Where are Filipino Americans in tech? Where is our community in this industry?

Did you know that Filipino American Diosdado “Dado” Banatao built essential hardware that powers the silicon chips running on today’s mobile devices? Or that the youngest Filipino American billionaire on the planet is the cofounder of SnapChat, Bobby Murphy? Filipino Americans have made significant historical contributions in Silicon Valley and the tech industry. In FASTER (Filipino Americans in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics), we strive to highlight and celebrate the work Filipino Americans do that has impacted the lives of millions through technology people use every day.

To tackle this challenge, FASTER created a strategic pipeline for students and professionals to enter STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) careers via educational and professional development programs. FASTER’s initiative led us to focus on mentorship programs that encourage students to explore these possibilities as early as high school and college, while also strengthening the network of existing Filipinx professionals in tech (FASTER PROS) in every type of role.

FASTER also supported the creation of Tech-In-Color by Board Member Charity Nicolas. Nicolas shared, “As a mother and first-generation Filipina, I hope Tech-In-Color and FASTER will create more equity for students of color looking for opportunities leading into tech and STEAM careers. By building a pipeline now, we hope this professional support system will provide invaluable guidance and mentorship to them throughout their career journey.”

As the Founder and Board President of FASTER, I continually reiterate the importance of early exposure to support the life cycle of Filipino Americans as a whole. I also emphasize the need to recognize and celebrate Filipino American tech professionals in all roles who have historically contributed to the making of Silicon Valley.

We are connecting co-founders, investors, and ensuring the hiring of Filipino American talent. We are learning about the latest trends in technology such as cleantech, biotech, blockchain, or virtual and augmented reality. Our mission at FASTER is to highlight leaders in the field and encourage community-building, innovation, and the creation of the technologies that will bring us into the future.

This October, FASTER is collaborating with Kubo to celebrate Filipino American History Month (FAHM) by featuring leading Filipino American tech professionals from all different areas and roles. We have also been hard at work preparing for FASTERCON18, which takes place this Saturday, October 6 at UC Berkeley. At this day-long event, Filipino American industry professionals will equip students with valuable tools, insights, and connections to prepare them for careers in STEAM.

Register for FASTERCON18:  http://www.faster-steam.org

Erin Pangilinan is founder and president of FASTER – Filipino Americans in STEAM. She is co-editor and contributor to the O’Reilly Media anthology Creating Augmented + Virtual Realities, to be released March 2019 and is an Oculus Launch Pad fellow. Erin graduated from UC Berkeley. Charity Nicolas is a BSI Safety Engineer/Safety Team Lead, and an entrepreneur owner of Nicolas Photography. She is a FASTER Board Member, founder of Tech-In Color, and president of the UC Berkeley Pilipino American Alumni Chapter President (PAAC). She earned her MPH from UH Manoa.

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