Women in Tech You Need to Know

Women in science, technology, engineering and technology, deserve recognition, and Ada Lovelace Day is the perfect time to highlight the achievements of women in STEM disciplines and create role models for young girls to show that the industry is not exclusive to boys. Here are 7 women in tech everybody should know!

  • Ada Lovelace

    Ada Lovelace

    Daughter of poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace was born in London on December 10, 1815. Ada had an unusual upbringing for an aristocratic girl; her mother insisted her daughter’s tutors taught her mathematics and science and from early on, Lovelace showed a talent for numbers and language. At the age of 17, Ada met mathematician Charles Babbage and through him, she began studying advanced mathematics with University of London Professor Augustus de Morgan. Fascinated by Babbage’s ideas, Ada was later asked to translate an article on Babbage’s analytical engine and she added her own thoughts and ideas on the machine. Her notes ended up being three times longer than the original article and Ada is often considered to be the first computer programmer.
  • Katherine Johnson

    Katherine Johnson

    Born in 1918, Johnson was the first African American woman to attend the desegregated graduate school at West Virginia University. She was as American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician. Her incredible contributions to the United States Space Program had her working with NASA for decades. It was her skill and expertise that led the calculations of the launches and emergency back-up return paths for many flights, which included the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. She was instrumental in the adoption of digital computers at NASA.
  • Grace Hopper

    Grace Hopper

    Born in New York City in 1906, Grace Hopper studied math and physics at Vassar College. After graduating from Vassar, she proceeded to Yale where she received a master’s degree in mathematics and later earned a Ph.D. Hopper became an associate professor until she joined the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II. She was assigned the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she learned to program a Mark I computer. After the war, she remained with the Navy, and worked with the Mark II and Mark III computers. She invented the term “computer bug” and her team created the first compiler for computer languages. The compiler would later be used around the world.
  • Jean Jennings Bartik

    Jean Jennings Bartik

    Jean Jennings Bartik was born on December 27, 1924 on a farm in Missouri. She attended Northwest Missouri State Teachers College, she was encouraged to major in physical education, and she received math degree. Bartik would later answer an Army advertisement for recent mathematics graduates and was selected as a programmer on the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) project, on one of the electronic computers. The ENIAC could perform in 30 seconds a calculation that took the computer scientists 20 hours. The work performed by Bartik was a step toward the programming languages that would later be written.
  • Margaret Hamilton

    Margaret Hamilton

    Margaret Hamilton earned a B.A. in mathematics with a minor in philosophy from Earlham College in 1958. She would move on and get a job as a programmer at MIT, and the plan was for her to support her husband through his studies at Harvard Law. But, Hamilton stayed and worked in the Apollo space programme were she invented core ideas in programming as Hamilton was writing the code for the world’s first portable computer. In 1965, she progressed and became responsible for the flight software on the Apollo computers.
  • Women in Tech You Need to Know
    Radia Joy Perlman, born in 1951, was a student at MIT and undertook a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity) within the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. She would go on to develop a child friendly version of the educational robotics language LOGO, called TORTIS (“Toddler’s Own Recursive Turtle Interpreter System). Radia would later be described as a pioneer of teaching young children computer programming.
  • Sophie Wilson

    Sophie Wilson

    Sophie Wilson was raised in 1957, in Leeds, Yorkshire, and studied computer science at the University of Cambridge. Famously, during her Easter break from university, Wilson designed a microcomputer with a 6502 microprocessor inspired by the earlier MK14 and was used to control feed for cows. She would later, in 1978, join Acorn Computers LTD, after designing a device to prevent cigarette lighter sparks triggering payouts on fruit machines. The design was used to build the Acorn Micro-Computer. In 1983, Wilson designed the instruction set for one of the first RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) processors and this processor type is now used in 95% of smart phones today.