May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Learn more about 3 individuals who have had long and successful careers as technology professionals in the AAPI community. Welcome to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. We recognize the achievements and celebrate the contributions made by the AAPI community in the United States each May.
Why celebrate AAPI heritage May? The month was chosen to commemorate the May 1843 arrival of the first Japanese immigrant to America and the May 1869 completion of the transcontinental railroad. This was done with the help of as many as 20,000 workers from China.
CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community will use AAPI Heritage Month to celebrate the incredible technological innovations that have come from the AAPI community. Our goal is to highlight several individuals who have had long and successful careers within technology and encourage others to consider a career in the industry. Here are three people who have inspired me throughout my career:
Ajay Bhatt is the Universal Serial Bus (USB), Technology.
Universal serial bus (USB), technology is something you are likely to have used if you have ever connected a mouse, a phone charger, or a portable data storage device to your computer. Did you know that the original creator of USB technology was Ajay Bhatt (Indian-American chief systems technologist at Intel) in the 1990s?
Today, USB is used in over 10 billion devices worldwide. It allows a variety of devices, including keyboards, mice, printers, and others, to connect to computers much more easily without the need for different connectors. The USB acts as a “translator” between different devices that need to be connected to a computer. It is far more user-friendly than previous formats.
Intel, the original backer of Bhatt’s USB idea and owner of all patents, decided from the beginning to make the technology open and royalty-free for everyone.
Reshma Saujani – Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani, an American lawyer, activist, and politician, is Reshma. She was also the first Indian-American woman to run for U.S. Congress in 2009.
Reshma, while campaigning for Congress became aware of the growing gender gap in computing classes after she visited local schools. The gender gap in computing is growing. In 1995, 37% of computer scientists was female, but it’s now 24%. The ages between 13 and 17 are when there is the greatest drop in girls in computing.
Reshma created Girls Who Code, an organization for women in tech who are on a mission closing the gender gap. Through its program offerings, which include summer immersion programs, clubs and college loops, online resources and campaigns, the company aims to close the gap in entry-level tech jobs by 2030.
Zoom Video Conferencing Platform, Eric Yuan
Many businesses and organizations used Zoom video conferencing software to hold meetings, take classes, and keep in touch with family and friends after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people around the world began working remotely after being quarantined and other restrictions.
Zoom was one of the companies that benefited greatly and was included in the lexicon with some of the most prominent tech companies. Eric Yuan, a Chinese-born entrepreneur who moved to Silicon Valley in 1997, founded Zoom in 2011. Yuan was inspired to create Zoom by a long-distance romance with his girlfriend in college in China in the 1980s. He was separated from his girlfriend by a 10-hour train ride and thought “how wonderful it would be” to create a smartphone-friendly video conference platform. He left Cisco to create Zoom after Cisco rejected his idea. Zoom reported more customers than 500,000 in 2021 with 10+ employees and over $4 billion in sales. This is 55% more than the previous year.
Are there any other AAPI leaders you admire for their contributions to the technology industry? Join me in CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community to continue the conversation!
Fiona Ho, senior director of human resource at Sophos, is an executive council member for CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community.
Join the conversation! For more information and resources, check out CompTIA’s Advancing Tech Talent and Diversity Community. Connect with peers and industry leaders to get great information and support.