Record numbers of Black techies are expected to turn out for next week’s Blacks in Technology Conference at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Now in its fourth year, BITCON 2022 has drawn more than 1000 entrepreneurs, IT professionals, technology leaders, and a variety of afro-technologists and futurists. This year’s event will be a hybrid with in-person and live-streamed options.
Attendees will get the chance to participate in workshops and training sessions from beginner to expert. Topics and tracks include Web 3, cryptocurrency, NFT, metaverse, AI & ML, gaming & e-sports, cloud/DevOps, cybersecurity, data science, social responsibility & policy, career development, entrepreneurship, and storytelling.
The 40-plus speaker line-up will be led by writer, activist, comedian, and techie, Baratunde Thurston, author of the New York Times bestseller How To Be Black and host of television series Lenovo Late Night I.T. and PBS’s America Outdoors.
Other speakers include some of tech’s most respected leaders, influencers, and thought leaders. Heavyweights such as Felecia Hatcher, CEO of the Black Ambition Opportunity Fund; Arlan Hamilton, founder, and managing partner of Backstage Capital; Simon T. Bailey, a success coach, author, tv host, and philanthropist. UrbanGeekz’s very own founder and CEO Kunbi Tinuoye will also be gracing the stage.
There will also be opportunities to participate in one of the largest career fairs for diverse tech talent. Dozens of companies are looking for top tech talent and they are leaning into diversity.
Blacks in Technology is the largest community of people of African descent in the tech industry. The BIT foundation provides resources, guidance, networking, and opportunities for its members to advance the careers of black folks.
This year’s sponsors include global brands such as Disney and Google, both multi-year sponsors of the event. “The venue provides a fun and unique experience for our members, and with the hotel on site it is perfect for networking,” says Executive Director of the Blacks In Technology Foundation Dennis Schultz.
Other sponsors include industry-specific leaders such as Red Ventures and TIAA. The conference boasts a program of world-class speakers and business innovators.
BITCON 2022 is an opportunity for founders and black technologists to network and meet other promising new startups, influential investors, and key journalists.
The program sets out an extensive set of workshops, training sessions, and talks on topics from Web 3, cryptocurrency, and data science to career development and social responsibility.
Speaking about the extensive workshops on offer, Dennis Schultz says “Because our member base is so diverse with respect to roles and specializations, we wanted to make sure we had topics that appealed to everyone, with the focus on career and professional development. Though most of our members are IT practitioners, we have plenty of content for non-tech workers.”
BITCON 2022 has gone hybrid. Exec Director of BIT Dennis Schultz describes the hybrid setup as “the best of both worlds.” “We get to provide an in-person networking experience which has been sorely missed and we get to include those who aren’t able to travel.” This year’s conference has an international audience, with virtual attendees from across the globe.
The conference will also feature a $10,000 non-dilutive cash prize for the winning startup. Companies entering the competition must be younger than 2 and with less than 10 employees. Three finalists will compete over the weekend for the cash prize.
The conference will also focus on early careers, encouraging entry into the tech world for college and graduate students. Schultz says that BITCON provides “practical advice and tangible programs” for those not already in the tech industry “to get skilled and certified.” In addition, there is a career fair on offer in the expo area, with “dozens of companies hiring for entry-level and internship opportunities.”
Main Image: BITCON 2022 Speakers: Baratunde Thurston, Arlan Hamilton, Felecia Hatcher, and Kunbi Tinuoye
Interested in attending, register here.