Black Engineers Feel More Confident Entering Tech Industry With Technical Interview Practice – Study
According to a new report published by Karat, a technical interviewing company, and Howard University, Black engineers feel more confident entering the tech industry if given several interview practices.
Black engineers comprised just 6 percent of all computer programmers in the U.S. in 2020. This research aims to shine a light on the challenges and opportunities that exist to improve representation.
The two firms teamed up and hosted focus groups to survey 300 Black computer science students and alumni from Howard University, Morehouse College, and North Carolina Charlotte.
They asked each individual a set of questions, and their report, titled The Interview Access Gap for Black Engineers, found nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents knew fewer than five people working in big tech.
While more than 25 percent reported knowing none.
Just 39 percent of respondents interviewed who had never taken a practice interview believed they were either somewhat or very likely to succeed in a technical discussion.
The research found that confidence levels increased with more practice, with those numbers climbing to 79 percent of people with more than three practice interviews.
Dr. Legand Burge, III, professor of computer science at Howard University, Dr. Katherine Picho-Kiroga, assistant professor of educational psychology at Howard University, and Portia Kibble Smith, head of diversity and inclusion at Karat, co-authored the report.
The trio believes the key to closing the access gap is to add transparency to the hiring process and building methods for underrepresented software engineering candidates to practice technical interviews.
Strategies for accomplishing this include – publishing sample interview questions online and giving candidates multiple opportunities to interview, they wrote.
“The lack of representation of Black engineers in tech is a barrier to entry for the next generation,” said Portia Kibble Smith, head of diversity and inclusion at Karat.
“A lot of the HBCU students we interviewed are first-generation college students. They don’t have a clear understanding of what goes on in a technical interview until they’re interviewing for their first engineering internship, and they don’t have anyone in their networks to help them prepare.”