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Working with Coding Black Females – committed to Diversity in Tech

Principle One has worked in partnership with Coding Black Females since early 2020, getting involved in their networking and skills development and mentoring and supporting bootcamps. As the Coding Black Females community has grown and diversified, we have also worked to create career opportunities both for experienced software engineers and for those coming into the sector at entry level or as career changers.

At Principle One, we have long believed in creating a culture where diversity of thinking thrives and we value disparate points of view and different approaches to problem solving. Our partnership with Coding Black Females has helped us bring new ideas and energy into the team.

Bukola Thompson was one of our first recruits through the Coding Black Females network, joining us at the start of 2021 as a software engineer. “In my journey as a software engineer, I have recognised the significance of teamwork and collaboration. Principle One has encouraged the development of soft skills and effective communication, as well as a honing my technical skills within our teams. This has been vital for my personal growth and helping me work towards a leadership role.

I believe it is crucial to promote opportunities for underrepresented individuals in tech by ensuring access to role models from diverse backgrounds. Being part of these groups like Coding Black Females gives me an opportunity to inspire the next generation, just like I have had women, who I see myself in, pave the way for me to be here.

Returning from maternity leave has made me appreciate the importance of work-life balance. With the support of Principle One, I have been able to navigate the challenges of balancing my family and career, proving that women in tech can thrive both personally and professionally.”

Dinah Hunde joined Principle One in 2022, having completed a graduate training programme which gave her a strong foundation of technical skills, but, in the midst of the pandemic, failed to give her the long-term career opportunity she had hoped for. Joining first in an operational support role, Dinah has seen her career take off, specialising in the Microsoft Power Platform and front-end development.

“Principle One has been incredibly supportive in my journey of building on my previous technical training. Firstly, focusing on internal work which provided me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge in not only the technical side but also build consulting skills in stakeholder engagement and business analysis. These skills have enabled me to make the transition to client facing roles, and I'm now acting as a team lead to support other junior staff develop their technical skills.

Working at Principle One I feel a strong sense of value and appreciation. I have been given opportunities to contribute to not only project work but many different aspects of the community we have across the team. I am really looking forward to continuing to have a meaningful impact in my role.”

Mayowa Seriki didn’t find Principle One through Coding Black Females, but was instead referred by a school friend, who felt her no nonsense approach to project management would be a perfect fit for Principle One’s culture. Mayowa has since completed Scrum Master certification and has now begun working in a key role on one of our largest software delivery projects.

“Principle One provides a very supportive working environment. This was important to me as someone coming into the corporate workspace for the first time. Starting my career internally allowed me to build on my project management experience, with Principle One supporting my long-term aspirations as a scrum master and helping me secure the training I needed. With support from Principle One, I was able to successfully leverage my skills and knowledge to engage with clients, as I moved into a client facing role earlier this year.

While I’ve been getting up to speed in my new role, I’ve known that the team at Principle One trusts in my abilities to represent the company effectively in client interactions and support is there when I need it. Working in public sector requires a varied skillset, meaning the opportunity to learn from and work with talented people from a variety of backgrounds is always available.”

Most recently, career changer Darlyn Norlay has joined us having completed two entry level bootcamps with Coding Black Females. Darlyn originally began her career through completing an architecture degree and beginning work in small architectural practices, where she developed a strong interest in technology which led her to explore skillsets both in software development and cloud computing.

“During my time on the cloud computing course with Coding Black Females, what really stood out alongside the skills we learned was the community we had formed in our study groups and across the whole bootcamp cohort. It extended beyond the course where we have been able to support each other in our exams, further study and even personal endeavours.

Through Coding Black Females I got the opportunity to interview with Principle One and found their values aligned closely with my own. I love that they have decided to work alongside CBF and are proactive in fostering diversity and investing in the careers of black women. As a career changer I've found Principle One to be a great company to start my career in tech with. I've been given the space to build on my technical and problem-solving skills and know I’m well supported.

The team at Principle One has been amazing and there's lots to get involved with outside of work. I felt settled quite quickly and the welcoming culture has made a huge difference over my first few weeks.”

Across all our work with Coding Black Females, we have never failed to be impressed with the passion and commitment that is shown to building new skills, both by those at the very start of their careers and those who are already subject matter experts in their field. However, we know that the technology workplace can often be quite daunting, no matter how confident you may be and all of us are prone to impostor syndrome along the way. One of our most successful training courses at Principle One is “Courageous Conversations” which we launched in early 2023. It’s been one of our most popular internal courses, in particular with our female staff, giving them a toolset to cope with challenging workplace situations, and one that we wanted to open to the Coding Black Female community as part of their Careers Week.

Celine Daniel reflected on how the course has helped her.

“As a junior staff member, it can often be intimidating or confusing to know how to best address difficult situations with colleagues or customers. We all experience courageous conversations at some point along our career, and these can be defined as where there is a difference of opinion, emotions are involved, clashes in communication styles or the stakes are high. Figuring out how to navigate these situations in a way that is productive and enables a healthier relationship with coworkers is an important skill that is often overlooked within the workplace.

Learning about courageous conversations in the workplace and how to approach them is something that has personally made me feel more empowered. As I now feel more equipped in uncomfortable situations to speak my mind and am confident that I can be a better teammate and coworker to my peers. Furthermore, this course helped me understand the way in which different people respond within difficult situations and gave me my own personal tool kit centred around courageous conversations for the rest of my career.

After hearing about the opportunity to run a course for CBF as part of Careers Week, Courageous Conversations immediately came to mind, as a way we can support our fellow coding black females develop softer skills to support their technical skills, enabling them to become more successful all-rounders, which I feel is vital to help black women in tech become empowered to navigate uncomfortable situations at work.”

You can find an article with a bit more detail about the course here and follow the link to sign up to join it in person at our office in Vauxhall at 6.30pm on 7th November.

To find out more about Coding Black Females, visit their website here.


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