Every autumn and spring, we partner with Code First: Girls to offer free evening coding courses to young women and non-binary people with an interest in pursuing a career in technology. There’s a web development one for beginners and a Python one for experienced coders. This year, we were forced to go virtual for the first time. But that didn’t stop participants learning valuable new skills, with everyone saying they would recommend the courses to a friend.
The culmination of the two courses were exciting evenings where the teams showed their work and newly acquired skills to an experienced panel of judges from AWS, Unilever, Google and PA, who picked winning teams based on the websites and apps developed.
In the final weeks of the course, participants were split into teams who worked together to build a website from scratch. Every team created something impressive that demonstrated the effort, creativity and remote teamwork that went into it. But there always needs to be a winner and the judges chose an ingenious travel blog. What made it so special was that the team not only used advanced tools to create the website but used their ingenuity and creativity to design a great user experience.
One attendee highlighted the passion that went into the event and the satisfaction that everyone got out of it: “The event took quite a lot of thinking and organisation. Certainly, you don’t need to think about physical logistics, but there were rehearsals with the participants to make sure everyone was comfortable with the online tools. It was all worth it – we loved to see the motivation of the participants to keep learning and how engaged the judges were.”
The Python course applauded the great technical achievements in a totally different format. Each graduate submitted their work individually before the event. Judges from PA and Google, took the time to review the work, discuss it and select a winner before the evening started.
On the evening, Tanika Patel, a former course graduate who has since joined PA as a user researcher, spoke about her own route to a technology career. The event also involved a panel of PA and Google women talking about their experiences, challenges and motivations, giving tangible advice on how to pursue a career in tech. Google also provided a short version of their famous #IAmRemarkable workshops, which highlighted the importance of self-promotion and provided everyone with some tools and ideas to practice this skill.
Finally, we announced the winner, who had shown a great understanding of Python and went beyond the course curriculum by enriching her idea with additional tools.
One attendee said the event “was the best way to conclude and celebrate the effort and determination of all the Python graduates who had just finished a rather challenging eight-week learning journey.”
Applications for the autumn Web Development and Python courses will open in August, so if you know someone who would be interested in learning about HTML, CSS, Git, Bootstrap and Python, watch this space.