Women Who Changed The Technology World: Inspiring Women And Their Tech Legacy
Countless people have made a significant impact on our world, but few have done so as profoundly and lasting as the women they’ve left behind. In an industry that has long been dominated by men, these trailblazing females refused to capitulate to their surroundings and forged ahead with vision, courage, and dedication. They have changed the tech world in ways both small and large—from introducing important new concepts to changing the very way in which we interact with technology itself.
Whether as coders who invented groundbreaking computer programs or as trailblazers who paved the way for women who followed them, these influential women deserve just as much attention for their contributions to society at large. The following pioneering tech women are worthy of being recognized for their noteworthy achievements.
One of the most important women in the history of technology was Ada Lovelace. Her achievements include writing a program for Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, developing a math-like algorithm that helped to lay the foundations for computer science, and coining the term "programming." She also wrote about the importance of computers for scientific research and even translated works by John Jacob Astor on horse-racing into English for publication.
Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist and mathematician. In her lifetime, she was one of the most influential people in computing, credited with inventing the first compiler and co-inventing COBOL. She also created the first computer program that could be used to calculate a path through a maze. Hopper is often referred to as the "Mother of Modern Computing" because of her work on compilers, operating systems, and software development. Her development of COBOL has been called "one of the most important innovations in business history." In 1982, Grace Hopper became the first woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her contributions to information processing.
Marissa Mayer is a digital marketer, business executive, and technology entrepreneur. She held the position of CEO of Yahoo for five years before leaving to join Google, where she now leads the company's global online sales and operations. Mayer was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to parents who both worked in engineering. Her father taught her how to program at an early age, and it became clear that she had an aptitude for computers. After graduating from high school in 1987 at age 15, Mayer went on to study computer science at the University of Michigan. At the U-M School of Information and Computer Science (SCIS), she continued her studies under Don Knuth—the creator of the seminal computer science textbook "The Art of Computer Programming"—and graduated in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in CS. In 1995, when Yahoo was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo, Mayer was hired as one of its first employees and served as director of search products from 1996-2000. In 2000 she left Yahoo and co-founded Aardvark —a company that created search engines—with Eric Krimminger and Larry Weber. The company soon shut down due to poor performance. In 2004 Mayer joined Google Inc., where she eventually became one of two female founders on the board alongside Susan Wojcicki (who led YouTube). In 2007 Mayer was appointed Senior Vice President (SVP) —the highest.
Susan Wojcicki is the current CEO of Youtube, a website with over one billion users worldwide. She became YouTube’s CEO in 2014 and has helped oversee the site's meteoric rise from its beginnings as a simple video sharing website to a global multimedia powerhouse in just a decade. She also spearheaded major changes to YouTube that have led to the increased adoption and use of technology by young people across the globe. Wojcicki received her Bachelor of Science degree from Harvard University before going on to get her Master of Business Administration from Yale. As an undergraduate, she studied psychology but did not expect to become involved in tech until later on in life. However, after receiving her MBA, she went for a job at McKinsey & Company before joining Google as their VP of Product Management where she oversaw some of those early product changes that led directly to YouTube's success today.
With the tech industry continuing to grow at a rapid rate and with more women going into the field, it’s important to know the history of women who have paved the way for the future. Women Who Changed the Technology World serves as an inspirational read for anyone wanting to learn about some of the most influential women in tech. But some of the most interesting parts of this book are the stories behind each woman’s legacy. For example, Susan Wojcicki talks about the long process of convincing Microsoft to open up their programming language to non-technical people. Marissa Mayer talks about how Silicon Valley has changed over time and how women are now more accepted in tech.