Code First Girls, the UK’s largest provider of free coding education for women, has reached the milestone of having taught over 200,000 women to code.

Last year alone, Code First Girls provided over 80,000 opportunities for women to learn how to code, compared to just 18,000 who embarked on a Computer Science undergraduate degree in the UK.

It is estimated that 3 million more people will be needed to fill skills gaps in the UK’s tech sector by 2025, highlighting the need for new diverse talent pipelines to be found. With 49% of Code First Girls’ community being career switchers, it’s clear the tech industry has a largely untapped talent pool at its fingertips.

Alongside teaching women to code, Code First Girls works with over 130 partners in the UK and globally – including household names like Sainsbury’s, GCHQ, Nike, and Activision Blizzard – to actively place women into tech roles. 

Through these partnerships, companies are able to build global talent pipelines with entry-level, mid-level, and internal upskilling and reskilling programmes by providing free education to women. Code First Girls supports partners in international markets, such as Poland, Germany, USA, Singapore, India and more.

Code First Girls places women as AI Engineers, Cyber Security, DevOps, Software or Data Engineering, and Data Science to name a few. The benefits of actively recruiting women from non-technical backgrounds include creative problem-solving for security threats, to performance improvements and innovation across all sectors. 

The representation of women in the tech industry has improved in recent years. In 2020 women made up 15% of programmers, software development professionals and web design professionals – but that increased to 17% in 2021, 18% in 2022, and 19% in 2023. 

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According to BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, if current trends continue, it will take another 283 years for the percentage of women working in the UK’s tech sector to match the 48% of women in the wider workforce. 

“With women making up just a fifth of the tech industry, it’s clear the traditional model of coding education is failing to support women and people from more diverse backgrounds into tech,” said Anna Brailsford, CEO at Code First Girls.

“Code First Girls is helping to rectify this by partnering with businesses, government and universities to provide employment through free education.

“We’re thrilled to announce we’ve now taught 200,000 women to code. With more than half of those women coming from underrepresented ethnicities and around a fifth identifying as neurodiverse, our pioneering model is helping to boost diversity in tech.

“Having passed such a significant milestone, we’re determined to press on and equip more women with the skills they need to drive our economy forward.”

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