Top Five Black Women in Tech That You Need to Know
It’s not every day that you see a Black woman in the field of tech. We’ve made a list filled with amazing Black women here to inspire you to dream big (and digital).
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson
A name to recognize and respect! Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is currently the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was named one of the 50 most important women in science. Her inspiring beginnings include being the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics and the very first to earn a PH.D from MIT. She has influenced the creation of portable fax, touch tone phone, and even the technology behind caller ID. Thank you Dr. Shirley!
Ursula Burns is the first African American woman to serve as CEO of a Fortune 500 company- Xerox Corporation. Since then, she has been making numerous leadership strides such as being appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama to help lead the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition. She has also served on the board of several major companies such as Uber and Exxon Mobil and continues to break the glass ceiling.
Ada Nduka Oyom
Ada Nduka Oyom is a self-taught Software developer who has been helping to pave the way for other African women to find their footing in tech. She is the founder of She Code Africa (SCA). SCA is a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering young girls and women in Africa. Since 2016, SCA has impacted women across 15 African countries. Ada is currently the Ecosystem community manager for Sub-saharan Africa with Google. Ada also actively advocates for Open source in Africa and is one of the voices behind the tech podcast Forloop pod.
Valerie Thomas is a scientist and inventor (who needs her own movie!). She is the inventor of the illusion transmitter which she obtained a patent for in 1980. True to her inspiring standout career, she attended Morgan State University where she was one of the two women studying physics. She later worked for NASA and contributed computer program designs that aided in the research on Halley's Comet and the Ozone layer.
This particular tale mixes fashion with coding. April Speight obtained an MA in Luxury and Fashion Management at the Savannah College of Art and Design and began her career in the fashion industry as a menswear stylist and visual merchandiser. She later broke into the tech industry as a project manager and systems analyst. In 2020 she published Bite-Size Python: An Introduction to Python Programming with Wiley, a beginner book for young children to learn the language of python programming. She is currently a Sr. Cloud Advocate with the Spatial Computing technology team at Microsoft. Now that’s Black girl magic.
We hope these five trailblazing Black Girl magic tales in Tech inspire you to pursue your dreams with the confidence that you belong in any industry your dreams take you to.
Minerve Jean is a Haitian-born storyteller who shares her poetry and writings unapologetically. She believes in the power of words and their ability to help and heal. Her debut book For The Secrets That Gave Themselves Away is an anthology of raw poetry where she uses words to paint pictures that will resonate with the human soul. She has also contributed pieces to Hercampus, Orange and Blue Magazine and MLNNYC. In her free time, she likes to snack on Avocado toast and curl up with a good book.