Underrepresentation occurs for a number of minority groups in the United States in the tech industry, including Hispanic and Latinx communities. Despite the increased attention paid to issues of diversity and inclusion in recent years, there’s a disproportionately small number of Hispanic and Latinx software engineers.
We’re going to take a look at some of the progress that has been made as well as how some tech companies started or run by Hispanic and Latinx individuals are impacting the field of software engineering.
Latinx & Hispanic Software Engineers: The Current Landscape
There has been great progress in increasing minority representation for software engineers in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go to continue building diversity in tech. According to research from 2022, the majority of software engineers in the United States are white (52.3%) while only 6.9% are Hispanic or Latinx. In addition, a 2015 study found that only 2% of the software developer population is comprised of Hispanic/Latinx women.
Learn More: 3 Scholarships for Women Interested in Tech Careers
Latinos in Tech are Forging Their Own Path
In the field of software engineering, Hispanics and Latinos are breaking new ground. Latina/Latino software engineers and Hispanic software engineers are driving most of the effort being made toward increasing Hispanic and Latinx representation in software engineering. Here are just a few examples.
Álvaro Celis began studying Computer Science at the age of 15 in Caracas, Venezuela due to his interest in cutting-edge technology. After completing his education, he was quickly hired by Microsoft. He has been working at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington for the past 28 years. In his current role, he’s responsible for overseeing the sales of both devices and channels as Vice President. He participates in the company’s HOLA project, which aims to increase the number of Latino leaders and advance their careers in the U.S. technology sector.
Scarlin Hernandez, a spacecraft engineer, checks the functionality of the ground systems used to manage the James Webb Space Telescope. Hernandez has worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and has a background in both computer engineering and astronautical engineering. She is also responsible for establishing the Women Empowering Women Group at STSci.
Daniel Loreto is a rising star in the field of machine learning. He has started his own business, Jetpack.IO, which aims to revolutionize how engineers create scalable backends on the cloud. His resume boasts notable clients including Google, Twitter, Airbnb, and Virta Health. The main topics of his research are artificial intelligence, question-answering systems, and data mining.
María Teras Arnal
María Teras Arnal has led the Latin American division of Stripe, an online payment processing provider for online businesses, and has previously held significant roles at Google and Microsoft. The director stresses the need to encourage young women to be interested in STEM fields and problem-solving.
Lilian Rincón, from Venezuela, was instrumental in developing the groundbreaking technology behind Google Assistance. Rincón is in charge of the team that is responsible for developing new capabilities for the system. She has extensive experience in the field of technology, having worked with Skype, and is an expert in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Latinx and Hispanic Tech Companies
Here are just a few organizations that are working to close the gap and bring more awareness and opportunities to Hispanic software engineers, Latina/Latino software engineers, and other tech professionals.
Techqueria is an organization dedicated to fostering growth among the world’s largest network of Latinx IT professionals. Incorporated as a nonprofit in March of 2019, its goal is to provide Latinx professionals with the tools they need to succeed and advance in the technology sector.
Through their support of local chapter projects and their digital membership base dispersed across the United States, they empower Latinx leaders in tech on a national scale. They encourage tech professionals to network with one another and benefit from the knowledge and experience of their peers by providing mentorship programs, professional development seminars and lectures, and networking events.
Latinas in Tech
The goal of Latinas in Tech, a nonprofit organization, is to foster a community of Latinas in the tech industry and provide them with resources to help them succeed. The organization started in Silicon Valley in 2014 but has since spread to many other places around the globe.
Now over 10,000 women from over 15 countries and over 200 technology companies make up the organization. In addition, the whole technology industry is represented by Latinas in Tech including developers, security analysts, data scientists, BD managers, PR specialists, salespeople, journalists, bloggers, business owners, investors, marketers, and recruiters, as well as anyone else involved in the tech ecosystem.
Latinos in Tech
Latinos in Tech was founded by Carlos Vasquez and Benjamin Juarez, who saw a need in the Latino tech community for more networking and career-building events. The group’s mission is to “get Latinos in the field together to support and develop one another” through activities including information-sharing, networking, and training sessions.
The mission is to assist Latinos in meeting the expected 13% increase in technology occupations by 2030.
Loft Coder Summit
The Loft Summit is a key event in the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s larger Code as a Second Language (CSL) effort, which aims to foster the growth of the Latino software engineering community and build a community of peers. The Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s (HHF) goal is to “inspire, prepare, and equip Latino leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce to accomplish America’s goals.”
The goal of Code as a Second Language is to broaden participation in computer science fields by increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups (such as women and people of color) and increasing the number of students from these groups pursuing technical jobs. Thousands of young people and adolescents have taken part in CSL’s nationwide rollout.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Televisa Foundation launched the nationwide program called TECHNOLOchicas to educate young Latinas and their families about IT-related educational and employment prospects.
The women of TECHNOLOchicas come from a variety of Latin American countries and cultures, but they all share a belief in the transformative potential of technological innovation. Having these women to look up to and relate to is a great confidence booster for young girls who are interested in the field.
Latinx Startup Alliance
With the help of a robust community of like-minded entrepreneurs, mentors, innovators, and investors, the Latinx Startup Alliance is committed to inspiring and cultivating Latinx-led technology startup businesses in the United States.
Long-time tech entrepreneurs and brothers Jesse and Ed Martinez co-founded the Latinx Startup Alliance in 2011. What began as a MeetUp expanded into a movement with the goal of commercializing businesses founded by Latinos. Latinx Startup Alliance, headquartered in San Francisco, California, has local chapters in Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Chicago, and Austin.
The Latinx Collective was founded by Elisabeth Rosario, daughter of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, with the goal of strengthening the business community by uniting Latinx entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders.
She observed that Latinx people were underrepresented in newsrooms and in the venture capital and technology sectors. As a result their achievements have received less attention from the media, and it has been more challenging to expand their operations due to a lack of financial backing. Rosario hopes to make a difference and bolster Latinx business initiatives.
At App Academy, Diversity is Important to Us
With an eye toward progress and equity, App Academy is helping to expand the number of Hispanic and Latina/Latino software engineers.
Learn more about our Diversity & Inclusion efforts, or get in touch with an Admissions Specialist today to learn more about our programs.