Changing the Face of Coding in the UK

Earlier this year our Head of EMEA Technology, Jo Hannaford, discussed the initiatives the firm is engaged in to encourage more women to consider engineering careers. During National Coding Week, we are focusing on how teaching young women to code early in their careers can open a world of opportunities for a new generation.

Coding is fundamental to what we do in engineering at Goldman Sachs, whether it’s building a feature for a website, creating a new app or writing machine learning algorithms.

As a firm, it’s important that we grow our pipeline of female technologists, and that’s why this year we have partnered with Code First: Girls, a social enterprise dedicated to teaching young women to code, for free. We are supporting the Code First: Girls 2020 campaign, an initiative which aims to teach 20,000 women between the ages of 18 and 23 to code by the end of 2020.

The free community courses are offered across the UK and instruct participants in introductory web development, and building websites and apps. Beyond expanding their technical ability, the courses have been rewarding personally and professionally. "I genuinely believe this course has been really beneficial in expanding my skill set and also as an extra social circle,” said one participant. “I now feel more confident in IT in general and have become better at paying attention to detail after realising the smallest mistake in coding can break the site."

Knowing the opportunities this can bring, the firm opened the programme to select Goldman Sachs women, giving those outside of traditional technological roles a chance to build their skills in this area—the third group will begin this autumn.

Kayte from our Human Capital Management Division said: “I’ve always been interested in coding, having experimented with designing websites as a hobby when I was at school. The opportunity to participate in Code First: Girls helped me refresh my skills and offered a network I didn’t have previously.  It opened my eyes to how the world of technology has changed. I’m now planning to make use of our internal resources to teach myself Python on the side!”

Our engineers have also engaged in teaching these courses and have found the partnership to be rewarding. Grant, a member of the IMD Technology team, said: “The initiative does an incredible job of giving young women a chance to start learning some of the most employable technology skills in a really approachable way. It helps dispel the myth that firstly only men can work in technology, and secondly that you have to have a computer science degree to have a chance of working in the industry.”

Applications for the programme are open until October 7th.  We look forward to welcoming the future women coders.