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Codess AU 2020 Wrap-Up - Our Early-in-Career Female Talent Program

Diversifying the STEM pipeline starts with generating excitement for technology as early as possible.

Codess is one of the numerous Microsoft initiatives and partnerships that help drive diversity in our industry. In particular, Codess focuses on tertiary students interested in pursuing a career in technology. Find out more about our Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives here.


What is Codess?

Codess is a global Microsoft initiated community for female-identifying and non-binary students who are passionate about pursuing a career in technology. Codess aims to inspire early-in-career female talent and empower them to pursue their professional goals in STEM-related fields.

As a global community, Codess has hosted events throughout the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, with Australia’s second Codess experience (first in a fully-virtual format) being hosted in 2020.

This year, 80 tertiary students from Universities and TAFEs across Australia joined us for an exhilarating five-day experience with 15+ skilling sessions, aimed at helping them foster a collective passion, and potential career in technology.


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Behind 2020’s Theme

This year’s theme “Building an Inclusive Future” enabled Codess to serve as a platform to engage in meaningful conversations that challenge and broaden perceptions of diversity and inclusion.

With the COVID-19 pandemic touching every aspect of our lives, the theme was also built around developing resilience and skills to help Codesses work through more recent challenges not experienced by students in previous years.

This included mentoring sessions on ”Networking in a Virtual World” and “Finding Your Authentic Self”; focused on fostering confidence and aspirations to find opportunities in the technology industry.

Our guest-speakers across Microsoft APAC and Global provided interesting perspectives on the role of diversity and inclusion in one’s personal brand, community culture, and the ethics of emerging technologies – but also how it has underpinned Microsoft’s very recent brand transformation story.

We invited attendees to learn how to build their own Power App, Chat Bot and Object Detection Model through the week, whilst considering the ethical implications and inclusivity capabilities of the technologies they were creating.

Finally, we ended the week joined by four tech leaders from Microsoft Australia for a candid panel discussion where we deep-dived into overcoming adversity, debunking stereotypes and shared personal stories on purpose, career and mental health.  


What we Achieved in 2020

Across the 5 days, 80 students joined us from 6 different states and territories, across both urban and regional communities. The quality of engagement was incredible – you can follow our posts on LinkedIn with #CodessEvent. Here is a snippet of what some of the Codesses had to say:

  • I really like what Codess has achieved today. It brought women together to create balance in a male dominated industry. Because of this workshop, I feel hopeful and empowered. – Kyndel
  • My key takeaway from Codess is that our career opportunities are limitless and what matters most is our attitude towards learning and growth. – Evelyn
  • I would undoubtedly recommend this program to anyone in the coming years. This was definitely one of the best virtual events I have ever participated in. – Margi
  • I want to thank the Codess team for making the technical workshops approachable, engaging and for answering my many questions. As someone from a non-technical background, I now have a new-found love for technology. – Snehaa
  • I’d like to publicly thank the Codess team at Microsoft for preparing a jam-packed week of learning for us attendees. I am truly excited to see how the future of technology will continue to blossom and grow (because maybe that’s where I’ll be headed too!). – Ashleigh

We have also built on the community created last year on LinkedIn, slowly but steadily growing a group of Australian Codesses, as part of the broader, global Codess movement.

We would like to finally thank everybody from the AU Codess 2020 team, our guest speakers, business mentors, technical facilitators, the Diversity & Inclusion council, and UR Team for all their hard-work, support and willingness to give and share.


Codess AU 2020 Co-Leads

Muskan Nanchahal & Patrick Wan



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