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From Anatomy to Algorithms: My journey into the tech industry

“Free Code First Girls coding course worth £10k+ for women and non-binary individuals leading to a certified Nanodegree and tech job opportunities”.


I sure was! After coming across the Code First Girls (CFG) Software Nanodegree, these facts presented a real opportunity for me to get into tech. Having always worked in the healthcare industry and being from a non-computer science background, I was initially conflicted. I let imposter syndrome take hold and began talking myself out of applying; Would it be too challenging? Do I have the right skills? Isn’t coding reaaaally hard?

Since 2012, CFG has taught over 50,000 women how to code. With studies estimating that women make up just 19% of the tech industry, it was refreshing to come across an organisation dedicated to closing the gender diversity gap in tech globally. After further research and being empowered by CFG’s mission, I saw the Nanodegree as a way to develop new skills and try out tech for real. I even found that, like me, 89% of the CFG community have no previous tech experience and 84% come from a non-computer science background. I started completing free online coding courses on Udacity and freecodecamp in my spare time, which helped me pass the Nanodegree coding assessment and subsequently be accepted onto their Autumn 2021 cohort.

The best bit

The online Nanodegree was intense: 2 hours, 4 evenings a week (Monday-Thursday) for 13-weeks. Dotted throughout were assessments and weekly homework, so if like me, you’re also working a full-time job outside of this, it’s quite the commitment! That being said, support and encouragement was always available from the cohort instructors. From learning the fundamentals of SQL and Python to more complex topics such as APIs and algorithm design, I loved every minute. Although at times certain topics took a *little* perseverance (please don’t ask me to explain what time-space complexity is just yet…), I loved how interesting and well-structured the course was. I especially enjoyed our group project to design a fitness-related app. Our instructors even said we should continue developing our app, add a paywall and get it consumer-facing (sooo…watch this space!). After months of hard work, I passed the Nanodegree, making all the effort and late evenings worthwhile.

How can you get involved?

If you’ve ever dismissed the idea of getting into tech for whatever reason, I strongly recommend that you don’t hesitate to apply to CFG to take your first steps. I’m so glad I did and didn’t dissuade myself from applying, despite the obvious opportunities presented. Had I done so, I wouldn’t now be enjoying a new tech job as a Cloud Engineering Analyst at one of the Big Four!

For more information on CFG, their website contains a bunch of alumni stories, each exploring a very different tech journey, and its incredibly supportive role in getting more women into tech jobs, often via sponsored partnerships. These include major organisations such as Goldman Sachs, NatWest and UK Government departments. Plus, it’s not only Nanodegrees on offer, with a whole host of career switcher courses, uni kickstarters and bitesize mini online coding sessions to pick from. Nanodegree applications for the summer 2022 cohort are also now open, so whether it's data, software or full-stack that takes your fancy, get involved - there’s something for everyone!

Alexandra Cook

Please feel free to get in touch via LinkedIn if you have any questions.


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