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How Do Black Men Succeed in IT Careers? The Effects of Capital

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Fuller, K., Kvasny, L., Trauth, E. M., & Joshi, K. D. (2015, June). Understanding Career Choice of African American Men Majoring in Information Technology. In Proceedings of the 2015 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research (pp. 41-48). ACM.

Graham, K., Joshi, K. D., Nithithanatchinnapat, B., & Trauth, E. (2015). An Exploratory Study of Identity and IT Career Choice for Military Service Members and Veterans with Disabilities.

Kvasny, L., Joshi, K. D., & Trauth, E. (2015). Understanding Black Males' IT Career Choices. iConference 2015 Proceedings.

Trauth, E., Joshi, K. D., & Graham, K. (2014). Modeling IT Career Choice for the Differently Abled: Military Personnel and Veterans with Disabilities.

Joshi, K. D., Trauth, E., Kvasny, L., & McPherson, S. (2013). Exploring the Differences among IT Majors and Non-Majors: Modeling the Effects of Gender Role Congruity, Individual Identity, and IT Self-Efficacy on IT Career Choices.




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Published on Monday, 20 July 2015
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The Influence of Gender-Ethnic Intersectionality on Gender Stereotypes about IT Skills and Knowledge


One line of investigation in attempting to better understand the gender imbalance in the information technology (IT) field is to examine gender stereotypes about the skills and knowledge in the IT profession. A survey of 4046 university students in the United States was conducted to examine gender stereotypes held by contemporary university students (White, Black and Latino men and women) about the skills and knowledge in the IT profession. The Individual Differences Theory of Gender and IT was used as the motivating theory for this study because it enabled the incorporation of gender-ethnic intersectionality in the research design. The results revealed that while gender stereotypes about the skills and knowledge involved in the IT profession do exist, they are not uniform across all members of a gender group. The men tended to rate all of the skills as more masculine than did the women respondents. Technical skills were more consistently stereotyped by both men and women in each of the gender-ethnic groups than were nontechnical skills. However, gender stereotypes about nontechnical skills were more contested and revealed both within-gender and within-ethnicity variation. The women students’ rating of nontechnical skills as less masculine than the men suggests that these nontechnical skills are being incorporated into the women’s sense of gender identity. These results show that gender-ethnic intersectionality provides one important explanation for within-gender variation in gender stereotypes that are held by contemporary university students. These findings suggest promising avenues for interventions to address not only the masculine gender stereotyping of skills in the IT profession, but also differential gender stereotyping of technical vs. nontechnical skills and variation in gender stereotyping by the intersectionality of gender-ethnic groups.



Eileen M. Trauth
The Pennsylvania State University
College of Information Sciences and Technology

Curtis Cain
The Pennsylvania State University
College of Information Sciences and Technology

K.D. Joshi
Washington State University
College of Business

Lynette Kvasny
The Pennsylvania State University
College of Information Sciences and Technology

Kayla Booth
The Pennsylvania State University
College of Information Sciences and Technology

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Understanding Career Choice of African American Men Majoring in Information Technology


A diverse workforce is essential for developing the nation’s technological innovation, economic vitality, and global competitiveness. Yet, the under-representation of women, Latinos and African Americans has persisted in the field. In this study, we focus on African American male undergraduates majoring in information technology (IT). Despite the bleak numbers of African American males in IT there are still those who persist and graduate from a university and enter the workforce. To gain insights into those who do persist, we used a digital inequality framework to inform a qualitative study of undergraduates at two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We conducted interviews with 20 African American males to uncover factors that contribute to their choice to pursue an IT major. The findings reveal that the five constructs from this framework (technical apparatus, digital skill, social support, autonomy of use, and purpose of use) in addition to two new constructs (work ethic and IT career exposure) help to explain how and why African American males choose IT majors. The study contributes to the limited literature on African American men's academic success, and helps to clarify some of the mixed and contradictory findings about their career choices that exist in the current literature.

Fuller, K., Kvasny, L., Trauth, E. M., & Joshi, K. D. (2015, June). Understanding Career Choice of African American Men Majoring in Information Technology. In Proceedings of the 2015 ACM SIGMIS Conference on Computers and People Research (pp. 41-48). ACM.

Click here to download the paper


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