A Year in Code

Well it has been an incredible year for Liverpool Girl Geeks and I couldn’t conscionably start any sort of blog post without thanking each and every one of you who has engaged with any of our activities, posts or courses this year. We hope first and foremost that you have found them interesting, insightful or useful and that we’ve got you excited about this incredible sector that we are all now a part of.

I’m starting at the end really, which is perhaps a bit backwards but encompasses three years hardwork by Chelsea and I. In late 2015 we had a meeting at the amazing Cunard building with a lovely lady from Tech North – pretty much we led a two person monologue on all things that made us passionate to engage women in the sector, what we aspired to achieve and how we thought we would set about doing that. Coral (aforementioned lovely lady) sat and soaked it in and every so often intersected with helpful contacts we may or may not have met yet.

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It was wonderful to be able to sit and chat with someone who got what we were trying to achieve. To talk through our hopes and dreams, however grand and perhaps long term, and have someone sit on the other side of the table and not just say (however lovely and more than welcomed this is) “that’s a brilliant idea, can I help”? But to reply with affirmative action and say “that’s a brilliant idea, I can help in these many ways – pick one!” A New York trip intercepted the discussion but Chelsea caught on that a long-haul flight was the perfect time to send over a presentation that professionally and clearly set out all our aspirations, as the directors who were receiving it would have plenty of time to read. You already know the end to this story if you have followed any of our social media streams over the last week or so – but that presentation was a success!! We are starting 2016 in partnership with Tech North to offer free Get Your Head Around Code sessions in January, February and March.

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If that wasn’t amazing enough for Chelsea and I, we then sat back and watched as within hours of launching the courses they were half full. Within 24 hours the January and February sessions were fully booked and the waitlist also filling up with names of keen women would-be-coders. We knew that the demand was out there, we had worked for many years identifying and engaging the women whom we felt would benefit from courses of this type and were absolutely thrilled to see these many years of toil and hardwork pay off and ultimately see that the women of Liverpool knew that for themselves they were going to benefit from this training.

Chelsea and I have known for a while that Liverpool is the vanguard of culture and innovative entrepreneurialism, constantly thinking outside the box but we now see a city that can credit itself as progressively moving towards a gender balanced digital sector. We have met many times with business owners from within this sector who have said they would like to employ more women, that they recognise the benefit of having a gender balanced team and that they would love to add that dynamic to their way of working but haven’t been able to find that skill level in what Liverpool women had to offer. It’s amazing to us to know that we are taking those small steps towards providing a potential female workforce who hold the skills they require.

I’m not sure how else to describe it. You start a project (we weren’t really thinking of Girl Geeks as a business back in 2012) thinking “this could be a nice thing to get involved with, I quite like this girl whose keen to get this done too. We could do something interesting together” to then thinking “OK, we have a vision now and know what we would like to achieve. We can see this future for our city and the sector and that a shift is going to happen that we would like to be a part of”. That was a fairly big shift in itself as we took a project we were keen to do in isolation to thinking about its context in the city and sector as a whole to “Now we know precisely how we’re going to achieve this, we know that these are the activities and things we would like to offer and we can see how the disparate items are now going to connect and become a meaningful programme…. but how are we going to resource and finance this?” This is quite a scary position to be in as you are now precise in what you have to achieve and are absolutely passionate that this is what you want to achieve and do but you don’t know how this is physically going to happen, basically – where’s the money coming from?

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To the position we are finally in today where we have the vision, we have the plan of how we’re going to achieve that vision, we know how everything connects and the next steps to now having the resource and backing of a partner like Tech North. To those of you still with me at this point, Liverpool Girl Geeks may seem like a relatively new group to you but for Chelsea and I this momentum has been building for three long years… as we gather all those ideas and thoughts from two minds and try to bring all that to fruition alongside full time jobs and part-time University degrees and trying to be a social 20-something in one of the most vibrant cities in the world – to the product we are finally now getting you all engaged with.

There is so much hope and encouragement encapsulated in that moment when someone says “we believe in what you’re doing and would like to fund some of that” that it spurs you on to want to aspire to more. 2016 is going to be a fantastic year for Chelsea and I and Liverpool Girl Geeks. We are experiencing a renaissance of ambition and you can expect plenty of projects and ideas from us in the coming months.

If you have attempted to book onto one of the fully funded places for January, February or March’s Get Your Head Around Code please do keep an eye out as we hope to be able to offer many more in the coming months and will also be holding more networking sessions, or if you already have a basic knowledge in code but would like to extend your skills in a particular language have a look at our Javascript course, wonderfully named “the ugly duckling of code” by our session leader Alex.

2016 is going to be such a fantastic year for Liverpool Girl Geeks and we can’t wait for you to join us.

Merry Christmas Girl Geeks and a very, very Happy New Year! See you in 2016 – the year of the Girl Geek 🙂

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