As part of Code First: Girls, our free programming course for young women, we invited three amazing startup women to come and share their experiences of working in the tech startup space. So who was there? We were joined by Melissa Morris, Founder Network Locum, Katie Evans, Head of Account Management at Metail and Vivian Chan Founder Epistora and part of the Entrepreneur First 2012 cohort. Find out more about them at the bottom.
Here are some of the questions from the Code First: Girls.
Why do you need to understand how to code?
Melissa – “It took ages for me to get my minimum viable product together as I had to rely on friends who could code. If I knew how to code, I could have done it in a week.”
Katie – “In my role, I need to be able to translate from one language to another – by that I mean translating from the technical team to our clients.”
Vivian – “As a founder in a tech startup, you need to know how to communicate with your team and to resolve disputes in your team. My co-founder is technical and knowing how to code means that I can understand his thought processes and why he does things in a certain way.”
What advice would you have for someone who wanted to build a startup?
Vivian – “Just do it. Failing is the best way to learn”
Melissa – “Do whatever it takes for you to get the confidence to do it. I had to get the confidence that I could run things on my own. Identify what it is that might be holding you back and work out how you can fix it.”
Katie – “If you are a nervous, try working in a startup. In a startup, you can make your job what you want it to be. If you like learning, startups are the right place for you.”
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your careers?
Melissa – “The importance of mentorship. You need to surround yourself with mentors from different fields so that you always have someone’s advice you can ask.”
Vivian – “I wish I had learnt Python (the programming language). Having to learn on the fly, while building my startup at the same time was quite intense!”
Katie – “Don’t worry about not knowing the answer. A little bit of panic is quite a good feeling.”
Melissa Morris, Founder of Network Locum, the UK's leading online community for GP locums. Melissa is the CEO and was previously a management consultant from McKinsey & Co. She learned first-hand that flexible staffing could be used to improve the services GP practices provide to patients whilst also reducing costs. She left management consulting to work within the NHS itself to learn better how it all worked from the inside, whilst tinkering on her business plan and building the perfect team. Network Locum launched in the spring of 2012 and now has grown to a team of 12.
Katie Evans, Head of Account Management at Metail, Katie joined Metail in September 2012 as the Service Manager. After graduating from the University of Bath, she worked for a number of different retailers including Nails Inc and Burberry and has joined us from Marks and Spencer where she spent two years in the merchandising team, buying both Lingerie and Beauty products. Katie is in charge of making sure Metail’s clients are looked after and are given the highest quality service possible.
Vivian Chan, Founder Epistora and part of the Entrepreneur First 2012 cohort. Vivian was previously the President and Chairman of CUTEC, and holds a PhD from Cambridge University. She set up Epistora to solve the problems she had finding scientific material while completing her PhD. Epistora looks at connecting and democratising scientific information, making it inherently easier and more transparent for everyone. She has raised a significant seed round and is now growing the team.
Code First: Girls