Transitioning into tech: Celebrating Code First Girls Summer Cohort

By Darcy Browne

Our Women in Tech network partnered with Code First Girls to sponsor 12 places on their 13-week CFGdegree. The degree is an intensive industry-aligned, free learning programme training women into career pathways in software, data, and full-stack web development. Our collaboration will play a significant role in the education and training of women in tech, whilst providing job opportunities and work experience at the end of the CFGdegree. 

Code First Girls has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK, having delivered over £60 million worth of free technology education, and teaching three times as many women to code as the entire UK university undergraduate system. We share a mission to reduce the gender diversity gap in tech by giving more women the opportunity to learn new skills and pursue careers in tech.

The CFGdegree is open to women who want to pursue a career in data, software, or as a full-stack developer at PA. Candidates have little to no technical background prior to completing the CFGDegree and will complete a seven-week foundation layer, followed by six weeks focused on their specialisation area. They also spend two weeks dedicated to coding practice and a reading week.

Upon successful completion of the CFGdegree, the candidates are onboarded to PA. The first two weeks are spent completing a range of onboarding activities, networking, and undertaking training sessions.

In September, we welcomed Jeyashuda and Eleanor to our team. Here, they share some more information on their experience of the CFG degree, transitioning into technology, and advice for other women doing the same.

Eleanor Crossey Malone: Full stack CFGdegree

What did you do before transitioning into tech?

At university, I studied music. My first job was working as a music tutor and teaching assistant in a primary school. I later joined the staff team at Libraries NI - the UK’s largest library authority – and worked in libraries in the Greater Belfast area for three years. It was during this time, that my desire to transition into a tech career tech grew. The aspects I enjoyed the most were sharing knowledge and helping others access technology. But what really drew me to a career in tech was the scope for learning new things and challenging myself. It’s a field where you can never truly say you know everything. There’s always innovation happening somewhere that you haven’t heard about yet. I This aligns with my own need to continuously learn and develop my skills.

What have you enjoyed and found the most challenging during the CFGdegree?

The three-month duration of the CFGdegree was intense and exciting in equal measure. I gained so much knowledge and practical experience in a short timeframe, plus gained an extremely supportive network of other women transitioning into tech who I’m still in touch with today. The pace at which the course moves, through so many different technologies, can seem daunting at times which was the biggest challenge. Especially since I was still working full time in my previous job. The experience overall was very rewarding and felt like a massive accomplishment, particularly the final project where I designed and built a full stack web application with my team.

What projects have you been involved in so far, and what advice would you give to other women looking to transition into tech?

I’ve been able to continue my learning at PA through independent training. I’m working towards the Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner certification and improving my Java skills by getting to grips with new tools and libraries. I enjoy being able to apply my knowledge and gain hands-on experience now that I have onboarded to a project.

My advice to others would be to try different things to figure out how you learn best and what you enjoy the most. There are many different options such as self-paced videos, text-based courses, or interactive courses led by instructors. Once you’ve found what works for you, persevere with it but remember to be kind and patient with yourself. You won’t get everything right on the first try but believe in yourself, because you can do it!

Jeyashuda Gunaseelan: Data CFGdegree

What did you do before transitioning into tech and what interested you the most?

I worked as a curriculum development co-ordinator at St George’s University of London before beginning my transition into tech. What interests me most about technology is the opportunity to work on diverse projects and learn how to use new technologies.

What have you enjoyed and found the most challenging during the CFGdegree?

The Full stack CFGDegree gave me the opportunity to network with other career switchers which made the experience not only more enjoyable, but less daunting. I was able to connect with others in a similar position. However, it’s still an intensive course requiring a commitment of eight hours per week which can be a challenge whilst working full-time elsewhere. Luckily, the course content is well designed, and the instructors are engaging which makes the experience thoroughly enjoyable.

What projects have you been involved in so far and what advice would you give to other women looking to transition into tech?

At PA, I have started undertaking interesting projects and tasks such as finding new ways to automate survey analysis and develop a proposal for mobile applications. As well as this, I joined the judging panel for the final competition for the WiT coding competition and volunteered to help at the school outreach programme workshop.

If you’re interested in tech but hesitant about making a big leap, try it out first. There are so many resources available to learn how to code and kickstart a career in technology like Udemy courses, FreeCodeCamp or look out for our next WiT Coding Course to connect with like-minded people.

About the authors

Darcy Browne PA people and change expert

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.