre hip-hop's first billionaire and included an executive position for him at the corporation.
Valerie Thomas – Inventor of the Illusion Transmitter
Valerie worked at NASA from 1964 to 1995, conducting large-scale experiments, developing computer data systems, and most notably, spearheading the development of the first satellite to send images from space, “Landsat.”
The technology she developed is still used by NASA today and is widely considered to be the basis for 3D technology.
Christopher Young – Former CEO of McAfee and current Executive Vice President Business Development at Microsoft
Christopher is the former CEO of McAfee, LLC (2014-2020). Under his leadership, McAfee grew to protect mission-critical systems and data for more than two-thirds of the Global 2000 and more than 500 million consumers. Since moving on to Microsoft, Christopher Young also serves on the boards of Snap Inc. and American Express.
Dr Mark Dean – Computer Scientist and inventor of the Personal Computer (PC)
An influential black tech leader and prominent figure in computer science.
Mark Dean began working at IBM in 1980, where he was an essential leader in developing the personal computer. He holds 3 of IBM’S original 9 patents for the PC. Beyond that, he holds 20 patents.
Throughout his career, he has made significant contributions to IBM’s research and development. More recently, he led the team that produced the 1-Gigahertz chip. He is the first African-American to become an IBM Fellow, which represents the highest level of technical excellence.
Kimberly Bryant – Founder of Black Girl CODE
Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit organisation dedicated to changing the face of technology.
Kimberly’s work builds on her experience as a successful engineer and focuses on introducing girls of colour (ages 7-17) to the field of technology and computer science. Participants learn both coding skills and entrepreneurial concepts.
The organisation has a bold goal to train one million young women by 2040.

Celebrating Black tech leaders

Each of these individuals’ stories is inspirational and a testament to extraordinary accomplishments and perseverance. They also provide hope that in the coming years, the list of Black tech executives, inventors, and leaders will become longer and longer!
While this snapshot is short and by no means comprehensive, there’s no question that the tech industry must become more diverse in order to be truly equitable.
If you know of other Black tech leaders and would like us to add them to the list, please let us know!
Cookies on this website
We want to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.