Despite growing attempts to diversify tech, the industry is still overwhelmingly white, male, cisgendered, and heterosexual. The National Center for Women & IT found that only 25% of computing jobs are held by women, with white women in the majority of those roles. Asian women, Black women, and Latina women make up only 5%, 3%, and 1% of computing roles, respectively.
In this kind of atmosphere, it can be difficult for women--especially women of color and LGBTQIA+ women, not to mention trans women and gender nonconforming/gender queer individuals--to feel psychologically safe at work. Who can we ask for help? When do we get to let down our guard and be ourselves? Where can we find that sense of community that is so important to us as human beings?
Enter affinity groups. An affinity group is a community organized around a specific affinity shared by everyone in the group, like being a woman, being Black, being queer--the list goes on. Below is a list of affinity groups specifically for tech professionals. Use it to get support, find a job, and move forward in your career.
Free Slack group, podcast • Paid webinars, live events, conference, merch
Ladies Get Paid founder Claire Wasserman was horrified to learn that women can lose up to $1 million over the course of their working lives because of the wage gap. She started Ladies Get Paid to aggregate tools and resources, and to build an active community where women learn how to negotiate for equal pay and equal power in their working lives.
Free job board, weekly jobs email • Paid webinars, live events • Paid membership
Tech Ladies boasts a subscriber list of 50,000 women in tech and counting. Founder Allison Esposito Medina’s goal was to connect women with the best jobs and opportunities in tech, and on the flip side, connect companies with amazing women hires.
Free job board, community, resources, scholarships, live events
Founders Zassmin and Michele Titolo wanted to inspire women to succeed in their tech careers—and 167,000 members later, they’re doing just that. They work toward proportional representation of women in the tech industry across all levels: engineers, board members, VCs, etc.
Free online community, chapter meetups • Paid webinars, live events, conference, merch
Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, and Black Women Talk Tech wants to see more Black women founding billion-dollar tech companies. They provide education, promote Black women leaders in tech, and connect Black female entrepreneurs with funding resources.
Free Slack and Facebook groups, chapter meetups • Paid live events, merch
Established by David Silva and Shashi Jain in 2015, Techqueria (and its taco emoji) wants to unite Latinx professionals in the tech industry. Here you’ll find networking, career advice, mentorship, tech talks, and more. Techqueria is currently an entirely volunteer-run organization.
Free Slack group, job board, hackathons, events
Out In Tech was started by Toby Hervey and Julia Cheng and now has 25,000 members, 10 chapters, 250 events under its belt, and has donated almost 2,300 hours of volunteer time. Out In Tech seeks to unite the LGBTQ+ tech community and create chances for members to experience career growth, connect with each other, and leverage tech for social change.
Last year, they hosted an event called Out In Tech Talks that brought together over 400 people to discuss diversity in tech and the industry’s responsibility to effect change. Out In Tech also hosts regular hackathons to build websites for LGBTQIA+ organizations in developing countries, especially those where homosexuality is criminalized. Note: Volunteer opportunities are also open to allies.
Free online community, scholarships, mentoring • Paid conference
Lesbians Who Tech is the most populous LGBTQIA+ technologist community in the world with an annual summit in San Francisco that’s the largest event of its kind available today. Founder Leanne Pittsford dreamt of an organization that would increase the visibility of LBGTQIA+ women and people of color, gender-nonconforming individuals, and other underrepresented communities in tech. Allies committed to the cause are welcome at events.
Free chapter meetups • Paid conference
Write/Speak/Code is open to all cis and trans women, as well as to non-binary technologists. Their goal is to help people from these groups overcome marginalization and engage with a network of trusted peers. They also promote visibility and leadership for these technologists.
Free newsletter, hackathons • Paid hackathons, panels, pitch nights, founder dinners
Started by Rico Oyola, latinoTech is working to build a community of Latinx leaders and innovators to change the future of tech. There are currently over 1,000 tech professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors supporting their efforts and gaining access to pitch nights, founder and investor dinners, hackathons, and more. Events are concentrated in NYC; however, latinoTech is expanding and can also be found at conferences across the country.
Free online training, live events • Paid group coaching, facebook group
Belma McCaffrey was disillusioned with her career out of college. Like many of us in that position, she went back to school for a graduate degree. But not long after graduating a second time, she found herself experiencing all the same frustrations she’d felt the first time around. That’s when she started Work Bigger, a community to help women find work they can truly feel passionate about. Work Bigger is for you if you’re looking to find a purposeful career, build a side hustle, or make a big career pivot.
Free webinars, Facebook group, in-person meetups • Paid workshops, access to funding
Black Female Founders, or #BFF, is a global community for Black women tech leaders. The organization supports Black women entrepreneurs by providing them the resources they need to succeed in tech.
Free online, in-person workshops and coworking • Paid conference
Founded by Angelica Ross (you may recognize her from TV shows Pose and Claws), TransTech is an incubator focusing on the economic empowerment of transgender people. The community offers co-working and co-learning opportunities designed to help empower members to level up in their lives and careers.
Free Slack group
This Slack group has over 250 channel options and was created as a space where LGBTQIA+ individuals in the industry can gather and support each other. Please note: This space is only for LGBTQIA+ folks and those actively questioning their identity. It is not open to allies.
Free hackathons, chapter meetups • For girls 7-17 and their support networks
Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code to introduce programming and technology to a new generation of coders. She herself felt culturally isolated as a Black woman studying electrical engineering in the mid-1980s, and now--30 years later--not much has changed. Black women hold only 3% of computing roles in the U.S.
With that in mind, Black Girls Code gives young girls the tools they need to become successful in the STEM field. Their goal is to train a million girls by 2040 and they’re already well on their way, with chapters across the U.S. and even one in Johannesburg, South Africa.
After-school clubs, immersives, college programming • Books, lesson plans • For girls from 3rd-12th grade & attending college and their support networks
Designed to close the gender gap in tech, Girls Who Code was founded by Reshma Saujani and currently reaches 90,000 girls of all backgrounds in the U.S. According to their website, their efforts have put the U.S. on track to achieve gender parity in computing by 2027.
Girls Who Code provides educational resources to deepen girls’ CS skills and confidence, programs to route students to the computing workforce, and a community to provide refuge for students and alums. You can get involved by volunteering with a club or starting a chapter in your city.
Bonus! Mayuko’s YouTube Channel
Free YouTube community
Since mid-2017, Mayuko Inoue has been making YouTube videos about working in the tech industry. She is currently a senior iOS Engineer at Patreon and has almost 214K subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she uploads tips for finding your first job in tech, choosing which programming language to learn, and dealing with burnout. You can join the conversation in the comments, or just watch her videos to learn something new and get inspired by a working woman in tech.
Interested in coding bootcamp? The Grace Hopper Program is an inclusive, welcoming community for cis and trans women and gender-nonconforming individuals—and the best part is, you don’t have to pay tuition up front. Learn more here.