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Caitlin Moran, Girls in Coding & the Future Workforce

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This is a guest post from Sinead Bunting, Marketing Director at Monster and organiser of tomorrow evening’s Girls in Coding: How they will be critical to female roles in the future workforce event, being held at Skills Matter. The event is free though tickets are limited, so book now!


I used to be a bit of a blogger, and enjoyed nothing more, than regularly posting a good cathartic piece of my mind at the industry blog; Digitalrecruiting.co.uk. But I stopped contributing about three years ago. Having moved media/solution side, I felt my thoughts wouldn’t be viewed as being as objective as perhaps they once were. Also, maybe nothing got me fired up enough to bother putting my tuppence worth out there in the blogosphere. Yet here I am today, fired up and ready to go!

So, What Happened?

In July last year I went to see Caitlin Moran launch her new book, How to Build a Girl in Union Chapel, Islington, London. I was pretty excited; I’m a big fan of Caitlin and I was also about to go on holiday to France, so was looking forward to a bit of downtime and a break from all things work.

That night however, rather un-expectantly, Caitlin said something that got me thinking all about work!

She said something that was so fundamentally important to the future of the workforce that I immediately thought to myself, ‘something has to be done about this’ and Monster and its mission of helping folks ‘Find Better’ in their career and its strength in connecting tech talent, has some role to play here…

This is what Caitlin said:

“If 90% of coders are men, developing and owning the language of the future, women won’t be part of the conversation”

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This hit me like a bolt of lightning – well perhaps a slight exaggeration – but it did really hit home. I was worried. Whilst there is still some way to go in terms of true equality, whether it’s in equal pay or the low percentage of women in senior management positions, females have made some significant strides in the UK workforce in recent years. This has been to the benefit of all concerned with reports showing that companies who have more women on their boards and in their senior management teams aren’t just ‘doing the right thing’, they are generating greater profit. The prospect of this gender equality progress unravelling, due to females not being sufficiently skilled in tech to converse in a world where all things tech prevail, is hugely concerning. It’s also the wrong direction to go in for a stronger, fairer and more successful society. As Hilary Clinton stated last month at a conference for women in Silicon Valley; “We’re going backward in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward”.

Girls in Coding and the Future Workforce

Intuitively, the solution seems pretty clear; we need to show girls that a career in coding can be hugely interesting, rewarding and that coding and technology are fundamental skillsets required for any industry or role they hope to pursue in the future. Additionally we need to enable girls to learn these skills and also up-skill females (and males) who are currently in the workforce. So, by no means an easy or simple task. This is further compounded by worrying retention rates of women current working in tech, who are leaving the industry due to a chauvinist culture and female-unfriendly working environment. If we are building a pipeline of female tech talent but it goes into an environment that’s not accessible or sustainable, we have a ‘leaky bucket’ effect, which does not solve issues in the long-term.

The good news is that contrary to popular opinion, girls and women actually quite like technology with recent reports showing that there are now more women than men gamers in the UK. Having spoken to numerous women in and around the area of technology and ‘women in tech’ in last month or so, there is some fantastic work and initiatives already being done it this area. There is such an appetite and passion to help girls and women get into technology that the future is incredibly promising.

Next Steps – Working Together

Our goal at Monster is to raise awareness of the issue amongst talent acquisition and HR professionals and to show both current and future candidates the importance of coding skills in current and future careers.

Our first step towards raising awareness is to host a Monster #TechTalent event on April the 16th at Skills Matter eXchange, London: Girls in Coding: How they will be critical to female roles in the future workforce.

The event will consist of a series of interactive panel discussions with leading figures in this space discussing issues around the long, mid and shorter term areas and possible solutions to help girls get into coding and women into technology.

The event is open to all parties, and of course both genders.

The following panellists have been confirmed:

  • Amali de Alwis, CEO and Executive Board, Code First: Girls
  • Ruth Nicholls, Managing Director, Young Rewired State
  • Amelia Humfress, Founder and CEO, Steer
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, Founder, STEMettes
  • Marily Nika, Co-ambassador, London Geekettes
  • Debbie Forster, UK Managing Director, CDI Apps for Good
  • Gina Jackson, Managing Director, Next Gen Skills Academy
  • Graeme Goulden, Senior Product Lead, Monster Worldwide
  • Alexa Glick, Global Diversity Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Wendy Devolder, CEO, Skills Matter

Role Models

Additionally, what we know is that ‘people buy people’ and girls are hugely influenced by roles models and their peer group. Monster is working with the London Met Film School to film a selection of women in tech, as role models to show girls just how rewarding and successful a career in and around technology can be. We will be distributing this content online with the aim of influencing not only girls but their parents who as gatekeepers are hugely influential when it comes to subject and career choice.

Plug the Digital skills Gap & Fuel Economic Growth

It’s estimated that the UK requires an additional 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017and 77% of firms within Tech City in London say they could grow faster if they had access to better skilled digital staff. All too many studies highlight that in tech, its men who are leading the way in this crucial aspect of the workforce. To ensure we meet this tech talent challenge, plug the digital skills gap, as well as develop tech that meets the needs and requirements of both genders, this needs to change.

Having spoken to many industry figures and women in technology in the last few months, it’s fantastic to know that there are many great initiatives and passionate professionals out there wanting to and already making a difference in this key area. We’re looking forward to marking the start of our Girls In Coding campaign with our upcoming event and believe that, by raising further awareness of the issue amongst the HR and talent acquisition community, we can work collaboratively to really make a difference to the amount of girls and women considering coding as an exciting and rewarding career option.

Watch this space…..


For more information on the Girls in Coding: How they will be critical to female roles in the future workforce event, or to register, click here.

 

This Week at Skills Matter: 11th November – 15th November

Here’s what’s coming up at Skills Matter this week!

Monday:

The London Ruby User Group November meet-up wilandrewnesbittl have two talks, the first from Andrew Nesbitt on ‘Controlling Robots with Ruby’ where he will look at one particular Ruby library – Artoo. The second is by Tom Cartwright on ‘How to Parse ’Go’.

We also have The London Big-O November meet-up. Two talks will take place in this session, one by John Graham-Cumming on ‘Rolling Hashes and Compression Algorithms’, John will talk about some of the uses of rolling hashes for string comparison and compression focussing on the rsync protocol, a spam filter, and a delta compression technique. The second will be from Jose Llarena on ‘Mixture of Markoc Chains’. Jose will describe the representation of Mixture of Markov Chains as a graphical model and much more.

Tuesday:

The London Ajax User Group will be in Tuesday for their November meet-up. Why not come and catch up on all the latest LAUG news?

Vaughn Vernon will be talking at our first In The Brain session of the week, this talk ‘Reactive DDD with Scala and Akka’ is not to be missed. Vaughn will be exploring the vaughn_vernonuse of the Actor Model with DDD. He will explain how the basic ideas of the Actor Model and DDD can greatly simplify our ability to comprehend and use concurrency and distribution.

The second In The Brain session will be held by Jon Jagger with a talk on ‘Rethinking Kanban’. Another fabulous talk not to be missed, Jon is a renowned software coach/consultant/mentor/trainer/programmer and all round Agile expert. There is much to learn from him!

Wednesday:

Wednesday welcomes the London Scala User Group. They will be treated to a talk from Patrick Wendell who will introduce Apache Spark – ‘Spark, Scala, and the Berkeley Data Analytics Stack.’



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Friday Round Up: 4th November – 8th November

It’s been a quiet week in the line of conferences but we’ve had a very busy week here at Skills Matter hosting nine free events with our community. These included three In The Brain sessions and six User Group meet-ups all receiving positive feedback and marvellous turnouts! These events wouldn’t be what they are without our community so we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the attending delegates and speakers for learning and sharing at Skills Matter this week.

This week in SkillsCasts:

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Monday saw the arrival of the London Java Community with a talk from Martijn Verburg and Richard Warburton ‘The Bleeding Edge’ where they spoke about what happens to your technology stack if you’re willing to take a risk. Martijn and Richard work together at jClarity and are running production systems using Html 5, Angular.js, vertx, Mongo, groovy and are deploying using chef. They explained how it has been an interesting ride: how some things worked really well and how some things didn’t. They also explained how they ended up with such a diverse stack and how to make technology choices in a fairer way.

Infracoders London were also in for their November meet-up with an interesting talk on ‘A Journey of Windows Infrastructure Automation At thetrainline.com’ – a brief history, where it started, what’s happening now and where it’s heading using Chef, VMWare, power-shell plus a few other tools.

The London Clojurians had three separate lightening talks from the speakers, Henry Garner, Kris Jenkins and Jamie Brandon. This is definitely one to catch up on!

Oren Eini (aka Ayende Rahien) graced us with a first-rate In The Brain session, with a talk on ‘The DB Disassembly Kit’. Oren went into the details that make up the different components in a database, how they are put together and what the different design choices you have for each component, and how they work together.

Our second In The Brain session of the week was from Susanne Madsen who spoke about ‘Project Leadership: Are we too busy with the urgent to focus on the important?’ A very interesting and relevant talk – worth a watch if you missed out!

The London Pyramid Group had two awesome talks, the first from Jon Staley who gave a quick intro to Deform & Colander and spoke about how you can wrangle them into doing what you want. The second from Riley Doyle who covered key lessons learned in building an advanced ‘DNA Search Engine’ with Pyramid.

The London Lua had a talk on ‘Lua & Corona SDK – Cross platform mobile game development’ for their November meet-up. This talk is great for anyone interested in a basic beginners guide to getting started with indie game development in Corona and Lua…

The final In The Brain session was with Ian Plosker who spoke about The Triumph of Simplicity: how database complexity will be replaced by simple services. He discussed why the level of complexity in storing and querying data has exploded and how database software eventually will be overrun by simple services. The Skillscast to this talk will be available in two weeks.

Next week at Skills Matter:
Monday – The London Big-O November meet-upLondon Ruby User Group November meet-upLondon AJAX User Group November meet-up

Tuesday – In The Brain of Vaughn VernonIn The Brain of Jon Jagger

Wednesday – London Scala User Group November meet-up


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This Week at Skills Matter: 4th November – 8th November

Here’s what’s coming up at Skills Matter this week!

Monday:

Infracoders London will be joining us at Skills Matter HQ for their November meet-up with a talk on ‘A Journey of Windows Infrastructure Automation At thetrainline.com’ – a brief history, where it started, what’s happening now and where it’s heading using Chef, VMWare, power-shell plus a few other tools.

Also on Monday Richard Warburton and Martijn Verburg will be giving a talk on ‘Bleeding Edge’ at the London Java Community November meet-up. Talking about what happens to your technology stack if you’re willing to take a risk?

Tuesday:

On Tuesday Skills Matter will be hosting the London Clojurians November meet-up where they will have three lightening talks from Henry Garner, Kris Jenkins and Jamie Brandon.

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We will also host Oren Eini, aka Ayende Rahien, for an In The Brain talk about ‘The DB Disassembly Kit’, going into the details that actually make up the different components in a database, how they are put together and much more!
Finally we will host the London .Net User Group Meet-up where they will have a talk from Gael Fraiteur on ‘Multithreading Design Patterns’. Some things Gael will talk about include: characteristics of a threading model, enforcement and automation of threading model and why do we need threading models?

Wednesday:

 The London Pyramid Group will have their November meet-up with talks from Jon Staley on ‘King Forms’ – a quick intro to Deforem & Colander and how he wrangled them to do what he wanted, and Riley Doyle on ‘From the Script to Web’ – covering key lessons learned in building an advanced ‘DNA search engine’ with Pyramid.

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We will also have another In The Brain session with Susanne Madsen who will be talking about ‘Project Leadership: Are we too busy with the urgent to focus on the important?’. Susanne has years of experience running high-profile IT projects and is a qualified corporate and executive coach – this talk is not to be missed!

Thursday:

London Lua will have a talk on ‘Lua & Corona SDK – Cross platform mobile game development’ for their November meet-up.

The final In the Brain of the week will be with Ian Plosker who will be talking about ‘The Triumph of Simplicity: how database complexity will be replaced by simple services’. Ian will be discussing why the level of complexity in storing and querying data has exploded and discuss how database software eventually will be overrun by simple services.



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Friday Round Up: 28th October – 1st November

What an incredibly jammed packed week/weekend we’ve had at Skills Matter! Not only was Droidcon and its Hackathon weekend a massive success but we also hosted another two, yes two amazing conferences; The first ever Gradle eXchange and Prog F# Tutorials.

Droidcon was huge! Held at the Business Design Centre in Angel over two floors with five separate rooms for talks and a fabulous gallery where everyone could collect super swag from all our sponsors! Not only did we have talks from the likes of Dr Chris Bridges, Al Sutton, Ken Blakeslee and Hans Dockter but we also welcomed the Seraku mirror – the first Android developed interactive mirror from Japan! The fun continued over the weekend at Skills Matter HQ for a 24hr Hackerthon, with the winners winning lots of great prizes. See all the SkillsCast (film/slides/code) for this awesome event here: Droidcon 2013.

Droidcon

There was no rest for the wicked; we didn’t even let the storm stop us! After those four incredible days we then went on to host the first ever Gradle eXchange. Hans Dockter the founder of Gradle itself gave a wonderful keynote followed by talks from Luke Daley, Peter Niederwieser and many more!

Wednesday we hosted the London Python User Group October meet-up, with Ian Ozsvald & Bart Baddeley who gave a talk on ‘Introducing Python for Data Science’. Ian & Bart demoed four areas of data science using Python. We also hosted Neo4J User Group’s October meet-up who had interesting talks on ‘Using graphs for source code analyses by Raoul-Gabriel Urma and ‘Neo4j in a proprietary embedded JVM’ Nat Pryce.

Finally on Thursday and Friday we had Prog F# Tutorials with the likes of Rachel Reese, Phil Trelford, Matt Moloney, Robert Pickering, Simon Cousins and many more giving hands on sessions, and Jon Harrop giving a great keynote talk!

This has been a absolutly fantastic week of learning and sharing, we would like to thank everybody that has attended or contributed to any of these events. All the SkillsCast (film/slides/code) from each event can be found on our website (except Prog F# due to its hands on nature). Once again THANK YOU!


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