Oxfordshire schoolgirls met coding challenges head-on at Sophos’ recent ‘Girls in Coding’ event
A total of 42 girls took part in a ‘Girls in Coding’ event hosted by network and endpoint security specialist, Sophos, at its Abingdon headquarters this week.
Sophos arranged the event with local schools to support and encourage bright and aspiring girls to compete in what is traditionally a male-orientated field.
Local schoolgirls aged between 14 and 18 years old with an interest in programming, were selected by their schools to participate. The girls got to grips with four DEFCON-style coding challenges, designed to test and enhance their skills, as well as encourage their interest in coding.
Jon Gardner, director, human resources at Sophos, said: “We’ve been pleased to see a gradual increase in the number of female applicants to our internship and graduate programs. It is in the broader interests of the industry to encourage girls to pursue degrees in more technical and numerate subjects like maths, computer science and software engineering, and we are proactively supporting it.
“We have given local girls a rare opportunity to experience coding at the sharp end and speak with women who are thriving in their technical career paths here at Sophos. We hope the girls who participated will consider following in their footsteps.”
The students were also given the opportunity to speak to successful women at Sophos in a wide range of roles, from those in management, to recent graduates and interns working in SophosLabs. SophosLabs is the heart of Sophos’ operations where more than 350,000 pieces of new malware are analysed each day, to protect businesses around the world.
Rebecca Allday, graduate software engineer at Sophos, said: “I’ve embarked on an exciting career in technology at Sophos. Every day, I am working at the forefront of the security industry. And I have my science and maths studies at GCSE and A Level to thank.
“We must start to view science, maths and technology subjects as an opportunity for girls, not just subjects for boys.”
“The Sophos Girls in Coding event was such a great idea. It has been fantastic to see so many young girls interested in learning to code. I hope they share these learnings with their peers and seriously consider a career in the industry.”
Simon Reed, VP of SophosLabs, said: “As father to a 17-year-old girl who is planning to study engineering at degree level, I am very keen to support events which encourage women to consider technology careers. From the outside, the tech industry can look very geeky, unfriendly and male dominated.
“In fact, that isn’t the case at all. It’s one of the most unbiased industries there is, open to anyone with passion and talent. In the five teams I manage in locations across the world, all of them have men and women working together, and it’s a very positive thing.”
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