Atiba shares how AfroTech helped him land a job at Dropbox — and how he brought the experience full circle this year
Every fall, Blacks and entrepreneurs in tech gather for an experience like no other: AfroTech. This unique conference, held in Oakland, CA this year, brings people together to learn, connect, and grow — which can even lead to a job opportunity. Such was the case for Atiba Booker, a Product Analyst at Dropbox, who first attended the conference last year.
“In 2017, I saw on social media that a couple of my friends were there and I was like, what is AfroTech? It looks amazing. I kept that in my mind and the next year I got an opportunity to go. I didn’t know what to expect, I just brought myself and brought questions and made myself open to meet others and take whatever the experience gave me. It was such an inspiring weekend; in tech we don’t get to see many black people who represent us in this industry, so it’s surreal to go to one place and be surrounded by so many like-minded people from your culture, and be able to network and relish the energy with them, and talk to top companies that are looking to hire our talent.”
We’ve been privileged to host a Dropbox booth at AfroTech for the past few years. It was there that Atiba first interacted with one of our recruiters and opened the door to a new opportunity.
“I was going around to the companies at AfroTech that I was particularly interested in, and Dropbox was on that list. At that time, I felt I was missing something in my career — I wanted to be somewhere where my work was impactful to the business. I was looking for something I was familiar with, something I actually use and am a fan of and can champion. Dropbox was one of those companies. So I was connected with one of the recruiters in San Francisco, and I started the interview process a few months after AfroTech. Long story short, I actually didn’t get the position that first go around, but I made sure I got feedback in the areas I could improve, and started working on those. Three months later, I reached back out to the recruiter, and they had an open position in New York. They sent me in and shortly after that, I got the offer! I think I made the right choice — as soon as I got here I hit the ground running, and now I’m delivering things that are getting exposure on a leadership level. I’m being challenged every day, which is great.”
Now that Atiba has been at our Dropbox NYC office for a couple of months, he was excited to go back to AfroTech for a full circle experience. He represented Dropbox at our booth and felt he was able to give back by connecting with other people who were in the same shoes as he was last year. He also got to witness the exponential growth of the conference — attendance has nearly doubled in each of the past three years, drawing over 10,000 people this year.
One of the things that helps to set AfroTech apart and attract such a huge crowd is its insistence on not becoming a stereotypical, boring conference. Many of the companies that attend host mixers and parties at their offices or fun locations around town to provide other opportunities for attendees to socialize. The speakers at the conference are also selected carefully for their energy and accomplishments: some of this year’s speakers included media mogul Charlamagne Tha God; Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, who unfortunately passed away shortly after the event; and Morgan DeBaun, the CEO of black millennial-geared news site Blavity, which puts on AfroTech. Every little detail of the event serves to create a sense of community for greater Black representation in tech that Atiba thinks is one-of-a-kind.
“There’s a sense of pride there. We have strength in numbers, just to know that we are not alone out here — Black in tech is real and beautiful and valuable too. There’s an energy of pride and inspiration that you feel at AfroTech — you can do more and step it up a level. And you come back with that motivation. Even when I go on LinkedIn now, I see people taking the next steps and putting their ideas out there and reaching out to developers to start their business. That’s all coming from that AfroTech energy.”
At Dropbox, we believe that a mix of different cultures and voices makes us all better together. Want to make your voice heard too? Check out our open positions.