A First – CodeFirst:Girls courses recognised on academic transcript at the University of St Andrews

CodeFirst:Girls is an organisation which runs free coding courses for young women, with partner universities and companies across the UK. The University of St Andrews, School of Computer Science has been a keen supporter of CodeFirst:Girls for the past 5 years. We run their community courses in our premises with our students and staff volunteering as instructors, course ambassadors and presentation judges. Since partnering with CodeFirst:Girls in 2014, we have taught over 700 young women to code within St Andrews alone, contributing to the organisation’s vision of training 20,000 young women across the UK by the year 2020. The coding courses are very popular among the female students of St Andrews and receive a staggering 140 applications on average per semester.

This year, we further strengthened this collaboration between St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls by recognising the training programmes on the students’ academic transcripts. St Andrews students who successfully complete a CodeFirst:Girls training programme (either the beginners HTML course, or advanced Python course) by fulfilling the attendance and assessment requirements, can have this listed in their academic transcript under “Prizes and Achievements”, thereby obtaining official recognition for the invaluable coding skills they gained through this training.
This idea was innovated by St Andrews student and CodeFirst:Girls course ambassador Nicola Sobieraj (MSc Research Methods in Psychology 2019); Bonnie Hacking (Enterprise Adviser, Careers Centre); and Shyam Reyal (Associate Lecturer in Computer Science).

In her own words, Nicola mentioned that “It was a privilege being an ambassador and to propose this idea to acknowledge the courses on the academic transcript. I have truly enjoyed being involved in the process and collaborating with inspiring people from CF:G and St Andrews. I’d love to see this idea in universities across the country and would definitely support this process”. Bonnie added “I’m delighted we are now able to recognise our student’s achievements through CodeFirst:Girls officially. I’ve been judging the presentations of their projects for several years and am always impressed by what they achieve.”

Ewa Magiera, Head of Communities of CodeFirst:Girls, expressed her contentment with this collaboration as “a milestone in our cooperation with St Andrews, a great way for students to receive recognition for their efforts, and an important step forward in our cooperation with academic institutions which host our courses”.

This definitely marks an important milestone for both St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls – for St Andrews students’ to have this skill development programme added to the degree transcripts – and for CodeFirst:Girls, to be validated by Scotland’s oldest and highest ranked university for Computer Science. We believe this will immensely boost the student’s CV and portfolio, as their achievements and skills are validated and recognized by the university, thus increasing their employability.

Further information and key milestones in the St Andrews and CodeFirst:Girls collaboration journey can be found here.

CodeFirst:Girls Final presentations Fall 2016

Congratulations to our St Andrews Computer Science Code First Girls, for completing the Fall 2016 course, and staging their final projects. Students are pictured presenting some of their diverse and ambitious projects to staff, CFG tutors and fellow students. Presentations were followed by some home baking.

Judges awarded overall winner to Marya Simeonova and Chirsty McFadyen for Student Association’s Environment Subcommittee. Runners-up were Hannah Done, Anna Guckian and Eilidh Robb for GradTrip and Alix Réveilhac, Bridget Holmes and Sherry Zhang for The Grind.

Well done to all. Read more about CFG in our previous post Computer Science supports CodeFirst:Girls


Computer Science supports CodeFirst:Girls 2016

The School of Computer Science is proud to be supporting the 2016 Code First Girls programme, currently in its fourth 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 School has consistently run as one of CF:G’s most active and successful courses; running the beginners course (which covers basic front-end web development in HTML and CSS) for the fourth time now alongside the second run of a more 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.

CodeFirstGirls  Fall 2015

CodeFirst:Girls Fall 2015

CodeFirst:Girls 2015

CodeFirst:Girls 2015

Codefirst:Girls 2014

CodeFirst:Girls 2014

Text and images courtesy of Mary Dodd, Mary Chan, Shyam Reyal, Adeola Fabola and Vinodh Sampath.

Teaching Rewards: Shyam Reyal

Congratulations to Shyam who featured as Instructor of the month with CodeFirst Girls and was nominated for a teaching award by undergraduate computer science students. Shyam has been busy working on first level modules this semester and his passion for Computer Science, friendly approachable personality and all his hard work, has been duly rewarded.


CodeFirst:Girls final presentations 2016

Congratulations to our St Andrews Computer Science Code First Girls, for completing the 2016 course and staging their final projects. Earlier this week they presented their distinct and impressive projects to staff and students here in the School. Prizes were awarded for overall winner to Naomi McReynolds, for No Clucks Given and runner up to Fidan Gasimova, Katya Clark and Malina McLenna, for The North Point Cafe.

The judges were thoroughly impressed by the enthusiastic presentations and the quality of answers to both technical and non-technical questions. Last year’s winner Kahina Le Louvier also gave a demonstration of her project from the advanced course. Presentations were followed by a cheese and wine reception. Read more about CodeFirst:Girls in our previous post Computer Science supports CodeFirst:Girls.




CodeFirst:Girls final presentations Fall 2015

Congratulations to our St Andrews Computer Science Code First Girls, for completing the Fall 2015 course and staging their final projects. Students are pictured presenting their diverse and ambitious projects to staff and students in the School. Presentations were followed by a cheese and wine reception. Prizes were awarded for overall winner to Kahina Le Louvier for MuZik4Kids and runner up to Lucy Sharp and Lucy Wallis for Amelia Florence. Well done to all. Read more about CodeFirst:Girls in our previous post Computer Science supports CodeFirst:Girls 2015.