Code First: Girls Annual Conference 2016 @ Twitter HQ

We hope you were able to make it to yet another fantastic conference by Code First: Girls. If not, we’ve got this fantastic write up for you to find out what went on.

The mission of Code First: Girls is to inspire more women to enter into technology and entrepreneurship. ​

Whether you’re looking to become a developer, want to work in startups, a big tech company or just want to see whether it could be for you, the conference gave an insight into the amazing developments happening in technology, as well as information on how to break your way in.

In this spirit, the day featured a number of impressive industry speakers. There were also pitches from companies who are actively seeking more women in tech.

The agenda

It was an action-packed day with motivational speeches, insightful panel discussions, illuminating tech talks, as well as networking and a chance to hear from tech companies about what they look for in candidates. ​

Many industry greats were there, including representatives from Twitter, Tesco, WorldPay, Shazam, Improbable, News UK, ThoughtWorks, the Ministry of Defence, BlaBlaCar, The Guardian, and PwC, among many others.

Luciana Carvalho, founder of SE Solutions, talked about narratives of self in Virtual Reality and how VR can change people’s lives outside of games. She touched on VR’s power to create empathy for others.

Heather Lauren of Founders & Coders talked to attendees about how to get their first job in tech.

Makis Otman & Daisy Molving from 8th Light gave a talk on "The Elixir of Joy", introducing beginners to Elixir as a great programming language to learn.

Big players in finance discussed the future of money in relation to tech.

Technology - a Ticking Timebomb?

Several speakers, including Eleanor Harding from Twitter, Ben Aung from the Cabinet Office, and Sophie Caley from Tesco Labs, participated in a panel about "Technology - a Ticking Timebomb?". It was moderated by Kirsty Styles from Tech North.

Discussions included how the most shared story during the Trump/Clinton elections was a fake news article. This raised questions about the responsibility of technology companies to promote the truth.

The issue of consent and technology being so widespread means we could be doing more to ensure people have given their permission to become users.

We’re so dependent on technology, that a power outage across the United States resulted in lots of people being unable to live their lives properly for a couple of days.

On the other hand, technology enables freedom of speech, and the better the technology becomes, the more invisible it feels.

Technology will change how the government legislates, and is already enabling collaboration between civil servants across the country. This results in better laws and more efficiency.

Above all, “Let technology take you closer to where you want to be,” says Eleanor Harding from Twitter.

Jade Daubney from ThoughtWorks

Jade Daubney from ThoughtWorks advises everyone to develop their self belief.

“This is your turn to do what you want to do, and learn how to be a woman in tech who’s brave enough and strong enough to follow her own path,” Jade says. “Every month, 36 new roles appear in technology.”

She talked in depth about how to start your career in tech. She recommends building your network by attending conferences and meetups like this one.

“Networking is not schmoozing. It’s finding a connection and someone you can trust. It’s not about you - it’s about them. The most important thing about networking is finding common interests.”

Great advice!

What’s holding you back

Good Girl Syndrome is where women are afraid to rock the boat at work. Now, with the gender pay gap, from now until the end of the year, women are working for free.

Jade recommends speaking up at work if you think something should change.

When it comes to getting a job, don’t underestimate the power of the cover letter. It should add something different to your application to your CV and provide an insight into the type of person you are. If you’ve attended other tech-related activities, like hackathons, include these on your CV too!

Imposter Syndrome is also common in women. No matter how much you achieve, you still feel unqualified. Women are too apologetic about their achievements and they need to embrace bragging more.

To get over Imposter Syndrome, ask someone to look at your CV before you send it anywhere to check you’re not underselling yourself. If you’re invited to do something, remind yourself that you are good enough!

Actually talk about your fears to other people, which will lessen their power.

Jade reminds us, “The best things happen outside your comfort zone.”

Code First: Girls

Code First: Girls was founded by Alice Bentinck after she noticed that the majority of applications to her Entrepreneur First initiative were from male applicants. She wanted to change this, and Code First: Girls was born.

Code First: Girls offers free coding lessons to female students at universities across the country, entirely staffed by volunteers. They’ve also now branched into paid courses for professional women.

As always, after the event you left with a feeling of empowerment, inspired to go on to become the next great woman in tech.

The day was hosted at Twitter Headquarters in London and supported by many kind sponsors, including ThoughtWorks, Tesco Technology, WorldPay and Shazam.

Don’t worry if you missed it. They have loads of events on throughout the year which you can find listed on their website.

Check out the hashtag from the day, and the Periscope live stream of the talks.

From Twitter...

Written by...

Catherine Heath

​She has a thing for psychology, diversity, tech and startups​, and is l​earning to code. She gives valuable insight into the women in tech scene on her website, Away With Words, and shares tips for success and self-development. Connect with Catherine on Twitter or LinkedIn.