CodeFest is a huge, annual conference hosted by Code First Girls, which provides women with tech talks, career booster sessions and networking. I won an award at CodeFest 2020 last year, but this year, we were back in person!
I was invited to speak at Day 2 about my experience interning at Rolls-Royce’s AI Innovation Hub (R2 Data Labs), and how women can kickstart their careers in the technology industry.
This was my first-ever tech panel, so I thought I’d write up what my day looked like.
Welcome to my day at CodeFest 2021!
7.00am: Wake up, have a coffee, and re-read the panel brief from CFG. Mentally gear up for the trek to Canary Wharf from South London.
8.45am: The Jubilee line is magic, isn’t it? I check in to the awesome Level39 – a collaboration space for leading tech startups and talent. I’d love to meet more people in the startup world, so I’m pretty excited to be here.
9.00am: Set up for a morning of calls with my startup team at Ocula Technologies, including our daily stand up and a meeting with our engineering team to discuss our backlog. I nab a seat next to the window, and have maybe the best Zoom background of my career to date (see below).
12.00am: Time to meet my co-panelists! I had an amazing time interning at Rolls-Royce earlier this year, and worked with the brilliant Caroline, Manisha and Rebecca. Even though we worked together for 5 months, this will actually be my first time meeting my ex-colleagues in person. Off Zoom, Rebecca & I realise that we are both… tall. We catch up over lunch and get ready to take the stage.
12:40pm: We join the CEO of Code First Girls, Anna Brailsford, on stage. We’re live-streaming the conversation, but I hadn’t realised that we also had a live audience of over 100 women from the community. I also haven’t used a hand-held mic before! We had a great time talking about our careers and experiences, and enjoy a Q&A with the audience.
1.20pm: Just like that, my first panel is done! This was so fun, and I’d love to do more tech events in future. I catch up with a couple of attendees and make a note to watch back some of the earlier talks on catch-up.
1.30pm: There are some great talks lined up for the afternoon for the community, but for me, it’s back to work. Rebecca & I co-work and enjoy the awesome views over the city. I put on the CFG Day 2 livestream in the background.
3pm: Whilst I’m 5-tabs-deep trying to figure something out in Jira, a CFG community member comes over and says she was one of my Python class students back in February, and now works in tech! Awesome. I drop my co-instructors a text to let them know.
5pm: After working through my board, it’s time to call it a day – I thank the CFG team for a great day and head to central for a celebratory drink with the panel.
So, that was my day! Here were 3 things I learned:
- Building communities exists online and offline. I ran into at least 5 people in-person during CodeFest that I knew through CFG, GirlCode, or other volunteering initiatives that I’m involved in.
- We are all working towards the same vision. The variety of talks and speakers all centred around the question of how we build for the future in a way that includes everyone – awesome.
- In speaking up, you affect more people than you realise! I didn’t expect such a great reaction to our panel, and it made me realise the importance of speaking up and sharing our experiences.
I had no idea what to expect from the day, but now I can safely say that I’m looking forward to my next community event already.
You can watch Code Fest Day 2: Career Booster here. I’ll also be doing a write up of some of my favourite parts of our panel!