For generations, there's been a general notion that the world of technology, programming and engineering is male-dominated. And, with people like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk making headlines, it's easy to see why. But let's dig a little deeper. It turns out that technology is anyone's game and that there are dozens of brilliant female programmers out there making a significant difference to the industry. As Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said, "We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored."
Check out these 5 female pioneers of software development
Evelyn Boyd Granville
Born in 1924, Evelyn was one of the most influential female mathematicians and tech experts of her time. She was only the second African-American woman to earn a PhD in maths from any American university. She went on to play a significant role in space exploration. She joined the US space technology labs, where she used her maths skills to calculate rocket trajectories and orbit computations. At the age of 43, she turned her focus to teaching, working as an advocate for women's education in tech for the rest of her career.
This remarkable woman is believed to be the first female video game designer. Graduating with degrees in computer science during the 1970's, Carol went to work for an American video game company called Atari Inc. There, she developed the popular game, 3-D Tic Tac Toe. And later, while working at a gaming company called Activision, she produced the well-known game, River Raid. At both institutions, Carol was hired as the first female designer. Now aged 65, she's still one of the most celebrated women in the programming and gaming industry.
Now 80 years old, Barbara was the first woman to earn a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University. At university, she published a thesis on artificial intelligence, where she explored the topic of an AI-based computer program used to create and play chess endgames. She's been influential in the advancement of coding languages such as Java, C# and C++ and became known as the 'architect of modern algorithms'. She has authored several books on program development, won highly-esteemed awards and even gave her own TED talk in 2019. Today, Barbara is lecturing as an Institute Professor and is head of the Programming Methodology Group at MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab.
Hailing from New Delhi in India, Mala is a passionate developer and IT professional. She currently works as a developer advocate at Czech software development company, JetBrains. She also founded her own company called eJavaGuru.com, which offers a Java Upskilling and Certification program designed by Mala herself. In her 18 years in the industry, Mala has made a huge contribution to software development, both as a developer and as a trainer and mentor. Her educational books on Java include OCA Java SE Programmer Certification Guide, and Java 11 and 12 - New Features: Learn about Project Amber and the latest developments in the Java language platform.
This influential women has made a name for herself as an expert tester in the software development space. Over the years, Lisa has worked as a programmer, analyst, technical support engineer and QA director, but her true passion lies in testing and agile development. She's co-authored two books, Agile Testing: A Practical Guide for Testers and Agile Teams (2009) and More Agile Testing: Learning Journeys for the Whole Team (2014). She says her mission is to 'bring agile joy to the software testing world and testing joy to the agile development world'. She understands the value of software development testers and has become an advocate for testing and how it can be used to guide development projects and improve business-facing tests.
ALSO SEE: What Is Agile Software Development?
So, you see that the world of software development and programming is not purely male-dominated. Where would we be without these brilliant female pioneers who made - and are continuing to make - huge impacts to the industry?