Coding is a computer programming language that helps to communicate with a computer. It tells the computer what to do, what action should be taken, and complete tasks performed by human beings. Nowadays, technology has increased so much that it hugely impacts our day-to-day lives.
Coding, software development, tech, business – all these spheres are inherently dominated by men. For instance, women make up just 21% of the UK’s tech industry and black women make up less than 3%. Needless to say, women have been facing additional hurdles in accessing opportunities and getting their voices heard, and that’s what Code First Girls is trying to address.
Code First Girls, a Social Enterprise is providing free coding courses to women and non-binary people across the UK. It helps bring women into the technological world and helps companies recruit more women into tech by connecting them with newly trained female developers. This startup is transforming tech by providing the skills, confidence and inspiration for women to become developers, data whizzes and future tech leaders.
Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, said, “At Code First Girls, our mission is to close the serious, long-term gender gap in the tech industry by giving women the opportunity to learn to code and get jobs in tech, at no cost to them. We’re growing at an incredibly fast pace, with businesses, government and universities across the country getting on board because they recognise we’ve found a model that works.”
Founded in 2013, by Alice Bentinck MBE and Matthew Clifford MBE, Code First Girls has become the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK. They work towards increasing the number of women in tech and entrepreneurship. In addition to the free coding lessons and events, the startup undertakes commercial work with some of the world’s most well-known companies. The free online courses will teach several different digital skills in short bursts, such as the fundamentals of web development, Python or data.
“Code First Girls is special because it’s practical. Our DNA is all about doing – providing young women with the practical skills, confidence, and community to break into the tech world and progress through it. It’s a privilege to continue being a bridge between organisations who are keen to improve diversity and women who want to be an active part of the tech sector,” says Alice.
The social enterprise partnerships with firms such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, KKR, OVHcloud and Trainline, help Code First Girls by providing customised training, hiring trainees and upskilling their employees through the social enterprise. Moreover, they also partner with about 50 universities in the UK to offer young women free coding courses.
Alongside free online courses, they also plan to put over 26k women through the ‘CFGdegree’ and place them into tech roles over the next five years, equating to billions in economic opportunities for women entering into the tech industry.
In a recent interview, Anna Brailsford proudly stated, “We’ve already taught 80,000 women to code for free, linking talent with jobs, and having recently 10xed our revenue and user base. Our next goal is to become the world’s first EdTech unicorn dedicated to women.”
- Noorain Sheikh