The Diversity Pipeline — Myth or Reality? In conversation With Kobie Hatcher
Technology is single-handedly the most fast-paced, dynamic, innovation-centric industry that is shaping the future. To allow such thinking and style — diversity in thought is crucial. How else will the best minds collaborate to create fresh, creative ideas? Most companies and executives in the technology industry understand the need for diverse hiring efforts. The conversation however has shifted now from “why” to “how”.
We are in conversation with Kobie Hatcher, Founder of The New Technologists Academy. Kobie is an impact creator and purpose-driven entrepreneur. Kobie shares how his organization works towards diversifying tech recruits and further goes on to shatter the myth of the “diversity pipeline”.
Your purpose is to contribute to creating a more equitable world. You deploy several initiatives that serve that purpose. Talk to us about The New Technologists. How did you come up with the concept, how does it work and what is the goal you’re aiming to achieve with it?
“The New Technologists Academy was originally designed to address the myth known as the diversity pipeline. The diversity pipeline refers to when everyone in ‘Big Tech’ claimed that diversity initiatives were failing because there are not enough skilled members of underrepresented groups in their candidate pools. This isn’t true at all — so we decided to prove that and work towards filling this gap.
“We found that students pursuing higher education in fields like computer science or electrical engineering etc. are not fully prepared to join the workforce straight after graduating. There is a significant delta between what they were learning in college, and what was required of them in the industry. It took on average 18 months of training post-graduation to be prepared for the job. The New Technologists is designed to accelerate careers for such students. The goal is to find diamonds in the rough in places where big firms may not be looking, so everyone has equal opportunity. We look at 2-year colleges you’ve never heard of, directional schools, HBCUs, HSIs, community-based organizations like Girls Who Code, and even churches. Technology as a sector requires constant innovation which is impossible without diversity. We work towards ensuring these high-potential folks are exposed to the right opportunities and are prepared to reap those.
“As of last year, there were 3.6 million job openings in the tech sector — and somehow they were screening out all the highly qualified students we work with, but now we are screening them back in. And I have to say, we probably learn more from the students than they learn from us — it’s a really enriching experience for both parties involved.
“After 8 years of operation, we have also come to realize the economic impact our program is having. A lot of our students come from relatively low-income households, and when they enter the tech industry fully prepared, they can expect to earn a starting salary of $100,000 or more annually. Right now, the average Black or brown household income is $40,000. See that difference? The New Technologists affects not just our students, but their families as well. The big firms we partner with usually measure success in terms of how many successful candidates they can recruit as compared to their competitors. However, we measure success very differently. How many of our students are now supporting their families via just one income? How many are becoming first-time how owners? What are their promotional trajectories looking like at work? The New Technologists prepares these students for a successful professional career and helps shape their personal lives as well.”
Thank you for sharing, Kobie.
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