5 Reasons you should learn to code
with Code First: Girls

by Pauline on September 22nd 2017

Today I’m collaborating with newly-recruited fellow Code First: Girls Ambassador Lakshika to showcase how awesome Code First: Girls a coding community course is!

Just in case you don’t know, Code First: Girls is a not-for-profit organisation that works hard to get more women into tech and entrepreneurship. I’ve been volunteering in helping out with the organisation and delivery of the courses here in Sheffield for the last two years! You can read my other posts about CF:G here.

Code First: Girls Spring 2017


An intro by Lakshika Awesome (yes, that’s her real name)

This year I have been given the opportunity to be a part of the CF:G. Wonder squad as a Student Ambassador. I shall be partnering up with the wonderful Pauline as her apprentice to help deliver a productive CF:G experience to the onboarding team.

My CF:G history began in February 2017 when I was given a chance to learn Advanced Programming in Python. My CF:G voyage comprised of the extremely proactive student ambassadors Pauline and Sophia, Sensei Tania and Sensei Darren, 30 beautiful wonder women all from diverse principals of study and an enlightening coding experience.

As a result I’ve become a more confident programmer.

And to continue being a part of this coding family, I decided to become the Robin to Pauline’s Batman and continue ameliorating my skills throughout this year.

Welcoming Lakshika!


1) πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ’» You are exposed to up-to-date programming tools and gain in-demand coding knowledge

Prior to learning Python programming with CF:G, I have had a good enough experience programming with C and C++. The unfortunate part is, I had no idea about tools such as GitHub, Heroku etc.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, β€œIf I had 6 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 4 hours sharpening my axe.” All of us wish to be good programmers but it’s in the way that we use the resources available to us is what seals the deal.

Tania and Darren were instrumental in teaching me good coding practices which I had failed to learn throughout my 2 years of coding experience.

– Lakshika

2) πŸ‘― A diverse learning experience

All the women who were learning to code alongside me resulted in being my muses.

The sole reason, their epic minds generated epic ideas resulting in epic end course projects ranging from developing an app that could generate recipes out of the leftover ingredients in your pantry to using the data generated in twitter to list out similar trends.

I ended up making a game but the diversity in the projects influenced me in my future endeavours.

– Lakshika

3) 🌠 All our instructors have had a taste of fame

… from the Code First: Girls monthly newsletter. πŸ˜†

All the wonderful instructors who have taken the effort to deliver these sessions from their free time and deliver them well have all been nominated as the instructor of the month!

πŸ”Ž Click image for a closer look!

Talk about incredibly talented, dedicated (just like those Git commits) and overall dream team, right?

They’re also fun to work with and funny. Sometimes.

No, Darren, I’m not getting over this.

…also we have some rockin’ alumni:

– Pauline

4) πŸ• We recharge our brains over pizza

You’ll get fed pizza (the best way to recharge!) at our social where you can continue talking about everything you’re learning in the course and get to know the other girls from each course.

Sometimes we have quizzes (questions ranging from coding to movies to Taylor Swift trivia) and you can earn prizes (i.e. mostly the chocolate I need to stay away from)

CFG AW pizza social!

– Pauline

5) ⚑️ You become part of a bigger community

In addition to being part of the wonderful Code First: Girls community, we invite special guests from the hackathon scene and wider women in tech community to talk to you about how valuable the skills you get from the course are, what you can do with it in terms of providing value in future careers and/or events like hackathons.

Some examples of guests we’ve had in the past include:

Kisha Bradley

Working with some of these amazing people, we have organised group trips to conferences and events. For example, last year we went to Nottingham and Leeds for women in tech events!

Empowering Women with Tech, Leeds

Women in Tech conference with HackSheffield

We even took some to their first hackathon with MedTech Sheffield!

– Pauline


Sound awesome? Join in!

Coding is such a valuable skill to have especially in this highly evolving society – get involved and sharpen up your skills but also connect with the amazing people in this community!

Code First: Girls at The University of Sheffield is back again running for the third year in a row! Applications are now open:

HTML/CSS: Applications close on 10th October https://codefirstgirls.typeform.com/to/xiWT9H
Python: Applications close on 4th October https://codefirstgirls.typeform.com/to/KgePnI

We hope to see you there! Don’t forget to share your excitement with us at #shefcodefirst.

Not in Sheffield? Don’t worry!

CF:G also runs across the UK – have a look to see if your University is listed here.

Or alternatively…

If you can’t attend these courses, you can always teach yourself. There’s plenty of resources online where you can get started…

Check out a full list of resources here.


Posted under: Code First: Girls, Tech, Women Empowerment


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9 comments

  1. Eena says:

    This is so exciting, Pauline! It’s nice to see someone so passionate about stuff like coding for women. Thanks for the online resources because I’m definitely gonna be needing those for future references.

    ☼ cabin twenty-four

  2. Shanae says:

    Wow, Pauline! That looks amazing! Despite the fact I couldn’t hack in it an IT program in college doesn’t mean I have no fondness for it anymore, and this seems like an amazing way to not only get women everywhere together to meet, but it is also helping to break a stigma that seems to be ever-prevalent that women can’t do IT.

    I’ve always enjoyed your posts about your get togethers and info sessions, because not only is it something you’re incredibly passionate about, but it’s a passion you want to share with others. I’ve never heard of CF:G but I will definitely be checking them out!

  3. Etta says:

    That is very kind of you to share your experience with this. Obviously I could not participate due to the fact that I do not live in the UK. That being said, knowing how to code is one of the skills that will put you ahead of peers, so keep fighting the good fight, girl! πŸ™‚

    I also appreciate the alternative link to those who cannot participate in person, but can still learn by themselves.

  4. Always loving this!! It makes me so freaking happy to see badass chicks kicking ass and taking names in the tech field. I hope to be able to take this course (or one like it) someday!

    Susie | http://milehighdreamers.com

  5. Adrianne says:

    Whew, I have returned from vacation LOL.

    I’m always enjoying your posts about CF:G, whether here or on Facebook. A lot of your activities remind me a lot of the two groups that I’m part of here in the Bay Area: GDI SF/OAK/SJ (Girl Develop It! San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose) and WWC (Women Who Code). Sadly I barely have any time to visit my meetups to meet up with the ladies, so I do take the time learning and catching up online myself. Thank you for the inspiring intro coming from a fellow member whose name is not Pauline LOL. XD

    And, this is for those living in the US – go to Meetup and look for a GDI (Girl Develop It!) located in your local area. Also, for everyone around the world (US, UK, etc.) , look for WWC (Women Who Code) chapter near your area. Both organizations also teach classes and hold seminars with special guest speakers like CF:G, except they’re for all ages (students, unemployed, those who want to change careers, those who are already in the tech field, retired). There are also some bootcamp programs that are tuition-waived until you get a job in the field (there’s one in my area – Learners Guild – but I haven’t really decided yet). I know that sometimes learning through tutorials and videos and other online platforms can be overwhelming for some, and would need to be in an in-person class, so I’m throwing a few options to those who may be interested. πŸ™‚

  6. Hiro says:

    This sounds sooo cool and empowering. I’ve been looking for a community like this in NYC for beginner (but ambitious!) coders-to-be to help us learn the basics and get into the big scary coding world. I’m sure it’s out there, but I haven’t found one that seems easily accessible yet. I hope to soon, though. Even having a twitter-cohort of #100DaysOfCode is great.
    It’s awesome you’re sooo engaged with these things. I bet even when you get out of college, you’re gonna continue these programs to help ya girls out. πŸ˜‰

  7. Chynna says:

    I really wish I attended something like this when I went to uni! Maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but I’m pretty sure my uni didn’t have anything like this!

    Nevertheless, this is amazing and I love that you’re showing girls that you can being doing any kind of degree and still get into coding!

    Thanks for posting this – I LOVE IT!

  8. Amy says:

    This looks like such an amazing course. I wish I was still at university!

    I’m still trying to learn to code on my own, but it’s really hard to motivate myself to do it. I think courses are much better because you have to do something while you’re there. Plus it’s a much more motivating to be learning with other people.

    Keep up the good work, Pauline!