Microsoft Codess


Codess is a community for female coders that Microsoft created to help close the gender gap in computer programing. I was invited to attend Microsoft’s Codess Event at their beautiful Playa Vista campus near Los Angeles. I was so excited to attend the event that I hardly slept the night before. Most of my classes have had only one or two other females in them, so it was really cool to be going to an event and not be in the minority.

The event was made up of about 100 female computer science and engineering students from colleges all over Southern California. At first everyone was a little nervous to talk to each other, but soon the introductions were flying. We were treated to three different topics: a “Be the Change” panel, Demystifying the Tech Interview, and a Keynote speech given by Charlotte Yarkoni, Corporate Vice President of Commerce and EcoSystems. In Between topics there was time for healthy snacks and networking with attendees and the Microsoft employees.

In the “Be the Change” panel, we were introduced to several different Engineers who worked on projects that helped make a change in our world. One of them worked on making Windows and it’s products more accessible to people with disabilities. Another worked on an app that was using face recognition technology to recognize different animals so their numbers and migration can be tracked. The main theme was that whatever your passion is, you can find a way to incorporate software engineering with it. This panel really opened up my mind to all of the different possibilities that existed within software engineering, and all the different projects I could participate in.

The next panel was about Demystifying the Tech Interview. Tech Interviews are a big deal and a big worry with Computer Science students looking for a job. Two of our Codess mentors did a mock interview, where one was the interviewer, and the other was the interviewee. They went through what questions are usually asked, how to think aloud, how to best use the white board, and so many other tips. They covered everything from what to wear, and how to handle mistakes. I felt much more confident about going to my first technical interview after this presentation.

Lastly, we had our keynote speaker Charlotte Yarkoni. She spoke about the path that she took from software engineering to Vice President. She talked about how her life experiences led her to where she is today. She also talked about the things she liked to do outside of work, like riding horses. I really liked her advice and her humor. It made me excited to start working as a software engineer, and not so hung up on having the perfect career path.

Codess was a career changing evening for me. It gave me the confidence to go out and try new technical interviews. It jump started my networking skills. I highly recommend attending one if at all possible.

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