Microsoft Codess – Supporting diversity in the tech sector

BITCI News - Nov 29, 2016

Codess is a “community for female coders initiated by Microsoft, established to explore ways to promote gender diversity in the engineering field”. Codess delivers a series of worldwide events and workshops from academia through to the executive level.

These events are free to attend and open to the public. The events are a great way to connect women in the IT sector and facilitate networking and learnings.The events are a great way to connect women in the IT sector and facilitate networking and learnings.

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The latest event took place at the Dogpatch labs, Dublin 1 on November 7th. The theme of this event was ‘The Future of Work and Play’. The keynote speaker was Brenda Romero, an award winning game designer, artist and Fulbright scholar. Brenda discussed the importance of role models for getting women into the tech sector and more importantly keeping them in the sector. Brenda gave a powerful and motivating insight into her 37 years’ experience in the sector. During her speech, Brenda shared a thoughtful and humours anecdote about being asked “what was it like to be a woman in tech?” To Brenda, this question seemed absurd as she regarded herself as a person in tech who happened to be a woman. To turn this question on its head, Brenda began to ask her colleagues “what was it like to be a man in tech?” This question was met with blank and confused expressions. Surely this was an unusual thing to be asked, what did your gender have to do with your job?

Following Brenda’s inspiring speech there was a great panel discussion, facilitated by Microsoft Ireland’s Diversity & Inclusion leader, Christine Barrett, with Brenda Romero, John Romero, also a game designer, David Coghlan, General Manager, HAVOK, Microsoft and Emma Reid, Microsoft Cloud Solutions Architect. The panel discussion touched on diversity in the sector but also made room for sector insights, trends and what the future of gaming looked like.  The audience were also lucky enough to get a glimpse of the Microsoft HoloLens . The Microsoft HoloLens offers a mixed reality to its users; it is “the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you”

The Codess events are a fantastic networking opportunity and they achieve their aim of inspiring, and connecting women in tech roles.  Caithriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland reinforces the importance of these events;

Against a backdrop where, according to the CSO, women are filling less than 25% of STEM roles, promoting greater gender diversity in engineering will have a significant impact on the entire technology sector. Codess specifically works to support women who are already working, helping them to achieve their potential in their chosen field and overcome any barriers that they might encounter”

Keep an eye out for any upcoming Codess events. Attendees must register in advance and the events are open to people who work in tech in any sector. The format and topics for each event are different so there is something for everyone throughout the series. More information about Codess is available at, @MicrosoftIrl and #CodessDUB.

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