Baddies in Tech is Revolutionizing the Tech Landscape One Baddie At a Time
One of the biggest misconceptions about the tech industry is that it just consists of coding. In today’s world, however, technology is utilized in every industry. Anyone from a writer to a designer can find a career in tech. Gone are the days of the stereotypical images of a nerdy coder dominating the industry. The work force is changing, and Baddies in Tech is revolutionizing the industry’s landscape one baddie at a time.
Founded in 2019, Baddies in Tech (BiT) has an ambitious vision to drive diversity and inclusion in the tech industry by providing resources, mentorship and career opportunities to 10,000 black and brown women. Meet Allie Tsahey, Ghanaian-American baddie and certified software entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of Baddies in Tech. “I really want Baddies in Tech to be the pinnacle of black women success, sisterhood, and leadership in tech,” Allie said in an interview with Amplify Africa.
Founder and CEO of Baddies in Tech: Allie Tsahey
The idea for the startup career development platform came out of Allie’s personal journey into the tech industry. Allie came to America as an immigrant with her family from Ghana. Growing up, she had one foot in America and one in Africa, a common phenomenon among many diaspora children. With that came the pressure of succeeding and going to school to become a lawyer, doctor or engineer. Allie went to Syracuse University to take on the African-parent approved career of becoming a doctor. During her sophomore year she took a job in an emergency department working with electronic medical record (EMR) software with no experience in technology. It wasn’t until her senior year that her eyes were opened to opportunities in technology and she realized that there was another way to be innovative in the healthcare space that didn’t require being an MD. She used her prior experience and exposure to technology to move her way into the tech world via health-tech startups. “I can’t say that my journey is typical of what it would be to transition to tech,” said Allie. “What I can stay is that I had to use the skills I already had to make my way into tech.”
Once she entered the world of tech, she searched for a community of women of color in tech but couldn’t find a solidified community. “I knew there were young, ambitious women in tech, but no one had congregated them or created a community to amplify their representation,” she said. Excited to connect with other women in tech online, Allie snapped a photo on one of her work trips and tagged the photo #BaddiesInTech. “I realized no one had ever used the hashtag and I said to myself ‘ok, I’m going to make this a thing.’ That's how it started, completely on a whim.”
Even though Allie worked in a tech start up, there was still a lot that she didn’t know about the industry. Coupled with the lack of diversity and discrimination often faced by women of color in the corporate tech world, Allie quit Corporate America after just 1 year at her job. She decided to move back to her home country of Ghana to learn more about tech entrepreneurship and the tech industry from the grassroots, through a program known as MEST Africa.
She realized that the technology industry was more accessible than it appeared to be, and how crucial representation was to bring in more women of color. “There’s a lot of gate keeping, bro culture and mystifying of the tech space, and people like to talk in big jargon-filled terms,” Allie said. “It makes it feel like it’s so inaccessible but it’s not once you learn about it.” When you’re not represented in a space it can seem so outside of your league. Allie is working to break down those barriers to allow more Black and Brown women to enter the tech industry. Tech is a huge economic opportunity, with some of the highest paying jobs and we as women of color deserve a piece of that, because we are skilled, talented and dedicated - and we deserve to get paid equally. The global information technology industry is one of the largest in the world, projecting a global revenue of $4.8 trillion for the year. The United States represents the largest tech market in the world accounting for 33% of the total, or approximately $1.6 trillion of 2021.
The misconception is that young, confident women don’t belong in tech or can’t have a voice or be successful in that space. In addition, there are other misconceptions and stereotypes that women themselves fall victim to. Because many women, especially in Africa, have been told to be quiet their whole lives, when they’re at a tech event catered to them they still need to be encouraged to ask questions or speak up, Allie notes recalling a women in tech event in Ghana. Allie hopes to change this mindset with BiT by letting women know that: 1) They belong in the tech industry and 2) to be unapologetic about your interests and what you want to do with your professional career.
From the Real Tech Girl Collection on the Baddies in Tech shop
To this effect, Baddies in Tech is launching a membership platform for women of color and allies to network, find resources, mentorship and opportunities, and more. In the tech world, there are so many free courses and information but no guided roadmap or structure to get there, Allie pointed out. “It’s like, here’s all this information, go figure it out.” With BiT, she hopes to demystify the process and make it clear how you can get to where you’re going from where you are.
Thinking about entering an entirely new field can seem overwhelming but Allie offers some helpful tips. The first one? Believe in yourself and your ability to learn. “Know that there is a place for you, and everyone starts as a junior” she said. “Do some research and figure out where it is that you want to go and how you can apply the skills you already have to that space.” The easiest way to do this is to Google search the job you want, look at the requirements and see where you rank against them, then start learning the skills you lack, said Allie. “Another helpful thing is to find a tribe of people who are in that space that can guide your journey because they’ve been there and they’re usually willing to provide guidance.” A great place to get started is getting connected with Baddies in Tech. Just recently, BiT came out with a Tech Career Quiz you can take to find your fit in the tech industry. Their website also contains a Career Starter Pack resource bundle, a blog with insight into tech careers, access to employer opportunities and more. “There are a lot of benefits that come from being a member of our community,” Allie said. “The biggest thing is having that community of women in tech who are your tribe and sounding board.”