Creating Better History: A Tapestry of Black Voices in Tech
  February 24, 2021

In honor of Black History Month, we’re amplifying the voices of some of our amazing Black employees here at SmartBear by sharing their stories around the challenges they’ve faced and the accomplishments they’ve made in their personal and professional lives. We hope you find these individuals—and their experiences—as inspiring as we do.  

Tiffany Allen: DevOps Engineer  

“2020 for me was a reminder of how important it is to take care of myself. For me, allowing myself to feel what I need to feel. The pandemic and racial injustices were so emotionally draining for the black community because you are seeing so much happen around you and then you are still trying to be professional. I had to take a moment to say, ‘Tiffany you need a break, you need some time for yourself.’ Take time, take breaks to focus on yourself to keep some normalcies in our day to day lives.” 

Dane Parchment: Javascript Developer 

“There may not be many of us (Black engineers), but that can change, and it changes if you just do it. Get the degree. Get the education. You don’t even need the degree go to a coding bootcamp or learn everything that you can on YouTube. Try to get an entry position somewhere. Just put you mind to it and do it. Don’t let other people tell you that’s not something you should do.” 

Shanae Chapman: Sr. UX Designer 

“I am a Senior UX Designer, and over the last 13 years there have been multiple times where people assumed that I either have a manual labor or secretarial job, and there is nothing wrong with those jobs. I believe all honest work is good work. But, I went to school for a very long time. I worked hard to get where I am, and I am still paying on those student loans! It feels sort of disrespectful when people assume because I am a black woman that I must work on the janitorial staff or that I work in the mail room. When people make those comments, versus just asking me, “What department do you work in,” or failing to assume that I work in technology—that’s something where racism and sexism plays the part. I overcome that by educating people and making sure that people know those assumptions are not valid.” 

Emoni Baffour: Communications Coordinator 

“Black History Month is about remembering where you came from. We all have a history, but Black history is so important in the moldings of so many things. From fashion, to science, and even pop culture, black creators have made their mark on the world. It’s really important to remember our roots and where we came from. Black culture is strong, it is powerful, and we should embrace it at all costs.” 

We hope these open, honest conversations inspire you to learn more about Black history, and to lift up and support Black communities! Knowing the past opens the door to the future, and we want to thank our Black employees for sharing their stories so that we can share them with you.