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Serena Williams Teams Up With World’s Largest Interviewing Company to Double the Number of Black Software Engineers in the U.S.

Black Enterprise
April 19, 2022

Karat, the world’s largest interviewing company, today announced a strategic investment from Serena Williams to significantly scale Brilliant Black Minds, a program that improves access and inclusion across the technology industry. By opening the program to all current and aspiring Black software engineers and serving as Karat’s “Champion of Brilliance,” Serena will support Karat’s call on the industry to help add more than 100,000 new Black engineers to tech in the next decade.

Many 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 less opportunities to practice technical interviews. As a result, just 5% of all software engineers in the U.S. are Black.

Karat launched Brilliant Black Minds to close the Interview Access Gap that disproportionately impacts Black software engineers, according to a press release. Only 50%of the Black engineers Karat and Howard University surveyed have experienced a technical interview before they look for a job. However, the same research shows that confidence levels increase with more interview practice — 79% of respondents with three practice interviews say they are more likely to succeed. Equitable access to interview practice also has a significant impact on early career opportunities like internships. Respondents with more than three practice interviews are six times more likely to have had an engineering internship compared to those that never had one.

“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.”

The Brilliant Black Minds 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.

“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 chief executive officer of Karat.

“The Brilliant Black Minds program helps solve this major business challenge by giving organizations access to a deeper, interview-ready talent pool. More engineers ultimately unlocks more engineering time, driving diverse and powerful innovations.”

With this investment from Serena Williams, the Brilliant Black Minds program is now open to all current and aspiring Black software engineers in the U.S. who want the opportunity to make progress on their technical interviewing skills. In Serena’s role serving as a “Champion of Brilliance,” she will teach the importance of practice and building a championship mindset to help participants land their dream job in tech.

“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,” said Anthony Mays, senior advisor to the Brilliant Black Minds program and former software engineer at Google.

“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.”

To get involved in Brilliant Black Minds and join the movement to double the number of Black software engineers in the U.S., visit www.karat.com.

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