Thursday 13 March, 2014

Codess is a community for female coders initiated by Skype - Microsoft, established to explore ways to promote gender diversity in the engineering field.

Engineering has historically been a male dominated industry and it is part of our mission to help change the future of this profession.

Codess aims to inspire female coders and to help them achieve their professional goals. Through networking events, mentoring and sharing advice and experiences, we hope to offer a forum to women unlike any other.

We hope Codess University will provide you with insight and inspiration as you begin to establish your technical careers. We have a fantastic career panel and the opportunity to meet both experienced engineers, recent graduates and like-minded students. Engineers from Xbox, Skype, Microsoft Research, Bing and Yammer will be on site tonight to share their new, cool tech products.


Lisa Long

Senior Product Planner - Skype

Lisa Long, Senior Product Planner at Skype, Microsoft. Before Skype, Lisa co-founded two start-up companies, Six to Start and Soniqplay, and she still serves on the board of Six to Start.

Prior to that, she worked in a variety of enterprise software companies working in various technical roles in the professional services organization. 

In her spare time, she mentors several start-up companies through programs such as UCL, Seedcamp, and Cartier Women’s Initiative. 

She has an MBA from INSEAD in France and an engineering degree from Cornell University in the US.

Katja Hofmann

Postdoctoral Researcher, Machine Learning & Perception - Microsoft Research

Hi! My name is Katja Hofmann, and I am a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. As part of the Machine Learning and Perception group, I develop technologies that allow computers to learn directly from their users. I especially focus on interactions with search engines. Eventually, this work will lead to machines that can naturally interact with, and adapt to, their users.

What I love about my current role is that I get to work with, and learn from, extremely smart and motivated colleagues all over the world. We tackle challenges that haven't been addressed before, and get to influence future technological developments.

Before joining Microsoft Research, I completed my PhD at the University of Amsterdam, MSc at California State University, and an undergraduate degree at the University of Applied Sciences in Dresden, Germany.

Gemma Yussuf

Codess University Moderator - Microsoft

Hi, my name is Gemma Yussuf.  At University I studied BSc Information Technology where I graduated with a 1st Honours at the University of Reading.  At that point, I knew I wanted a career in technology where I applied for the MACH (Microsoft Academy for College Hires) scheme at Microsoft.  For the first 2 years of my career here, I was a sales MACH doing various sales based roles until I made the decision to diversify into technical. I decided at this point in my career that I had to follow my passion for technology.   

I have now been working in the Developer Platform Evangelist Group for over 3 years, this department is about securing the future platform, and it is a part of the business that allows us to work on cutting edge technologies and allows us the freedom to be creative.  I’ve had a number of technical roles over the last few years, however currently I am a UX Evangelist at Microsoft, focused on working with the Top Apps in the UK helping create innovative and cutting edge designs for both Windows 8 and WP8.  I regularly run design workshops in the Microsoft Technology Center (MTC) where I aim to educate customers on the UX fundamentals, formulate ideas, identify the scope of the project and draw out high level wireframes which lead to the creation of visual designs.

Tatiana Toboeva

Software Developer in Test - Skype Xbox - Microsoft

My name is Tatiana Toboeva and I am a Software Developer in Test in Skype, Microsoft.

I became interested in computers a long time ago. I remember coming with my parents to their work to play Supaplex games with other kids. My parents were making the first programs on huge machines that used punch cards. I was so impressed that I decided to become a developer.

I choose the most computer oriented faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics in Moscow State University. After graduation I become a .NET developer in various Russian companies creating software for oil companies and web networks. One day I decided to apply for job in Microsoft and got the position in our Danish office. For almost 5 years I was working on Dynamics NAV products creating infrastructure for running tests, measuring performance and code coverage, and then I moved to the UK to work on Skype for Xbox.

I love to work with smart and passionate people from all over the world, work on interesting products and newest and greatest technologies. I am happy to see more Codesses like me around.

Shomila Malik

Head of the Lab - Telefonica

As Head of The Lab for Telefonica UK, Shomila is accountable for technology led innovation across the UK business and leads a team responsible for creating and leading a world class innovation capability. Previous companies include IBM, Financial Times and O2 where she has delivered digital and mobile products for over 16 years.

Shomila has a BEng in Electronic Engineering from University of Southampton, an MBA from Henley Management College and started her career as a software developer at IBM in 1998. She is also a start-up mentor, a board advisor at Ensygnia (a financial services company), a steering group member for the UK Digital Skills Taskforce and a member of Tech London Advocates that includes the recently formed Women in Tech working group.

In 2013 she was featured in Fabulous magazine as one of 5 ‘golden skirts’ – female powerhouses who are making huge waves in male dominated worlds.

Charu Desodt

Senior Producer - Lift London Studio, Microsoft

Charu Desodt is a Senior Producer at Microsoft’s Lift London Studio, makers of character centric tablet and mobile games.

Charu was the first female engineer hired by Sony’s London Studio, Charu started in console gaming by creating the hugely successful SingStar® franchise on PS2. Since then she has released close to 100 games on PS2 and PS3, including Wonderbook™: Book of Spells, PS Home and Dancestar® Party. She also features in the MCV list of top 100 UK women in games.

Videos from event

Photos from event


Time Event
18.00 - 18.40 Tech Fair and Refreshment
18.45 - 19.15 Welcome and Ice Breaker
19.15 Career Panel
Back to London