date icon September 29, 2022
Time icon 5 MIN READ

Coding while Black and Female

A list of communities, projects and role models to support coding black females and their allies in making tech more diverse.

Mind the Gap!

For anyone working in tech, closing its gender and racial gap can feel like an uphill battle on stilts. Women+ (cis and trans) and gender non-conforming folks face challenges that their white cis male peers simply don’t.  If you’re a woman+ developer of colour, breaking into and thriving in tech gets even trickier.  Coding as a black woman often involves having to meander the emotional hurdles that come with being singled out for your ethnicity through senseless comments (micro-aggressions) and putting twice the effort in to offset negative conceptions of people who look like you.


Diversity brings growth

Not only does the world become a fairer place when racial and gender barriers are removed, studies show time and again that diversity is also good for business. Diverse teams are more innovative, more productive, and can make better decisions. They’re also better at attracting and retaining top talent.


The tech industry needs fresh perspectives

Many teams designing the technologies we use today are designing from a Eurocentric view of the world. As a result, the products and services they create often fail to take into account the needs of underrepresented individuals. This isn’t just an issue of fairness. Again, it’s bad for business. If you’re a woman+ of colour and you’re thinking of transitioning your career into tech, the insights you can bring to a product team, in UX/UI or finding innovative solutions to a software problem, will result in products that are more appealing across audiences.

When you think about all of the technologies that we use all the time and how few of them are designed from a headspace that considers an identity like mine, like black people or women,  then it leads us to really question how much of this technology is for us, is made with our needs in line, is made to protect us, to consider us?

This quote is from Ashley Jane Lewis, an educator, activist, and technologist who’s creating new approaches to STEM in underrepresented communities, giving workshops using slime mold and Arduino.

True allyship avoids othering

African American software developer and writer Suzanne Tedrick shares an inspiring future vision of diversified tech teams in her book “Why We Need more Women of Color in Tech”. Throughout her lengthy career in tech, cringeful accounts of coding while black and female abound, such as the time a white cis male colleague repeatedly tried to school her on the importance of taking the day off for Kwanzaa, interrupting her busy day with “knowledge” that might have come from a well-meaning place but only reiterated the cluelessly privileged and patronizing mindset that comes with “othering” people due to their gender and/or appearance. Facing these tricky and often destabilizing scenarios isn’t easy. Do you say something? How do you approach it? How to avoid seeming too sensitive and why the need to accommodate others fragility. Exhausting no doubt. 

Staying safe while coding, black and female

All this surplus mental work coupled with the challenges that tech careers already demand, has led to the creation of “safe” spaces to support women+ of colour pursuing careers in coding and other STEM fields.

CodeOp put together this (growing) list of carefully curated resources to help abate the obstacles faced by black women in tech. So whether you’re a POC or an ally, please browse and share the resources listed below. Closing the gap may seem a colossal feat, but being mindful of it is something we can all do. 


  • Coding Black Females is a UK-based community of Afrodescent women+ coders. They have partnerships with AWS, Accenture, MongoDB and Lloyds to name a few, for specific upskilling courses and host a “How to get into tech for Black Women” across the UK. Make sure to follow their Twitter since they also post a lot of job offers.
  • Black in AI is a community that aims to increase the presence of black people in the field of artificial intelligence.
  • Baddies in tech is an instagram account that helps women of colour break into and belong in technology.
  • Black code collective is a US-based community of black developers who run support and skill sharing meetups regularly.
  • Black Girls Code Their goal is for “every girl who crosses paths with Black Girls CODE to picture themselves as a future architect of the next wave of technology”.
  • Edlyft – an inspiring ed tech platform started by two women of colour who were friends in high school and both ended up studying CS. The platform is intended to help CS students increase their confidence. One of the founders worked very closely with LinkedIn’s Lynda learning platform.
  • Black Women Blockchain Council have teamed up with Consesys and aim to train half a million black women in blockchain technologies by 2030
  • Girls in Tech An organization led by a CodeOp graduate. Naijeria Toweett finished her CodeOp Fullstack bootcamp in 2020 and came back to complete our Product Management BootCamp in Oct 2022. She is now working as a tech manager alongside her role as managing director for Girls in Tech, an online community that supports women and girls who are underrepresented in the tech industry.

Projects & Role Models

  • Kweli TV – Founded by Dashuna Spencer, offers global black content and can be streamed from anywhere in the world.
  • Afro Hair Library – An open source project led by artist and game designer A.M. Darke- She is building a database that collects looks and stories of afro hair to mitigate the misrepresentations and limitations of black hair in virtual worlds, games and 3D characters.
  • Angie Jones, queen of metaverse technologies, has over 20 metaverse-related inventions.
  • Angelica Ross, founder of TransTech, an incubator for the transgender, gender non-conforming and LGBTQ community.
  • Voices in the Shadow – Project supported by Accenture, a book that showcases 51 Black women who are at the top of the tech game.
  • DiversityQ aims to train half a million black women in blockchain technologies by 2030.
  • Ashley Jane Lewis interactive artist, maker and youth tech educator.
  • Rego Foundation -Founded by  Susan Hirego, a CodeOp graduate who is also now working as a software developer, Rego Foundation aims to inspire, educate and empower young women and girls in Uganda through hands-on skills training and technology.
  • Intro to G{Code} – A free virtual program designed to give black, brown, and/or indigenous young women or non-binary people of color between the ages of 18 to 25 first exposure to coding to uncover interest and aptitude in tech in a supportive, inclusive, and safe environment.
  • Founderland’s Rise and Thrive 2023 report – An intersectional exploration of the experiences of women of colour founders



Dare to be aware

Awareness is the first step; making corporations, technologists and government-funded institutions understand that only 3% of tech roles filled by coding black females is just not good enough. This statistic is for the UK but is closely mirrored in the USA. Is it naive to expect companies will start advertising vacancies for women+ of colour developers and arrange outreach activities to create interest in tech among school-age females in local black communities? Perhaps, but thanks to the passionate individuals who started these endeavors, we can transition the narrative from why lack of diversity sucks to why joining the tech world and becoming part of the change rocks.

On that note, check out what some of CodeOp’s women+ of colour graduates have been up to since upskilling their careers to coding, from developing games to founding startups and publishing award-winning books!

Silvia Engmann

Naijeria Toweett

Chanice Irungu

Susan Hirego

Nanette Taylor

Emefa Senoo

Mary M

Rhys Tirado

If you’re thinking of transitioning your career into tech, feel free to reach out to CodeOp’s admissions team!

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