Code First: Girls initiative hoping to make its mark at Dublin event

UK-based organisation aims to encourage more young women to join tech industry

Code First: Girls’s first  event in Dublin is taking place on Thursday, as part of the “Hack Your Career” series of talks.  Photograph: Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

Code First: Girls’s first event in Dublin is taking place on Thursday, as part of the “Hack Your Career” series of talks. Photograph: Sally Anscombe/Getty Images

 

A new initiative aimed at getting women interested in coding is hoping to make its mark in Ireland.

Code First: Girls is a UK-based organisation that works with companies and young, professional women to address the gender imbalance in the tech industry. Its ultimate aim is to encourage more women to join the tech industry or engage in entrepreneurship, tackling it with a mix of free community courses and events.

Its first event in Dublin is taking place on Thursday, as part of the “Hack Your Career” series of talks. The event, which is taking place in Bank of America Merill Lynch’s Dublin city centre offices, proved so popular that Code First: Girls programmes manager Charlotte Fereday said they had to open up a waiting list. Interest was “impressive” she said, considering Code First: Girls is not widely known in Ireland.

Community courses

“It’s the first of many to run in Dublin,” she said. “It’s very powerful for women to be part of a like-minded community of women. It’s more fun when you are in a group of like-minded people.”

The Code First: Girls target age group is 18-25, but women outside that cohort can also take part. Its community courses are aimed at third-level students or those who have recently graduated, while its professional courses focus on those in the workplace. The organisation has delivered £1.5 million in free education to women in the United Kingdom, and it achieves that through a mix of corporate support and volunteers.

In Ireland, the organisation has begun delivering courses. Code First: Girls is currently running a course with Dublin Institute of Technology that is open to all women, not just students of the college.

Ms Fereday said the ultimate aim for Ireland was to run more courses in different locations and with other Irish educational partners, with the ultimate aim of opening up the possibility of careers in the tech industry, or gaining a better understanding of digital elements that can be used in their careers.

“Demystifying the process is also a big part of it,” she said. “Very few people have a linear career in technology.”