Code First Girls

DAZN and CodeFest 2021

Samantha Betts
Sep 16 · 6 min read

Code First Girls, the UK social enterprise working to close the gender gap in technology, announced at the start of the year new strategic partnerships with 14 leading global and UK corporations, including DAZN.

Each company has signed up to give women the fair advantage. This includes providing them with the tools and skills they need to excel in technology jobs, including software development and data. With Code First Girls, women are able to sign up to a range of free courses including:

Nanodegrees: Open by application and interview to high potential women, who want a career in data or software. Course includes Python, SQL and building end-to-end systems and at the end of the twelve week programme, candidates will have the chance to work with one of Code First Girls’ partner companies.
Classes: Designed to provide fundamental grounding in web development, python or data, across 50 universities and other locations across the UK. The course provides live demonstrations and application through in-class exercises. Learners build innovative tech projects to kick start their online developer portfolio.
Open online courses: Designed in short segments to impart technical skills, confidence or career discovery. They can be delivered for maximum social reach to women of all ages through social media platforms including YouTube.

DAZN recently sponsored 5 women to undergo the nanodegree programme, as well as providing continuous support through one on one mentoring with our own engineers, (Jade Ryan, Naomi Gaynor, Philip Loh, Oliver Nural, and Carrie Beesley).

We were very proud after the 12 weeks to see our students graduate and collect their nanodegree certificates on 10th September at CodeFest 2021!

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go along to CodeFest (a real in-person conference!). As someone who is relatively new in a Junior tech role myself, it was great to be at an event aimed at people like me who are either career switching, looking to get into the tech industry or just wanting to learn a new skill. The talks were informative, engaging and understandable! I particularly enjoyed the panel discussions, hearing from other women like me and how they built their careers in tech was really inspiring.

I have really enjoyed being a part of the Code First girls community over the past 7 months. Thanks to DAZN I had the opportunity to be part of a MOOC session (mass open online course) where I spoke about my own personal journey into tech. Shortly after that I took a web development course with CFG which I thoroughly enjoyed. I am really looking forward to getting involved more in the future and seeing all the exciting things to come from the CFG x DAZN partnership!

Big congratulations to our DAZN nonodegree graduates! We can’t wait to see the amazing things you'll do next!

DAZN has been so impressed by the calibre of talent they have seen working with Code First Girls that this has led to discussions around creating paid internship roles at DAZN for graduates!

It is great to be a part of this initiative and give women the fair advantage in tech!

Interested in applying for the nanodegree programme with Code First Girls? Here are some words from DAZN Mentor Naomi Gaynor (Software Engineering Team Lead) and DAZN Mentee Hawa Carregosa (recent nanodegree graduate!) on what they thought of the scheme:

What first inspired you to want to be a mentor/mentee for CFG?

Naomi: I first learnt about the tech industry through CFG, so when the opportunity arose to give back to their community, I jumped at it. I also remember how daunting and overwhelming it was to enter this space as a female software engineer and therefore I was really keen to help quash any of those anxieties.

Hawa: I was looking for a way to learn new tech skills, and the Engineering delivery manager on my team suggested Code First Girls as an option. Initially, I didn’t think I fit the criteria for the Nanodegree, so I was planning on doing the career switcher course. In the past I had never considered working in tech as I didn’t realise it was an option! After looking into the Nanodegree course, and with the support of my manager and team, I decided to take the plunge and apply! I haven’t looked back since!

What were your first thoughts when you met your mentor/mentee?

Naomi: I was really impressed with how motivated and focussed my mentee was. She picked up new skills really quickly and would do lots of research around different coding principles. We had lots of really engaging conversations about the inner workings of the industry, which I hope she found helpful.

Hawa: We had a lunch call to introduce us to our mentors, and when we first met our mentor group, we didn’t know who we would be paired with. All the mentors were very nice and answered all our questions. I was impressed with my mentor’s approach to the process and before our first one on one meeting, he sent me a comprehensive break down of the meeting structure.

How did you plan/structure your sessions?

Naomi: I let my mentee take the lead on how often we ran sessions and what we focussed on. It felt important to me to run it this way so that she was able to get what she wanted out of the sessions.

Hawa: My mentor set up an initial call to agree on the structure of our sessions. After that, we met once a week for 30 minutes to catch up on progress and discuss issues. We were also able to meet on an ad-hoc basis and pair programmed together a couple of times when I was struggling with advanced concepts. I am grateful that he was always available when I had questions.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about getting into tech or taking a course with CFG?

Naomi: If you have an interest in technology and problem solving, then I would say… GO FOR IT! The initial learning curve is pretty steep, but once you are over that hump it is one of the most rewarding careers you can do. Doing a course with CFG is a great place to start off because you will be surrounded by like minded peers who are all in the same stages of their learning, which can help you to keep your focus. Good luck!

Hawa: Take the first step and approach it as a series of small steps/goals that you want to achieve. Don’t be daunted by what may seem like massive obstacles, once you’ve gone past them and you look back you will realise they were smaller than they appeared. Surround yourself with a support network who will cheer you on and help you get past the days when you feel like giving up.

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