First, the online edition of Webster's Dictionary provides two definitions of "technology"
- "the use of science in industry, engineering, etc., to invent useful things or to solve problems"
- "a machine, piece of equipment, method, etc., that is created by technology"
I admit to having only the vaguest understanding of what most of these terms mean, but I am confident that none of these technologies are subsets of information technology.
- Bottom Line #1 ... Information technology is just one petal on the rose of all technologies.
Only two of these IT professions develop software as their primary activity -- computer programmers and software developers
- Bottom Line #2 ... Software development is just one petal on the rose of all information technologies.
While it's understandable that Silicon Valley's elite would abbreviate "information technology" to "technology" and "tech" in casual conversation, it's unlikely that the managers and tech staffs of SV's hardware giants (Intel and AMD, HP and Apple) would equate "technology" and "tech" with "software" given that their R&D and the technologies for their manufacturing processes are far more dependent on physics and chemistry than they are on software design. It seems more likely that this abuse of language has been perpetrated by SV's software giants and by the news media.
But so what? Why quibble about the meaning of terms when most of the speakers and listeners know what's really being talked about? The problem is that SV's software management and the news media have also equated "diversity in tech" in Silicon Valley with "diversity in tech" in the entire U.S. of A. ... and that equation is false.
A recent study by the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) found that Black and Hispanic employment rose to 12 percent of total tech employment in the U.S. in 2014, up from 9 percent in 2009. This is roughly twice the combined employment levels for these groups that were reported by Google, Facebook, and most of the other SV software giants in 2014. Here's a quote from the Wall Street Journal's concise summary of the PPI report:
- "Partly due to the low base they were starting at, the number of black college graduates in tech jobs grew by 58% during that time, with large increases among computer programmers, software developers, database administrators, and network and computer systems analysts. Hispanic employment in tech jobs rose by 103%."“It turns out that tech is not just a small elitist sector that offers few jobs and hires only white and Asian supernerds,” wrote the authors."" 'Tech jobs are growing faster and are more diverse than people think,' said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute and an author of the paper"
- Bottom Line #3 ... Diversity in Silicon Valley is just one petal on the rose of diversity in all components of information technology in the entire U.S.
- Bottom Line #4 ... Diverse employment opportunities in information technology are increasing much faster outside of Silicon Valley than within Silicon Valley; but diversity has not reached parity with the proportion of minorities in the population anywhere.
I continue to be frustrated by the feeble affirmative action efforts of some of our most outspoken "allies" in the upper echelons of the Caucasian majority who have done do so little for us, but have taken so much credit and expected so much gratitude in return. I keep asking myself: Fifty years after the Civil Rights Revolution, are we really better off because of their help? Might we have gotten further in those five decades on our own? Who helped Jewish-Americans? Who helped Irish-Americans? And more recently, who helped Korean-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Indo-Americans, and Japanese-Americans?
In my youth, my software skills enabled me to obtain gainful employment; but in my old age I am no longer thinking about employment; I am thinking about the power to create employment. I have lived long enough to know that power is never conferred or shared; power must always be taken. Back in the 1930s, Willie Sutton said that he robbed banks because that's where the money was. In recent decades, software + business skills transformed some of Silicon Valley's other hyphenated-Americans into instant billionaires, thereby propelling them into the highest ranks of America's power elites. That's why I think Black-America's most gifted and talented must become software entrepreneurs in today's computer driven economy, because that's where the power is.
- Bottom Line #5 ... Double, triple, quadruple the pressure to diversify Silicon Valley ... by any peaceful means necessary.