In honor of Women’s Day, we would like to pay tribute to the women in Information Technology.
Modern IT world viewed only as “a boy’s thing”. But this is not totally true. A lot of computing pioneers — the people who programmed the first digital computers — were women.
Now, less than 25% of the IT workforce are women, but in the software testing sector the percentage filled by women is now approaching 50%. Women’s typical cognitive differences make them invaluable to IT teams.
Let’s pay attention to the history. One might believe that women did not play an important role in the beginnings of computer science, but in reality they have made significant contributions in many areas, starting from the early days. In any discussion of the pioneers in computing, the names of two visionaries immediately come to mind:
- Augusta Ada Byron Lovelace (1815 – 1852). She is often described as theworld’s first computer programmer. Analyst, metaphysician, and founder of scientific computing. Interesting fact, Ada was the only child of the famous poet Lord Byron and his wife, and yet, she picked math instead of poetry. In honor of her father’s legacy, Lovelace described her approach as “poetical science”.
- Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992) foresaw the importance of higher-level programming languages in the future of computing. As the “Mother of testing”, she was the first person to use the word “bug” to describe an error in a computer program.
But this is just history. What about the modern world and she-heroes in it?
Well, you can find a lot of famous stories about successful women in IT, for example: the first female engineer at Facebook Ruchi Sanghvi; or Meg Whitman, the CEO of the popular online auction site eBay. Or you can go further:
- Kathleen Howell, software test engineer who became a competitive aerobatic pilot and NASA engineer. Howell was a stay-at-home mom to three children prior to joining NASA. As a test engineer, she was responsible for the design and execution of software acceptance tests for Dryden’s Mission Control Center.
“Young ladies should pursue any passions wholeheartedly. They should follow their dreams,” encouraged Howell.
- Marissa Mayer, from Google first female engineer to the current president and CEO of Yahoo! Previously, she also was a longtime executive, usability leader, and a key spokesperson for Google. She started out writing code and overseeing small teams of engineers, developing and designing Google’s search offerings. She became known for her attention to details.
“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” -M. Mayer
We can continue a much further. But one of the most important parts of those stories is that you have to follow your own goals. Even if this is mean to be one standing she-hero in such muscular IT world.
- “Pioneering Women In Computer Science” by Denise Giirer
- “What Has Driven Women Out of Computer Science?” by Randall Stross
- “Kathleen Howell-Mother, Private Pilot and NASA Engineer” by Beth Hagenauer, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
- Sloan, Paul “Google’s Marissa Mayer becomes Yahoo CEO”
- Riggins, Nash “Marissa Mayer: Queen of Silicon Valley”.