So much of the work women do goes unnoticed, and since March is Women’s History Month, we wanted to do our part to help others take notice.
Women Have Always Played A Massive Role In Tech
History is complex, and there are a lot of important stories that go unnoticed, and unfortunately, a lot of these stories are the stories of women in tech.
At Hackbright Academy, our primary goal is to help change the gender ratio in tech, and we feel like we can’t do that unless we tell the stories of women in the past whose shoulders we’re standing on and whose work we’re building on. Additionally, we can’t change the gender ratio in tech if we aren’t celebrating the success of women who represent the future of tech.
For this reason, we’ve decided to highlight some of our favorite women in tech from the past and the present.
10 Women Past And Present Influencing Tech
History is as much about where we’re going as it is about where we come from. To understand our future, we have to understand the shoulders upon which we stand on. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 extraordinary women who have paved the way and inspired us too.
Photo Credit: Chris Monk
Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and is often called the first computer programmer. She wrote the first machine algorithm for a computing machine. She wrote her algorithm with pen and paper. And this algorithm would serve as the first example of what code could do when technology eventually caught up to human mathematics.
Chloe Condon is a Senior Developer Advocate and self-proclaimed Beanie Baby taxidermist who previously worked for Microsoft. She’s made a big name for herself on Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch by advocating for women entering or already in the tech industry.
Chloe shared with us this piece of advice for women looking to help change the ratio in tech.
Be authentically you. The beauty of non-traditional background folks entering tech is the creativity and new perspectives it brings to an industry that so desperately needs more variety. If you don’t think you belong in tech: trust me: we need you.
Photo Credit: Karen*
Grace Hopper for a United States Navy rear admiral and computer scientist. She was also one of the first programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I computer. She helped develop the first, high-level computer programming language COBOL. She also invented the first compiler that translated code to machine learning.
Jessica graduated from Hackbright Academy and made her way to IBM where she worked as a data engineer and data scientist. She has since left IBM and created her own consulting agence called AMuse-Me LLC where she’s the lead developer and CEO. Jessica’s most recent project includes working with a sports startup in the neuroscience space on their flagship Android AR app.
This is Jessica’s advice for women who are interested in breaking into tech.
Know that you belong here; you aren’t here by accident. Find and stay in communities where you can have fun learning in a safe environment. It’s okay to not know everything – nobody does. Teach everything you know!
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson
Photo Credit: Robert Sullivan*
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson were all important mathematicians and computer scientists who helped improve NASA’s space exploration technology during a pivotal moment in the US space race. These three women of color worked in a still-segregated and male-dominated field and played irreplaceable roles in the US space race.
Erica Johnson is a Hackbright Academy grad, entrepreneur, and angel investor who’s made Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list. She is the co-founder of a unicorn mental health startup and currently serves as a strategic advisor to founders and startups in the fast-evolving digital health space.
Here’s Erica’s advice for women who are thinking of using Hackbright Academy.
Get to know and befriend your fellow Hackbright classmates. These people can be your support network, future colleagues, and even future job referrals. You’re in incredible company and don’t underestimate the value of this support network!
Photo Credit: Film Star Vintage*
Hedy Lamarr was an American actress and inventor. Not only was she known for her roles in movies like Ecstasy or Samson Delilah, but her inventions would serve as the basis for today’s WiFi, HPS, and Bluetooth communication systems.
Angie is the Founder of Girl Geek X, a community of women in tech that has hosted over 250 events for women in tech over the past decade. Girl Geek X has helped spotlight 1,000+ female speakers and provided a community for many more women to connect, share, and help one another within the tech industry.
Here’s some advice that Angie had for any women interested in working in tech.
Attend events for networking and learning about company culture, the people who work there, and also talk with other people in the room – everyone knows someone who is hiring, so make connections and follow up on LinkedIn or directly with email. Don’t be afraid to ask for things — be concise, relevant, and brave.
Photo Credit: Eleanor Jaekel*
Annie Easley is an African-american woman who is best known for developing the software used on the US’s Centaur rocket stage. She was also one of the first African-american women to be employed by NASA ever. Her work in energy-conversion technology would play an important role in NASA’s space efforts for years to come.
Ashley Trinh is our Program Director here at Hackbright Academy. She spends her days helping women and people who are gender-diverse break into the tech industry and gain entry-level employment as software engineers.
Here is some advice she has for those looking to get into tech.
Get comfortable with struggling. Sitting with a problem that you have no idea how to solve for a couple hours or even a couple days is normal in software engineering. This can be a weird space to occupy, especially if you haven’t been in a classroom in a while or you’ve been pretty successful in your current career, but it’s a normal part of the engineering experience.
*These photos were used with the permission of the owners of the photos. None of the photos represent an endorsement of Hackbright Academy.
How Can I Celebrate Women In Tech For Women’s History Month?
Do you want to see what women in tech are doing now or what the future of tech looks like for women? If you’re looking to celebrate the future of women in tech during this Women’s History Month, you could do that by attending one of the following events happening this month!
- California Conference for Women presented by Google
- The California Conference for Women provides connection, motivation, inspiration, and skill-building in a specially designed virtual format. Their workshops cover everything from leadership, career advancement, workplace equity and inclusion, health, work/life balance, and more.
- Hackbright’s HIGMJ Panel
- Hackbright’s “How I Got My Job” Panels include a variety of Hackbright Academy grads who share their experiences breaking into tech. They talk about what did work for them, what didn’t work, and they answer audience questions too.
- Smithsonian Women’s Futures Month Exhibit
- This exhibit will feature 120 life-size 3D-printed statues to be installed on and around the National Mall. The statues will feature a diverse coalition of contemporary women STEM innovators who have done everything from protecting wildlife, discovering galaxies, building YouTube’s platform, and trying to cure cancer.
- Girl Geek X Elevate Virtual Conference
- Girl Geek X is a community of women who work in tech. They feature female speakers in the industry who share their career insights with other Girl Geeks and they provide a space for professional women to network and connect with others.
- Tech Know Day Event
- TECH(K)NOW Day is a twice-yearly Women in Tech conference that showcases cis and trans women as well as people that are who work in tech. They cover just about every tech topic imaginable including coding, testing, web, mobile, games, enterprise systems, frontend, backend, DevOps, cloud, IoT, accessibility, cybersecurity, infosec, AI, machine learning, deep learning, data science, robotics, AR, VR, MR, blockchain, innovation, opensource, UX/UI/Design, product management, project management.
- This Dot Media IWD Event
- This Dot Media is trying to create a more inclusive web by providing members with free developer resources. They help people keep up with the evolution of the web platform through their articles, online events, videos, and podcasts.
- 1600 International Women’s Day
- 1600 Cyber and 1600 Avenue’s NPCC are taking to their own stage to bring together tech advocates, DEI changemakers, and other key tech community influencers to share their stories and hopes for the women in tech and business for 2022.
- Career Insights for Women in Tech
- Insight Forums is hosting a virtual “lunch break of inspiration” featuring “some of the South’s most brilliant women” in tech. This three-hour event will provide women with the opportunity to hear advice from women in the industry, chat about their experiences and challenges, and explore career opportunities at AND.
Want To Help Change The Ratio In Tech? HackBright Can Help!
Hackbright Academy is a coding bootcamp with the goal to change the gender ratio in tech.
We help women and people who are gender-diverse get the software engineering education that they need to break into the industry or upskill their current careers. Whether you’re looking to go into business yourself, vying for a more technical promotion, or just want to break into the industry, Hackbright Academy is here to help you reach your professional goals.
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