Attendee Spotlight – Joanne Clayton

In 2016, CodeUp UK Founder Claire Dodd ran two coding workshop’s at MadLab for International Women’s Day. This year, we found out that one attendee went on to become an associate developer! Here’s her story:

International Women’s Day: Programming 101

On International Women’s Day (March) 2016, I attended my very first coding workshop at MadLab in Manchester. The workshop was called Programming 101 and was aimed at giving women a taster of coding.

My reason for attending the workshop was that I wanted to know whether or not I should begin re-training to get into the tech industry.

After 15 years working in a non-tech industry, my main motivations were to upskill in an area of work that is sustainable, pays well and offers lots of opportunity, especially for me as a mother. After watching my partner build a successful career in tech, I realised that it is an industry that is booming. It also seems to be currently one of the quickest and cheapest industries to re-train into.

The workshop gave me an introduction to Python but also to a few basic programming concepts such as variables, constants, loops, if statements and the famous Hello World Programme. The afternoon consisted of writing a simple program to download onto a LED device called CodeBug.

How has coding impacted on my career?

I came away from the workshop feeling excited and wanting to explore the world of coding more. I also stayed in contact with two women from the course who also enjoyed it and I left just as excited about their future too! My mind was made up – I was going to re-train!

Within a few weeks of International Women’s Day I applied for and was accepted on to the Get Into Tech course at Sky. The Programming 101 workshop gave me the perfect amount of experience and more importantly, confidence to make my application.

I started the Get Into Tech Course in May 2016. After a week-long introduction, the course was then held for 2 hours each week, with practical activities to complete out of the teaching hours. I put my heart and soul into the course which lasted for three months and was as intense as it was enjoyable!  I learnt a phenomenal amount about programming and the tech industry in general. I also learnt a lot about myself and what I was capable of if I put my mind to it and I made some great friends.

The best part of the course was being part of a group presentation showcasing a group application that we had built using the skills on the course to developers at Sky.

After the course, I was invited to apply for a job as an Associate Software Developer at Sky. The application firstly involved tackling a 3 day coding challenge which the Get Into Tech Course prepared me well for. Finally I was invited to an assessment centre in August 2016 and was offered a job as an Associate Software Developer which started in November 2016.

I am currently 5 months into my role at Sky and since my introduction to coding just over a year ago I now have various amounts of experience in around 15 different programming languages and tools. Sky is a fantastic place to work and I feel I have been nurtured perfectly in an environment which allows people to be themselves and to flourish and excel.

Coding has had a fantastic impact on my career, lots of new doors have been opened to me and I feel like there is nothing blocking me from progressing. I am being encouraged daily to aim high and believe in myself – I work with some great people and within a fantastic and real culture of support and respect.

How has coding had an impact on my life outside of work?

Outside of work coding has increased my interest in tech in general, our house is full of even more gadgets – but now I’m taking an interest in them too!

I have started to attend various tech meetups and networking events such as Agile Yorkshire where I have met some really interesting and inspiring people. The Sky Women in Tech events have also been amazing.

I feel more empowered and take more of an interest in Science, Tech and Feminist politics. I hope to get a personal coding project going within the next 6 months so that I can develop something at my own pace and try out some new ideas.

It’s been a fantastic year and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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