Beyond Coding: How To Cultivate The “Power Skills” Of Tech

Beyond Coding: How To Cultivate The “Power Skills” Of Tech

Are our children’s future careers doomed to be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence? The short answer is no. The longer answer is of course not. And that’s because humans have something no machine can yet embody: empathy. And it’s that distinctly human characteristic which is going to make the technology industry more diverse and successful in the future.

The human element of tech knowledge was the topic at hand for Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant, Pinterest’s chief diversity officer Candice Morgan, and Global Citizen Year founder Abby Falik on Tuesday afternoon at the Fast Company Innovation Festival.

“Empathy is like a muscle,” Morgan said, “it really is.” Her work at Pinterest has focused on getting leadership teams to better understand how to use it. The company has held events focused on fostering talent from underrepresented groups. And through those conversations and relationships, said Morgan, others were able to better articulate and understand how people from varied backgrounds view their role in both the company and technology industry. Building a diverse team necessarily led to a more empathetic work community. Just “coming to the table and sitting across from someone who has a different idea,” helps the industry grow, said Morgan.

But first, companies have to realize their shortcomings, and strategize about how to build more diverse and robust teams. “There is both an implicit and systemic bias built into the system,” Bryant said. Even though there’s been a loud cry for more diversity in tech, the demographic makeup of most companies has stagnated over the last few years. Bryant added, “I think now we’re at the time where companies really need to have conversations about the company cultures and how we fix all those holes.”


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