Some famous women in tech have achieved great success by working hard and striving for their goals. Some have created innovative technology and businesses while others have stepped into the roles of established companies and invented new commercial concepts. While this list is far from complete, some of these women deserve to be recognized for their hard work. If you would like to know more about the achievements of these women, you can read the articles below.
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In honor of Ada Lovelace, the first female computer programmer, today is Ada Day. This day honors the contributions of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. Ada Lovelace was an educated woman of the 19th century, who worked on mathematician Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a prototype for the general-purpose computer.
While computer programming is often seen as a male-dominated field, many women were involved in the creation of original programming languages, and one of these is Jean E. Sammet. Born in 1928 in New York, Sammet helped create FORMAC, the first widely used computer language that allowed users to manipulate algebraic formulas symbolically. She spent nearly thirty years at IBM, where she honed her technical writing skills and developed programming languages such as FORMAC. She received the IBM Outstanding Contribution Award and was named one of the country’s most influential women in technology.
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress who escaped World War II as a Jewish woman. In the 1940s, she was inspired by the technology she’d observed while in the Nazis’ castle. She developed a frequency hopping communication system, which later became the basis for GPS and WiFi systems. Interestingly, her invention was never commercialized, but it did contribute to a variety of technologies today.
One of the pioneering women in technology was Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, a Roman Catholic nun who earned a PhD in computer science in 1965. Keller helped break the gender barrier in the computer industry by helping to develop BASIC, a language that translated computer code into an easier to understand format. In addition to her achievements in the computer science field, Keller was also a strong advocate for women in the technology industry. Listed below are a few other notable women who have made a difference in the computer world.
One of the most renowned African American computer scientists, Annie J. Easley, has contributed to the advancement of technology and space exploration. Born in 1931, she is one of just four African Americans employed by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which is the precursor of NASA’s Glenn Research Center. She was recruited in 1955 to work at NACA and soon became one of the company’s most highly-regarded employees. Easley also co-authored a number of papers about nuclear engines for rockets, and her research contributed to the development of solar projects.
In 1992, Radia Perlman published Interconnections, a book that shed light on computer networks. The book’s success elevated Perlman to the world’s stage and gave her a louder voice. She holds over 100 patents for her inventions and remains active in the field, serving as a fellow at Dell EMC. Despite the odds against women in technology, Perlman continues to break down barriers and develop new technologies.
One of the top 100 most influential black people in the UK is a woman, and Jacky Wright is one of them. This Microsoft executive was named to the list in 2017. Before joining Microsoft in 2017, Wright worked as a CIO at GE and BP, before joining HMRC. Her role is to help companies streamline tax collection. She is an activist for diversity in the tech industry, and her work demonstrates the benefits of having a diverse workforce.