The History of Women in Technology

Written on: 9 October 2018

Written by: Megan Hussey

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When we think of famous people in technology, we often hear about entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk revolutionising space travel and powering electric vehicles, Steve Jobs changing the world through his incredible product development at Apple and Bill Gates being the genius behind Microsoft, the largest software company in the world.

But what do these three have in common?

Put simply, they're all male.

So, who are the women who changed the world through technology?

1840 - ADA LOVELACE

Software Development is a male dominated industry, a global software survey by Statista found that women accounted for only 8% of software developers across the world in 2020. However, Ava Lovelace is widely recognised as the first ever computer programmer, known for her work creating algorithms in the 1840s!

1943 - DOROTHY VAUGHAN

Dorothy Vaughan made history when she become the first black supervisor at NASA and was one of few women to gain a leadership role at that time. Dorothy's expert knowledge in programme languages saw her working on NASA's SCOUT programme, successfully launching satellites into space.

1952 - grace hopper

Software bugs, every developer's nemesis! Fixing bugs is all part of being a software developer, but where does the phrase 'bug' come from? In the 1940s, Grace Hopper was busy becoming one of history's greatest software pioneers when she discovered a moth inside of the computer she was working on, coining the phrase 'computer bug'.

Grace is most famous for her contributions towards the development of programming languages and was involved in creating UNIVAC – the first electronic digital computer.

1959 - MARGARET HAMILTON 

On the theme of space tech, Margaret Hamilton was actually NASA's first software engineer – a job title she created for herself! In her time at NASA, she developed on-board flight programs for the Apollo moon missions and was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her work.

1973 - ADELE GOLDBERG

Whilst Steve Jobs was the genius behind Apple, a lot of the devices we use in our daily lives may not have looked as they do now without Adele Goldberg.

Adele helped create Smalltalk-80, a widely used and influential programming language that she presented to none other than Steve Jobs. A lot of her ideas were used to develop Apple's early products and many of Apple's current design standards are inspired by Adele's work.

1998 - SUSAN WOJcicki

YouTube is now the second most visited website in the world, but who is behind the helm of this increasingly popular social platform? No other than female entrepreneur Susan Wojcicki.

Susan's success started when she was the 16th person hired by Google and went on to help them develop popular features such as Google Ads, Google Images, Google Books and Google Analytics. In 2006, she proposed the idea that Google acquire YouTube and eventually became YouTube's CEO in 2014!

2013 - MELANIE PERKINS

If you're a digital marketer, you're likely to be familiar with Canva, a free to use graphic design tool that makes social media marketing easy.

Melanie Perkins started Canva back in 2013 and was faced with criticism over whether her idea would work. Fast forward to 2021, Canva is a widely used marketing tool and Melanie is now one of the youngest female CEO's to run a tech start-up valued at over $1 billion.

START YOUR CAREER IN TECH TODAY

At Baltic, we go above and beyond to help women launch long term careers in the tech and digital sector. We work with organisations such as InnovateHer who are committed to making careers in tech accessible for girls from a young age.

If you are ready to become the next tech pioneer, check out our apprenticeship programmes or browse our current vacancies to see if there is an exciting opportunity near you.

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