Zapp and Roger was among the most popular R&B and Soul groups of the 80s and early 90s. The group is most notably known for its chart-topping hit, “Computer Love.”
The song describes a love so strong and unique that it transcends the world we all know and permeates into a digital universe. With the pervasiveness of dating apps, this concept is now a part of many people’s realities. But at the time of the song’s release, it was an innovative thought for all the aunties and uncles out there hoping to connect with the love of their life.
Although Zapp and Roger’s autotuned classic still gets the people going, for TIAA Lead Information Security Analyst, Amber Black, this kind of digital love has been the soundtrack to her professional career.
AfroTech had a chance to speak with Black about her journey as a technologist and her work with TIAA.
Cybersecurity has many different connotations. One of the misconceptions is that the field involves handling misguided content from non-descript individuals in hoodies sitting in basements plotting their next invasive threat.
While there could be some truth to that narrative, it’s only a part of the story. Amber Black works in TIAA’s cybersecurity department as a liaison with its sales department, providing cybersecurity awareness for its clients. Her work at this intersection is vitally important to the privacy of individuals and organizations.
“As we move into this digital world, cybersecurity is securing not just people’s information, but their lives, and those of their children and parents,” Black explained.
Black’s journey into tech is an unconventional one. She may be on the front lines of cybersecurity today, but the technologist considered being a meteorologist at one point. Black credits her college experience for helping to define what she wanted to do and opening her up to new possibilities.
That openness led her to her role at TIAA and has empowered her to encourage others to enter the tech and cybersecurity field as well.
“It means being the light for someone who hasn’t been exposed to this before. It means not just opening the door but giving people a seat at the table. Because it’s not enough to get in the room anymore,” Black passionately stated. “Now, I want the younger me to be able to walk alongside me to see how I think. Thinking critically is such a big part of what we do.”
Black advises future technologists that learning is a lifelong goal, and critical thinking is vital. With the continued evolution of technology, specifically with the advancement of artificial intelligence, there is always something new to learn and embrace.
In addition to keeping up with trends in the tech industry, Black encourages those interested in the field to leverage their network.
“The book that I love, which is not about tech at all, it’s by Dale Carnegie. It’s called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ And I read that at least once a year because it helps bring it back to the people. Whether you’re in cybersecurity, health care, government, the military, any field, or any position, it all comes back to the people. We are all serving one another in some way, shape, or form,” Black said.
Continued learning and development is a concept that TIAA has fully embraced with its employees, including Black. The firm offers to pay for certification and degree programs to help employees grow in their careers and partners with schools like New York University and the University of North Carolina.
The intent behind such programs embodies how TIAA has its people’s back. From affinity groups to encouraging growth and upward mobility, the firm has created a culture of support, enabling its employees to grow and evolve.
TIAA prides itself on its innovation, equitable culture, and talented employees, and welcomes all interested in their work to tap in with them.
If you want to learn more about TIAA and how you can have a “Computer Love” story like Amber Black, click here.
This editorial was created in partnership with TIAA.