I concluded a rather hectic, stressful, self-doubting week on a high note, with the Code First: Girls community at their Northern Conference.
I’ve mentioned this again and again on my blog and on social media (mainly because I get asked by different people all the time): how did I get involved with CFG? There’s a post for that! I outlined my story in last year’s CFG Conference that took place at Twitter in London.
The Northern Conference
It was great that CFG organised a conference up North to bring the community from the North of England together. Like the conference down in London, it was nice putting a face to names I’d seen floating around online, re-connect with those I’d met at last year’s conference and during the Vodafone event and introduce the Sheffield CFG (#shefcodefirst) girls to the incredibly empowering wider community.
The latter, I’m sure you’ll all know by now is something I love doing this so much because it isn’t just a course anymore, it’s a bigger thing that can have a huge impact in THEIR future. It’s honestly super rewarding to see and has been demonstrated time and time again like at our various squad trips to events like inspireWIT, Empowering women with Tech and various hackathons.
This was a highlight for me:
The way all the #shefcodefirst ladies are excited knowing what Atom and Slack are from @harri_etty‘s talk.
“Oh we know that! We do it at CFG!!” @Teeisms @nadia_zz
😭😭😭😭 SO PROUD#cfgnconf18 @CodeFirstGirls
— Pauline P. Narvas (@paulienuh) March 2, 2018
💻Workshops, panel talks and pitches
Despite arriving a little late because of the snowy weather, we managed to get as much out of the day as possible. Hearing a panel talk on Machine Learning – the current impact and the possibilities of Machine Learning in the future. Very interesting with some innovative ideas!
We also heard from various companies in the Northern area that are currently hiring for current students and graduates. There’s always a claim that there are “more jobs” in London but hearing from these huge companies (e.g. PwC, ThoughtWorks, Sparta Global) dismisses that completely!
I particularly felt encouraged by most of the companies stressing that you do not need to tick all the boxes because training on the job will teach you everything you need to know. The thing that is important is attitude and mindset. With this in mind (I’ll probably print this and stick it on my wall), I will be changing my approach to job applications! I can do it!! 💪🏼
🎤 On public speaking #4
What else made the conference awesome for me, you ask? Being invited to do a panel talk on personal development, of course! I said this on Instagram when it was announced, the lead up to the conference and after the conference (so I probably sound like a broken record) but I am so honoured for the opportunity.
I’ve always wanted to give a talk at a CFG event ever since I got involved in 2016 – I never really thought I would ever be speaking publicly let alone at a CFG event 🙈
As always, I like filming my public speaking gigs to get an idea of where I can improve and of course, to do my thing – document life! 😉 When I was editing the video, I found myself regretting not taking more footage during the day (time flew by) but I tried to show it all at the start. Thanking Code First: Girls’ camera crew that documented the day well – I’ll be updating this post when it’s up! 👀
Key notes from the panel:
- Your route into the tech field doesn’t have to be conventional (you don’t need a CS degree!)
- You can be part of the tech community (hey, CFG is a pretty awesome one to get involved in 😉) regardless of your background whether that’s education, race or gender. These communities welcome all! 💖
- Building an online presence/”brand” takes time. Enjoy the process! It’s fun! I haven’t “made it” yet (I never get what this really means, we’re always evolving to be better than yesterday, right?)
- Balancing personal and professional presence – I like to keep my online life all in one place, I think it gives a more realistic impression of what I’m like in real life instead of a perfect employable person that only tweets about conferences! (If you do this and prefer it that way, that’s fine. I just love the internet 😜)
- Do I share everything? No! I only share what “feels right” -I said on the panel, I think I’ve been doing this so long now that I sort of just know what to share and what not to post all over the internet. One rule that I stand by is: never share anything that may offend someone.
Although I am a positive person, I do like to share the “real” things because it’s not always rainbows although social media may make it look like that. I do this to possibly help someone who may be going through a similar situation – I know that relating helps me sometimes. (Example: mental health)
- My story of sparking interest in the digital world and tech, my Biomedical Sciences background, finding my community and the blogging world. If you’re interested, check out here and here
- Having a positive presence online can lead you to work! I share some stories on some recent freelance sucess.
- Don’t let people put you in rigid boxes. If you want to be x, y, z, you be x, y, z.
And onto segment: a-tweet-that-made-me-tear-up 😭💖:
You help us all to believe in the possibilities of pursuing tech no matter your subject area. Wishing you all the best for the last few months of studies! I’m staying tuned for your next great accomplishment!
— sohbaker [Bee] (@sohvisual) March 2, 2018
#CFGNConf18 in pictures
Thank you CFG ✨
Want to get involved either to take part in one of the Code First: Girls courses or join the team to help teach girls critical digital skills? Find out more here! Let’s close that gender gap 💪🏼
I write about this wonderful community a lot, here’s some posts I’ve written on Code First: Girls:
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