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15 Women Coders and Techies Who Inspire Us

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Published

8 Mar 2016

Duration

7 minute read

There’s a lot of different jobs in the tech industry, and many brilliant women who work in them. The women below are in user experience design, game development, open source advocacy, web development, enterprise, education, research, management, accessibility, embedded systems, quality assurance, graphics and security. They represent the opportunities the tech industry presents to make an impact on the world.

They come from a wide range of educational backgrounds. Some were self taught, others had more of a humanities background, others completed PhDs in computer science. They comprise four generations of women who code. They reveal that it is important to get girls with an aptitude in design and mathematics to consider tech by representing it as an option, and the potential of what women are able to do if they’re not pushed out.

In Australia, only 28% of technology workers are women. In the US, the number is 26%, down from 35% in 1990. This simply shouldn’t be! Having more women in tech is not only good for the industry, it’s also beneficial for the world.

Ruth Porat, Google’s CTO, has said, “This is not just the right thing to do socially. It's the right thing to do for your business”. A 2009 paper by the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies also found that technical work teams with women were better at staying on schedule and had lower project costs, while a Lehman Brothers survey of 100 teams found that "gender balanced" teams were most likely to experiment, be creative, share knowledge, and fulfill tasks.

The following 15 women coders and admirable techies never fail to inspire us:

 

Belinda Teh

Software developer at Shoes of Prey. 3D rendering, image manipulation and processing, web development. She used to do robotics as part of UNSW rUNSWIFT and was part of the 2014 team which won Robocup.

 

Margaret Hamilton

She studied maths and philosophy at university. Her first major project was to create a computer system that could predict weather systems and track their movements through simulators, and it set her on the path to becoming the lead developer for apollo flight software. Later in her career she popularised the term ‘software engineering’ as she saw it was as much a science as an art.

 

Danese Cooper


An American advocate of Open Source, she is currently the CTO of Wikimedia, Chairwoman of NodeJS Foundation and head of Open Source at Paypal. Previously, she managed and advised on open source at Sun Microsystems, Intel, Symantec, Apple. Her alma mater is University of California where she has a B.A.

 

Pia Waugh

A community leader for open source, as the director of Gov 2.0 in the Australian Department of Finance, she set up and ran Govhack for 4 years after advising Kate Lundy.

 

Leah Culver

Currently developer evangelist at Dropbox. speaking at conferences, organizing events, helping with developer support, updating documentation, and creating sample applications built on Dropbox APIs. Her open source work includes writing of the OAuth and oEmbed API specs.

 

Leigh Honeywell

Currently Security Engineer at Slack. She’s also worked in those roles at Salesforce, Heroku, Microsoft and Symantec. Complete a BS Comp Sci and Equity Studies.

 

Marissa Mayer

She was one of Google’s first 20 engineers and now CEO at Yahoo. At Google she started the Assistant Project Manager project in 2002, and later became Vice President of search products and user experience, before moving to Yahoo.

 

Emily Chang

UX and interaction design specialist, currently Co-Creative Director of Creative Cloud. She established web design agency ideacodes., which after 9 years, with distinguished clients like IDEO, GigaOM, Stanford, was acqui-hired by Adobe in 2013.

 

Tracy Chou

Currently software lead at Pinterest and consultant at United States Digital Service which is working to transform how the US federal government delivers services online. She was the second engineer at Quora. She completed a MS Computer Science and BS Elec Eng at Stanford, mentors at hackathons and programming bootcamps.

 

Aleissia Laidacker

She is a game developer. Lead AI and gameplay at Assassin’s Creed. She contributes to the community by advising The Ada Institute and teaching game development to children through Scratch.

 

Alice Boxhall

Codes accessibility tools for Google Chrome, and was also the originator of Accessibility Developer Tools.

 

Cathy Edwards

Former CTO of Chomp, an app search engine that was acquired by Apple in 2012, She created and implemented all engineering, product management and design processes. Filed 11 patents on app search algorithms and interaction design.

 

Yvonne Everett

When younger she was in embedded systems (fruit packing, lung function) She’s now an investor at Scale Investors, a female focused angel investor network, and non executive director at Switch Automation, a IoT company.

 

Penny Wyatt

Currently lead of JIRA QA at Atlassian. She was Software Development Engineer in Test at Microsoft.

 

Sister Keller

The first woman to get a PhD in computer science! She studied at DePaul University, where she received a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Mathematics and Physics. She helped develop the computer language BASIC and then founded the computer science department at Clarke College in Iowa, which she directed for 20 years.


LEARN MORE ABOUT CAREER CHANGE

 

THE MINDSET OF A SUCCESSFUL CAREER CHANGER

HOW TO INTERVIEW AT GREAT TECH COMPANIES 

QUALITIES OF A SUCCESSFUL BOOTCAMP GRADUATE



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