This month we caught up with Karisma Parkinson, project consultant on Global Markets Technology at one of our leading sponsors, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on the skills she learnt on her first CF: G Beginners HTML/CSS course this Spring. Read on to hear more about Karisma's coding journey...
I work in Global Markets Technology at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a project consultant. Over recent years, I have worked on several large scale programmes in the company’s Project Management office, providing project governance and business management support.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch places huge importance on being both a diverse and inclusive company – and in fact, was recently recognised by Euromoney as ‘The World’s Best Bank for Diversity’. Part of my role is to support Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for my team to help ensure a strong and diverse pipeline of talent. It’s really important that we do all we can to increase the number of women studying STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) at degree level if we are to see a better gender balance. Despite there being more men working in Technology, it has never occurred to me that technology is a man’s world, and I happily share my experience with young women to help 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, and 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 – they simplified what, on paper, seemed complex and answered all my questions so that I understood the principles behind coding. After just three lessons, we managed to produce 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 inspiring.
It was fun to be creative and to put my newly learnt skills into practice. In the final class, the teams presented their sites, which were varied and fascinating.
I am missing my Monday classes and the bonding experience we shared as a group. I would recommend the CF:G Course to anyone who is curious about coding. There are challenges but when it falls into place it’s 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 – for me, coding is all about contributing to a conversation and finding ways to express yourself through this universal language.
Code First: Girls