Work Experience at CoopDigital

Hello my name is Caitlin. I’m 15 and have spent a week with CoopDigital on work experience.

Picture of Caitlin
Caitlin Graham

I’m doing computing at school as one of my GCSEs where I’m the only girl in my computing class. So far I’ve learnt the basics of Python and MySQL using Codeacademy and Grok Learning.

I chose Co-op for my work experience because my mum, who works in IT at Co-op forwarded an email she had received about the CodeGirl event that was held at 1 Angel Square by Ladies of Code and arranged by Danielle. I emailed Danielle and got an almost instant response, it was that easy. 

I expected the people that I was going to work with in the week would have tunnel vision on their own projects. But I was wrong, the people on every team are very involved with each other, and a lot more relaxed than I expected, but they still got their jobs done very well.

On my first day I spent time with the social media team, doing Boolean searches to analyse things people had said about retailers on Fathers Day on social media, the conversations were really interesting.

My second morning was spent with the Paperfree team, which was brilliant because instead of listening and being passive, I felt like they wanted me involved with their team, and valued what I had to say.

I think my favourite day was my third. It was spent coding with Thoughtworks and BJSS. I learned to code in JavaScript, which I’d never done before.

I also learnt to code in HTML on my fourth day, which was different but interesting. Becky who is working on the Wills Alpha helped me build a website for French Bulldogs, which was brilliant.

I’ve had a great week here and felt very welcomed by everyone. Thank you.

Caitlin Graham.

Being the only girl in the room.

After having my daughter I decided to take a more active role in the promotion of women and girls in technology, it’s a subject really close to my heart. So last year I joined Ladies of Code Manchester  and ran my first solo event a few weeks ago, which was a screening of CodeGirl here at the Co-op. Mike Bracken talks more about the event in his blog post.

The reason for choosing to screen the film stems from a personal experience. When I was 15 my school entered a national engineering competition.  I was the only girl on the team and it made me feel special – I loved what we were doing….and we got into the finals in London. It was all very exciting – until I walked into the room with the other finalists and it hit me –  I was the only girl in the room. There were about 60 people and I went from feeling special to feeling very self-conscious.  I stopped enjoying myself and wanted the day to end – quickly. That moment was the first of a few steps that led me away from a career in engineering.

As part of International Women’s Day  I’ve made a pledge to help women and girls achieve their ambitions – I don’t want any other girl to have their confidence dented because they were “the only girl in the room”.

I’m really happy to say that since the event we’ve had requests to screen the film to girls in schools in Leeds, Manchester and Leigh. Also a 15 year old girl who is learning to code has asked to come to Co-op Digital for work experience in the summer.

If you want to make your own Pledge for Parity just click the link.

Thanks for reading

Danielle Haugedal-Wilson