Why This Microsoft Staffer Says More Black Women Should Get Involved In Industrial Design

A private Facebook group called Black Women in Product Design was founded by web designer Lenora Porter and has since grown to hundreds of members looking to connect, share with and learn from other Black women in the design sector. This is important because Black women make up less than 2% of the tech labor market.

This wasn’t lost on Jazmine Hoxley when she came to work for Microsoft as an industrial designer in 2018.

“Diversity was definitely something I’d thought about before when seeking out roles in tech, but working for Microsoft was such a life-changing move,” Hoxley shared with Essence.

Although underrepresentation was a slight concern, it wasn’t something she hadn’t dealt with before, she said.

“I grew up in a predominantly white community,” the Minnesota native shared with Essence. “I also attended University of Washington so being one of the ‘only’ isn’t new.

But she said this didn’t stop her from pursuing a career with Microsoft in industrial design. Her decision was a smart one. According to Glass Door, industrial designers can make up to $127,000/year.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to have my ideas heard, implemented for millions of consumers,” she said.

Hoyle shared that her job as an industrial designer consists of amplifying the customer experience with product they use and touch everyday. Her primary focus is Microsoft’s handheld, dual screen device Surface Duo. This is one of offerings from the Surface line, who’s recent release includes a new touch screen laptop, the Surface Go 2.

Hoyle said industrial design is an untapped field Black women should be more open to pursuing.

“Always be open to talking to people who are not only in the industry you want to land in, but are doing the things within it tht you want to do—there are so many options in tech. Surround with those who can help you gain more information, learn the craft and go for it. Just go for it.”

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