Karat Launches “Brilliant Black Minds” to Unlock Opportunities for Black Software Engineers


The program empowers Black software engineers with practice technical interviews, feedback, and professional development

SEATTLE, March 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Karat, the world leader in technical interviewing, today announced Brilliant Black Minds, a program to improve access, fairness, and inclusion across the technology industry. The program, which formalizes Karat’s commitment to providing Black software engineers with $1 million in practice interviews, kicked off last year and is growing to support more computer science students and professional engineers in 2021.

Karat’s global network of Interview Engineers has conducted over 80,000 technical interviews for leading tech-driven organizations, giving the company a unique opportunity to make the hiring process more accessible and equitable. And yet, we recognize that Black software engineers have been mostly kept out of the highest levels of tech and not afforded access to the career opportunities that interviews create.

The Brilliant Black Minds program leverages Karat’s interview capacity and expertise to empower more Black software engineers with first-hand interviewing experiences, performance feedback, and professional development opportunities.

“Job candidates seldom get feedback from interviews, and it’s even less common for that information to make its way to the educators,” said Dr. Legand Burge, Howard University Computer Science Professor. “Karat’s ability to share the skills that hiring managers from top-tier tech companies are looking for, coach our students on how to crack the code of the technical interview, and guide our faculty on how to map our curriculum to meet those practical needs has been incredibly valuable.”

The program offers a series of enterprise-grade technical interviews to computer science students and professional developers. After each session, Karat’s professional Interview Engineers deliver real-time feedback and coaching to the participants, highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement. Participants also have the opportunity to attend workshops with professional engineers covering subjects, including interview prep, how to demonstrate problem-solving skills in the interview, networking, and salary negotiation, to help prepare them for the next step in their career journeys.

“Brilliant Black Minds aims to eliminate barriers for software engineers,” said Jeffrey Spector, Karat President, and co-founder. “Our goal is to support Black software engineers through the technical interview process so they can advance their careers and achieve their purpose in the world of tech. Tech companies shape the ways we all live, and they need the brilliance and unique perspectives of Black engineers.”

In addition to providing direct feedback to the interview participants, Brilliant Black Minds also shares anonymized performance data and trends with key academic and industry partners. This establishes a critical line of communication between the tech industry and the organizations responsible for training and supporting Black software engineers throughout their careers.

More than three-quarters of Howard University’s Senior, Junior, and Sophomore computer science students participated in the inaugural program class last fall, and this year, Karat is expanding with new partnerships to serve even more Black software engineers.

“Based on the high participation and positive feedback from our pilot with Howard University students, we’re expanding the program this semester to other HBCUs and industry organizations,” shared Portia Kibble Smith, Karat’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “These institutions produce brilliant software engineers, but many of the candidates haven’t been exposed to formal interview training and preparation for how big-tech companies assess talent, which puts them at a disadvantage.”

The lack of interviewing experience is a hurdle for many software engineers, especially as they try to establish a foothold in the industry without a robust network of family and friend connections in the industry. Ensuring Black software engineers have the same access to technical interview experiences was a key reason that Jopwell joined the Brilliant Black Minds program as a partner last month.

“Karat’s Brilliant Black Minds program creates opportunities for our community to feel more prepared and confident in technical interviews,” said Ryan Williams, Jopwell President, and co-founder. “This gives our engineering candidates exposure to technical interviews, which is a critical step in leveling the playing field for developers.”

Karat is currently offering practice interviews to students from Howard University, Morehouse College, and members of the professional industry association, Jopwell, with plans to expand partners in the future. Previously, the company has partnered with organizations like the National Association of Black Engineers, Internhacks, Ada, and Year Up.

For more about the Brilliant Black Minds launch, check out our blog post: The Power of Brilliant Black Minds.

About Karat
Karat unlocks opportunities for developers and tech-driven organizations by making every interview predictive, fair, and enjoyable. Karat’s solution combines 24/7 live technical interviews conducted by its global network of Interview Engineers with rigorously tested interview formats, enterprise-grade Interview Infrastructure, and unmatched data visibility and insights. Karat helps clients hire faster and more effectively by unlocking productive engineering hours, improving the candidate experience, mitigating bias, and delivering a hiring signal that software engineering leaders trust to raise their hiring bar.

About Howard University
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows, and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.

About Jopwell
Jopwell is the leading career advancement platform for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals. They assist the nation’s leading employers with recruitment, retention, and marketing efforts to accelerate a greater workforce for all. Jopwell accomplishes this through its technology platform for recruiters and human capital services that support holistic customer diversity initiatives.

Media Contact: Gordie Hanrahan, Karat Director of Communications, (press@karat.com)

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