One of Google’s top Black executives has announced he is retiring from his role at the tech giant.
“Today I’m announcing my retirement from Google. Even the best rides come to an end. As I turn the page on this chapter, I realized I’ve spent the last 25 years learning how to work, I hope to spend the rest of my life learning how to live,” Google engineer Kelsey Hightower tweeted on June 26.
Hightower is one of the few Black Google staffers to make it to the executive rakes. Here are five things to know.
Since November 2015, Hightower has worked for Google as an engineer and developer advocate in their cloud computing division, according to Bloomberg. Since October 2022, Hightower had been a distinguished engineer, level 9 (L9) as an individual contributor, with Google Cloud.
Hightower is known for his work with Kubernetes, open-source software, and cloud computing.
After earning his CompTIA A+ certification, at 19 years old he landed a job with BellSouth installing DSL service. DSL, which stands for digital subscriber line, is one of the most common internet connection types. Hightower worked with BellSouth for several years before beginning his own IT consultancy. He also worked briefly as a technician for Google, then at Total Systems. Then while working at a Portland startup called Monsoon Commerce he wrote confd, his first open-source project.
Despite well-publicized diversity goals, Google still remains mainly white and male. According to jb recruitment platform Zippia, Google has 139,995 employees and 60 percent are men.
According to its 2021 diversity report, 4.4 percent of Google’s U.S. employees were “Black+,” which includes workers who identify as more than one race, one of which is Black, The New York Times reported. Non-Hispanic Black Americans represent 12.1 percent of the total population of 331.9 million.
According to the company, it reached its commitment of boosting leadership representation for underrepresented minorities by 30 percent in 2022. Its annual diversity report stated that Black people make up 5.2 percent of leadership, up from 2.6 percent in 2020, Bloomberg reported.
According to Zippia, 61 percent of Google’s management team is white, 12 percent of Google management is Hispanic or Latino, and just 10 percent of the management team is Black or African American.
Silicon Valley has yet to become inclusive. While Black people make up 12 percent of the U.S. workforce, they represent only 8 percent of employees in tech jobs.
Kelsey Hightower (Photo: QED 2023 Croz, https://qed.croz.net/welcome-kelsey-hightower-a-pragmatic-visionary-in-business-and-technology/)