Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

“Kind of Unwelcoming”

Vauhini Vara, Bloomberg:

In the fall of 2013 a young software engineer named Charles Pratt arrived on Howard University’s campus in Washington. His employer, Google, had sent him there to cultivate future Silicon Valley programmers. It represented a warming of the Valley’s attitude toward Howard, where more than 8 out of 10 students are black. The chair of the computer science department, Legand Burge, had spent almost a decade inviting tech companies to hire his graduates, but they’d mostly ignored him. […]

Despite the apparent progress, Burge was circumspect when I called in September 2015 to ask about the companies that had started approaching Howard: “‘Started’ could mean many things,” he said. Howard was showing up in tech companies’ news releases, but it wasn’t yet clear how Burge’s students would benefit. Facebook, Dropbox, and Pinterest hadn’t yet hired any graduating seniors for a full-time position. In 2015, Google hired just one. This year, out of the 28 seniors in his department, Burge knows of only two who’ve lined up a Silicon Valley job: one at Google — its second Howard hire — and another at Pandora. “There’s a big disconnect,” Burge said.