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Meet Catherine, Dev Engineer 2.

Diversity in technology is close to my heart.

Since my first job after leaving university, I’ve wanted to give something back. I love the idea of being able to create opportunities for others, encourage curiosity and make tech seem less daunting. Through the Women in Technology group at Capital One, I’ve been able to get involved with organising and taking part in a number of events throughout the year.

In December 2018, we ran Hour of CODE for employees who had little to no prior coding experience, but wanted to find out more. It was great to teach others about how to take their first steps into programming. By working together, we created an Elf Name Generator. (Just call me Floof Sleighbell!) We’ve already had a number of attendees ask us how they can continue their learning, which is amazing.

We’re building a thriving community of practice.

Another event is CODERS, which started life in our US office. The idea is to expose school students to technology. We work with schools and community leaders to help them foster a focus on software engineering. The aim of the day was to explore the principles of coding and we worked with students to design and build their own applications, using MIT App Inventor 2.

The challenge we set them was to “create an app that will help change you, your school, or community for the better.” The huge variety of concepts that the students thought up was staggering. As the day went on you could see their confidence grow. They became more willing to try new ideas and were less scared when it didn’t work as expected. This really drove home for me how valuable programmes like this are.

My confidence grows every day.

It can be easy for us to take for granted what we do. By running sessions like this, it’s helping others learn. But it helps us to shore up our knowledge too, increasing our confidence to present and letting us practice how to break down coding concepts to help others understand them.

I’m really enjoying being a part of the Women in Technology group at Capital One. It’s open to anyone, no matter their gender, age or experience.

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