This month we caught up with CF: G alumni Karisma Parkinson, project consultant on Global Markets Technology for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on completing her first CF: G Beginners HTML/CSS course this Spring. Read on to hear more about her experience....
I work in Global Markets Technology for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a project consultant, I have worked on several large scale programmes in the PMO (Project Management Office) providing project governance and business management support to ensure that the funding for our global initiatives is tracked and within budget.
I now support Diversity & Inclusion initiatives for technology; one of the business problems we face is ensuring that the pipeline of talent into our tech organisation is diverse. The number of women studying Science, technology, engineering, maths at degree level must increase significantly if we are to see a gender balance. It’s true that there are more men working in Technology but it has never occurred to me that technology is a man’s world, and I happily share my experience with young women to demystify this notion.
I love working in technology, I feel I have found my happy place working in a fast paced and exciting environment where no day is the same. I have been lucky in my career to work with great role models that have shown me that there are no barriers when you are doing something that you love. The project teams I have worked in have become like a second family to me, and everyone plays a part in the delivery of the project – it takes different skills sets, competencies and personalities to complete the team.
Confession time... up until January 2016 I had never coded, I would peer over the shoulders of developers to see them handle this strange language of commands and strings of text so I was excited to be invited by CF:G to the HTML / CSS beginners course to learn more about it.
The learning experience:
On a cold Monday in January I turned up at Thoughtworks eager to learn. The pre course preparation work made me feel confident and the first lesson sped by. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did, I could have happily sat there for another few hours practicing. It was great to be in a room with like minded people, enthusiastic and with a real passion for learning. The next few classes were challenging but hugely enjoyable, I was absorbed in the task and seeing what I was writing in Sublime Text come to life on screen.
Hannah, Jenny and Rob really brought the lessons to life, what seemed complex on paper is simplified and they managed to answer all my questions so easily, explaining it so that I understood the principles behind what they were explaining. After three lessons, what we had been taught was turning into attractive and functioning web pages and we were ready to start working on our own projects!
I paired up with Emily who was like an encyclopaedia of Sherlock Holmes knowledge, her concept, a site to promote a tour of Sherlock’s London which could then spin off into other Literary London Tours was inspired.
It was fun to be creative and to put my newly learnt skills into practice. In the final class, the teams presented their sites, it was a real testament to how much we learnt to see sites that could easily be put into production.
I am missing my Monday classes and the bonding experience we shared as a group. I would recommend the CF:G Course to everyone that is thinking about learning to code, there are challenges but when it falls into place its hugely rewarding.
I am going to continue coding, at the moment it’s like being on holiday and using google translate to ask for things on the menu, but with practice it’s starting to become easier. I will continue to encourage people to seek out tech learning opportunities, it’s about being able to contribute to the conversation and find a way to express yourself through this universal language.
Code First: Girls