Code First Girls Teaches Tech Skills to Over 200,000 Women for Free

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Code First Girls, the largest provider of free coding education for women in the UK, has announced a significant milestone: teaching over 200,000 women to code.

In the past year alone, the organisation provided over 80,000 learning opportunities, a stark contrast to the 18,000 women who enrolled in Computer Science undergraduate degrees across the UK.

The UK tech sector faces a looming skills gap, with an estimated 3 million more professionals needed by 2025. Code First Girls addresses this challenge by tapping into a largely untapped talent pool, with 49% of its community comprising career switchers.

Partnership and Placement

Code First Girls collaborates with over 130 partners, including prominent companies like Sainsbury’s, GCHQ, Nike, and Activision Blizzard, to place women into various tech roles. These partnerships help build global talent pipelines, offering entry-level, mid-level, and upskilling programmes. The organisation supports partners in international markets, including Poland, Germany, the USA, Singapore, and India.

Women trained by Code First Girls are placed in roles such as AI Engineers, Cyber Security specialists, DevOps professionals, Software or Data Engineers, and Data Scientists. Recruiting women from non-technical backgrounds brings benefits such as creative problem-solving, performance improvements, and innovation across sectors.

Progress in Representation

The representation of women in the tech industry has seen a gradual increase: from 15% in 2020 to 19% in 2023. However, according to BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, it could take another 283 years for the percentage of women in the UK tech sector to match the 48% of women in the wider workforce if current trends continue.

Statements from Leaders

Anna Brailsford, CEO of Code First Girls, highlighted the organisation’s impact: “With women making up just a fifth of the tech industry, it’s clear the traditional model of coding education is failing to support women and people from more diverse backgrounds into tech. Code First Girls is helping to rectify this by partnering with businesses, government, and universities to provide employment through free education.”

Lorraine Barnes, Consulting Partner at Deloitte, emphasised the importance of diversity: “An inclusive culture attracts top talent, enables innovation, and provides high-quality service for our clients. Finding, inspiring, and developing top female talent is hugely important. Collaborating with organisations like Code First Girls has helped us unlock opportunities for women to support our clients and thrive in their careers at Deloitte.”

Chris Williamson, Domain Owner of Mobile & Payments at TUI, noted the challenge and potential of gender diversity: “Gender diversity in technology is still a real challenge. Diverse teams perform better, deliver greater innovation, and bring differing viewpoints to address challenges. I’m very excited about what we can achieve through our partnership with Code First Girls to bring more females into travel technology.”

George Parry, Director of CTOO Talent Acquisition at Credit Suisse, praised the partnership: “Code First Girls provides women from non-technical backgrounds the skills, confidence, and inspiration to become software or data engineers and future tech leaders. Partnering with Code First Girls allows us to create our own talent pipeline, bringing in new perspectives and innovative thinking into our technology department.”