Serena Williams Teams Up With Karat To Double The Number Of Black Software Engineers In The US

Karat, the world’s largest interviewing company, has just announced a strategic investment from Serena Williams to significantly scale Brilliant Black Minds, a program that improves access and inclusion across the technology industry.

Brilliant Black Minds was launched to close the Interview Access Gap that disproportionately impacts Black software engineers.

The scope for the initiative was realized after Black engineers Karat and Howard University surveyed said their confidence levels increased with more interview practice. There’s no doubt that Black software engineers face multiple barriers to entry for jobs in the tech industry, from structural inequities that delay early exposure to computer science to limited information about how the industry hires, fewer connections in their professional networks, and fewer opportunities to practice technical interviews.

As a result, just 5 percent of all software engineers in the US are Black. 

Brilliant Black Minds aims to change this. With this investment from Williams, the Brilliant Black Minds program is now open to all current and aspiring Black software engineers in the U.S. who want to make progress on their technical interviewing skills.

The program uses Karat’s Interviewing Cloud to deliver free interview practice, feedback, and coaching to help aspiring software engineers in this community prepare to successfully enter the tech industry.

Designed to unlock engineering value and accelerate hiring, the Interviewing Cloud is a human + tech solution that delivers predictive, fair, and enjoyable live technical interviews conducted by a global network of interview engineers. The expertise and data generated from hundreds of thousands of interviews has enabled Karat to create more candidate-centric experiences, particularly for software engineers who have been previously overlooked by traditional hiring practices.

“The technology industry is focused on solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. My focus is ensuring the solutions to those challenges are developed by all of us,” said Serena Williams. “There has never been a shortage of brilliance in Black America; only limits to the access and opportunities extended to our community. That is why I am proud to team up with companies like Karat who are taking actionable steps to bring more diversity and equity to the industry, as well as call on others to be part of the change.”

Anthony Mays, Senior Advisor to the Brilliant Black Minds program and former software engineer at Google

“We’re living in a world where engineering time grows more valuable every day, yet organizations are grappling with a multi-decade shortage of software engineers. The current approach is to source talent from the same talent pool over and over again, which reinforces the industry’s lack of diversity and makes it harder to find technical talent,” said Mohit Bhende, Co-Founder and CEO of Karat.

While Anthony Mays, Senior Advisor to the Brilliant Black Minds program and former software engineer at Google, added: “The tech industry is the biggest opportunity generator of our lifetime. And yet, those opportunities have not been distributed equally. People who look like me have been mostly kept out of the highest levels of tech.

“With Brilliant Black Minds, Black software engineers have a safe and collaborative space to learn how to crack the code on how the industry hires. All it takes is just one opportunity to change a person’s life, and the lives of those who come after.” 

Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.