Women in Technology Hackathon

22 October, 2014 by Florence Curtis

On 25 September 2015, Deloitte set out to prove that coding circles are the new knitting circles with their all-female hackathon to build products that will inspire the next generation of female technologists.
Women in Technology Hackathon

Just over a year ago, we made a pledge to the Rt. Hon. George Osbourne MP in our Deloitte Digital studio that we would be supporting the Government’s Your Life campaign, aimed at increasing the number of women studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

As part of this pledge, Deloitte committed to encouraging all 600 employees in its Women in Technology Network to share career insights and experience, as well as act as mentors to young people and showcase the work of its Women in Technology Network to schools, universities, UK businesses and clients.

Last month, the Women in Technology Network held our very first all-female hackathon with the aim of furthering our commitments to supporting women in technology and attracting new women and girls to the field. Currently, women make up just 16% of IT professionals so our hackathon aimed to address this directly, by developing a product to inspire today’s rising stars and future generations of girls to develop careers in technology.

Hosted at the Deloitte Digital offices in Clerkenwell, the hackathon brought together five teams of women made up of representatives from Deloitte, our clients and students to use their creative and programming skills to compete in designing and building their prototype products – a big ask in just one day! The women all had different levels of experience and brought different talents to the day; it was great to see how everyone developed new skills by the end of the day by sharing their learning and experience. The teams rapidly set about coming up with ideas, creating wireframes, drawing up a business plan and building a working prototype to present to our judges. The products designed covered many aspects of encouraging women and girls into technology, including a virtual careers fair, a social media site to mentor, inform and support women into technology, a quiz game to encourage women to think about careers t they might not have considered, and an app to support the development of technology skills themselves.

Despite some tough competition, our esteemed judges (including Deloitte’s Louise Brett, Sonia Nikolova, and Ed Greig and Google’s Aly Pitts) eventually decided that the winning product would be SmartPet! This app is based on looking after a pet: to keep the pet happy, children of six to eight years old would need to pass coding challenges like logic and problem solving. In the future, the team saw this app developing by increasing the difficulty and complexity of the code challenges as the child’s skills grow and develop.

We were so pleased with how the day went, and the impressive products produced. We’re already being asked when the next one will be!

To find out more about the Women in Technology network, please visit our webpage here and to follow the conversation on Twitter, please use #gamechanger #witn15