Datadog was a proud sponsor of this year’s AfroTech conference, which took place November 1–5 in Austin, Texas. AfroTech is the largest Black tech conference in the US and enables a global network of Black innovators to connect and discuss emerging trends with leaders and recruiters across the tech industry. Let’s run through the highlights of AfroTech and share the experience from the eyes of Datadog team members Ngala Mukundayi, Taylor Young, and Bex Antwi.
AfroTech 2023 featured 25,000 participants who attended the five-day conference. Engineers made up over a quarter of all attendees, followed closely by people working in operations and strategy, marketing, and sales—all from many different backgrounds. Among the attendees were 210 speakers who presented talks on building a career, network, and personal brand in tech. And in total, the conference welcomed 162 of the biggest brands in tech—including Google, Amazon, Shopify, and Datadog—showcasing a wide array of booths, talks, and career opportunities.
Ngala Mukundayi, Director of Customer Success in EMEA, says he was impressed with the turnout for this year’s conference. “I was happy to see so many people from the Afro community show up to network, college students discuss their career aspirations post-college, and working professionals explore other opportunities as they look to transition to the tech industry,” Ngala says.
Ngala coleads the Black in Tech (BiT) Community Guild at Datadog, which is our internal chapter of a global community for Black people working in tech to connect, share experiences, and grow together. Our BiT Community Guild executive sponsor, coleads, and members played a vital role in organizing Datadog’s presence at AfroTech, working alongside our Employer Brand team to ensure team members attending had the resources and support needed to educate event attendees about Datadog and make lasting connections with the wider Black tech community.
“Thanks to Datadog’s BiT community guild, I was able to visit Austin for the first time, attend AfroTech, and meet some of the best people in the world,” Ngala says. “[The guild] allowed me to raise awareness and be an inspiration to people who look like me and are trying to pursue a career in tech.”
Sponsoring AfroTech this year helped to bring awareness to and educate Black professionals across the Americas about the Datadog brand and its increasing role within the broader tech community. That growth is a testament to people like Taylor Young, a Technical Sourcer on Datadog’s recruiting team, who says it was exciting to see so many people recognize the company and reach out to speak with her.
“On more than one occasion at the Career Expo, all of our booth attendants were occupied speaking with prospective candidates, and so a line began forming,” Taylor says. “I think that just really speaks to the strength of our employer brand and the excitement that we’ve generated about building a career here at Datadog.”
Bex Antwi, Datadog’s AfroTech showrunner and Event Marketer on the Employer Brand team, agrees, and she says that seeing attendees interact with Datadog at the Career Expo was her favorite moment of AfroTech.
“From folks who had never heard of us and thought we were a pet company, to engineers who hailed Datadog as an essential part of their work, it made me feel really proud of the work we do here,” Bex says.
Datadog’s sponsorship of AfroTech included support from many different teams, along with all the BiT community members across Datadog departments who came out to educate potential candidates about their experience working in engineering, sales, technical solutions, and more. It’s a massive coordination and logistical effort—an effort that Bex says is crucial to ensuring we find the most talented people who share our values.
“As a company, we have to really invest time and other resources to meet this talent where they are and appeal to the things they care about, like clear company values, equitable pay, and a flexible work-life balance,” Bex says. “Lucky for us, these are aspects of work that Datadog already has that we can do more to spread awareness of.”
In a wider sense, AfroTech shows the immense amount of skill, expertise, and ideas of Black people in an industry where they’ve been historically underrepresented. The conference continues to be a welcome space for more companies, more talent, and more opportunities.
“AfroTech validated that diversity in tech is really growing,” Taylor says. “Our booth encountered hundreds of prospects of color ranging from students to new grads to industry veterans—but the conference itself attracted thousands of people of color.”
An inclusive culture is foundational to Datadog, and we continue to invest in growing our DEI team, fostering new mentorship and training programs, and developing more guilds and groups to ensure all communities are set up for success. Alongside safe and supportive guilds like BiT, Rainbowdogs, and Veterans, Datadog provides instructor-led learning sessions, e-learning programs, and mentorship opportunities for new and senior employees as well as management and team leads to reflect the perspectives and identities of the world we live in.
Our continued support and investment in conferences like AfroTech are due to the waves of intelligent, talented people we find when innovative tech, collaboration, and belonging are at the forefront of Datadog culture.
“It’s a good feeling to see your company not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk,” Taylor says.
Datadog is growing, and we’re looking for people to join our teams around the world. Learn more about open roles—and #DatadogLife—on our Careers page.