Landing a job is hard enough, but for minorities, just getting access to basic resources such as job postings and networking opportunities can be challenging.
But Diversify Tech founder Veni Kunche is taking that challenge head on.
Diversify Tech, which launched in December of 2018, is a website that seeks to connect underrepresented people with resources that facilitate employment in the tech industry such as tech conferences, scholarships, job postings and events.
Kunche’s inspiration for the company came from hardships she faced trying to enter the job market, despite attaining a computer science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“It took about a year and a half for me to get my first full-time job,” Kunche said. “Even though on paper I had the credentials, it took a long time.”
Kunche worked as a developer intern for CUNA Mutual Group and as a freelance web developer in 2004 in order to further build her portfolio and get her first taste of work experience. She said that she wished she participated in an internship during college, but as one of the first people in her family of Indian immigrants to go to college, she was unaware of the importance of building a network early.
“I didn’t know that in college you do internships and a lot of times through internships, you get a full time job,” Kunche said. “Things like that I just didn’t know. When you’re one of the first people, you just don’t know certain things.”
Kunche finally landed a full-time job as a software engineer for the US Geological Survey in 2005. She went on to work in Minneapolis in the early 2000’s before returning to her initial job in 2014. She said she noticed the disparity of minorities entering the tech field through her own work experience.
“Anywhere I’ve worked, I’ve always been the only woman who’s technical or the only person of color who was technical,” Kunche said.
Kunche became compelled to end that streak and start her own company after attending a Women Who Code conference in Washington, D.C., back in 2014.
“I was just shocked to see so many women in the same room who were all technical, and that’s when this whole thing began,” she said.
Kunche said she noticed a gap between minorities and access to local resources such as scholarships and networking opportunities.
“What I noticed is all the women in tech communities tend to [be] white women,” Kucnhe said. “You don’t see people of color. There’s so many great opportunities like jobs and scholarships. Things like that are shared, but they’re closed communities even though the goal is to help us. Company sites say there’s a pipeline problem, but they don’t know where to look for us so that’s what I try to tackle with my site.”
Diversify Tech started off just listing scholarships, but Kunche worked over the last year to connect with companies and speakers to share information about tech conferences and events.
Kunche recently tweeted about someone who signed up on her site and found a job just a few days later. She said hearing success stories makes all her work worthwhile.
I feel a lot of imposter syndrome when it comes to being a founder.
This morning, I was having a "WTF are you doing, Veni" moment.
— Veni Kunche (she/her) (@venikunche) September 24, 2019
“It’s awesome,” Kunche said. “It’s good to know that what I’m doing is really making a difference, so I can keep focusing on the things that are working.”
Moving forward, Kunche said she looks to expand her outreach with those who share her passion for helping minorities. She also plans to improve the jobs board on her site by connecting with more tech companies.
“I want to connect with more communities that have the same mission because a lot of folks have started a long time ago and they’ve already done the work, so I want to make sure I connect with them and become a resource for them,” Kunche said.
Knowledge is power!
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