The School of Computer Science is proud to be supporting the 2015 Code First Girls programme, currently in its third run. Code First: Girls was originally the coding education arm of Entrepreneur First, a not-for-profit organisation which supports graduates building their own tech startups, but is now an independent organization by itself. CF: G is a social enterprise that aims to address the issue of getting more women into tech and tech entrepreneurship. This is done through two main brackets of activity:
- Building a community of tech-savvy young women. They currently run around 27 courses in a number of UK university locations from Southampton to St Andrews. They also run frequent career evenings at various tech companies (such as Twitter and Just Eat), as well as an annual conference and hackathons.
- Working with tech companies themselves. This is mainly looking at recruitment strategies, linking up recruiters with their community and running in-house staff coding courses.
The feedback received about these classes has been overwhelmingly positive, and includes the following testimonial from one of its current students:
“I have found the skills I am currently learning in these sessions invaluable both to my personal development and future employability. The course provides me with an exciting challenge, and at the end of every task successfully completed I feel empowered as an individual: women shouldn’t feel like outsiders looking in on an all-boys club when it comes to technology, and I’m very proud to be able to partake of a movement which seeks to level that playing field.”
St Andrews has consistently run as one of CF:G’s most active and successful courses; we’re running our beginners course (which covers basic front-end web development in HTML and CSS) for the third time now and are looking to run it again next semester alongside our first advanced course – building on the beginner’s curriculum with the introduction of Python to build more powerful back-end elements. Within the tech industry, women are often at a disadvantage due to a lack of technical knowledge; Code First: Girls exists precisely to address this educational disparity, and this is why the School is keen to see students from all disciplines and years of study participate in these informative, friendly and interactive sessions.
Text and images courtesy of Mary Dodd, Mary Chan, Shyam Reyal, Adeola Fabola and Vinodh Sampath.