black history month

SHAPING A NEW FRONTIER FOR DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN TECH

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At HackerU, we are a diverse, global family of lifelong learners, innovators, and education advocates. This month, we highlight HackerU employees and learners from our partnership programs striving to change the face of tech and be part of the innovative digital landscape. They take the time to share their experiences in the tech industry and how they’re helping to shape a new frontier for diversity and inclusion in tech.

Kandace Gallman - Marketing Event Coordinator at HackerU

Kandace Gallman wasn’t always in the tech space. “Initially, my plan was to go to law school,” says Gallman, “so my first job out of college was at a law firm. Once I realized that I didn’t have the passion for law school, I started looking into sales. My dad has always been in the tech space, and because our personalities are so similar, I thought I may be good at a tech sales role.” 

 

Kandace began her tech career in 2016 as a Business Development Representative in a cybersecurity software company. “This gave me the opportunity to realize that I enjoyed a people-centric role—something that allowed me to talk every day, share my personality with others, and network with people. From there, I was able to land a role as an inside sales account manager at another company that focused on education software for the K-12 space.”

 

This role allowed her to take ownership and responsibility while also building a strategy to improve target areas. It was in this role that Kandace realized she wanted to go back to school.

kandace gallman

“As a Black woman of color in corporate America, I’ve always been told that I will have to work ten times as hard to get the same reward as my white counterparts. I felt that getting my MBA would help to set me apart and prove my level of discipline as well as my commitment to success.”

 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kandace completed her MBA. She had been working at a job that was not in her field of interest and moved back to her parents’ house due to the pandemic. The job hunt was on! 

 

“I had a few interviews here and there, but nothing too promising. When I got a call back from a recruiter at HackerU, several things stood out to me. The recruiter was a woman of color, my future manager that I interviewed with was a woman of color and the director of marketing that I had my final interview with was also a person of color. I was shocked by the diversity of the company, and it felt comfortable to be in that space.” 

 

“Once I was hired, I continued to be impressed by the diversity within leadership and the company. I remember being so disappointed in myself for getting so many job rejections upon graduation, but those rejections led me to the company that I was meant to be a part of and grow and succeed with.”

Jua Johnson - Cybersecurity Student at American University Cybersecurity Professional Certificate Program

From producing and shooting video to jumping into politics, Jua has always challenged himself regarding his career. Switching career paths yet again at the age of 42, Jua is ready for the next chapter of his professional career. 

 

He’s looking forward to protecting companies and users alike from malicious cybersecurity threats around the clock! 

 

“I wanted to dip my toes in the cybersecurity space because… I see that everything is becoming virtual and my thought process was ‘these folks need to be protected.’” – Jua Johnson

With the tech space still trailing in diversity representation, our learners and employees are critical for helping to change those numbers and bridge the digital skills gap. Follow along with our Black History Month highlights on LinkedIn or the HackerUSA blog.

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