Back in my Computerworld days, when I'd write about our annual IT salary survey, I would focus my attention on those facets of the survey findings that really intrigued me, like the demographics of the IT population that was surveyed. One of the perennial findings of the survey was that there was a disproportionately small percentage of African Americans among the IT professionals that constituted Computerworld's core readership, and that those African Americans on average were lower on the salary scale than their Caucasian and Asian counterparts. I would write about that fact, and if the reader commentary in response was any indication, very few people who weren't African American seemed to be too bothered by those findings.
As far as I can tell, not a whole lot has changed since then. So I tend to keep an eye out for cool things that people are doing to encourage young African Americans to pursue educations and careers in technology. One such cool development came to my attention by way of Kai Dupe, an entrepreneur, speaker and author of the Where Are Blacks In Technology? blog. Dupe recently wrote about an operation called Inky-Apps, which primarily develops applications for the Android market. Here's an excerpt from Dupe's blog about it:
Inky-Apps is one of America's first webstores dedicated to the promotion, advertisement and development of mobile applications for the undeveloped and undiscovered mobile markets. The site was created by Richard Fields, a true African American technology pioneer. Recently, I spoke with Richard regarding their search for interns and he had this to say:
"What I am trying to do is to pull in a couple of students [who are] African American, or Africans from the continent, or the African Diaspora to intern for Inky-Apps. Inky-Apps is now beginning to generate interest and traffic so I would like to pull in some folks. They do not have to be ivy; in fact, they can even be from a local [junior college]. I don't care. I am interested in folks who share the same vision and direction as Inky-Apps does, coupled with some experience with Android development or Java, Web design (HTML,XML) and Internet marketing. I am trying to find those who are majoring in either computer science, or a related field like Internet marketing."
I applaud Mr. Fields' efforts. This is exactly what is needed to not only develop future African American software engineering talent, but also to instill a sense of entrepreneurship. It is high time young African Americans begin to develop software that helps to solve the problems and address the needs of our community. I for one cannot wait to see the creativity of African Americans emerge in the realm of software applications.