Women in Technology – Heroes are Everywhere

Women in Technology – Heroes are Everywhere

Velma from Scooby Doo with her thick glasses, detailed notes, and nerdy giggle may help the gang catch the baddie, but she doesn’t help women get anywhere when it comes to overcoming the geeky general stereotype that is women in technology.

Ever heard of Bletchley Park? You may have seen the TV series based on this moment in history when women across the UK were brought together during the Second World War to find and interpret enemy codes.

Did you know that many of the first computers were created and developed during this period, and these women were intimately involved in the development of them?

Selected for different intellectual strengths such as languages, chess experts, crossword enthusiasts, or mathematicians, women were sought out from the outset of the war in 1939 to work at Bletchley.

Reputed to have cut the war short by two to four years, the high intelligence produced, codenamed Ultra, was obtained through the decryption of the ciphers and codes of several Axis countries via a secret radio intercept station.

It’s only in recent years that the full extent of the part these women played in the war has come to light.

But there are still unsung heroes to be found amongst the women in technology currently.

Like Deborah Estrin – a pioneer and Director of the Center for Embedded Network Sensing, who works on connecting a collection of tiny microprocessors to sensing devices – think infrared cameras and motion detectors – which, when spread across a wide area, monitors the surroundings and detects changes.

Or Rosalind Picard who pioneered the field of affective computing – a field of computer science that enables machines to recognise and interpret human emotions, meaning the future consists of wearable computing.

Whilst these achievements may not have such direct and immediate affects as the work the Bletchley park workers undertook had, they are still moving society forward through technological advances that will help sculpt the world future generations will live in.

And you only have to look at the likes of Sheryl Sandburg – COO of Facebook – and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo to see how powerful and popular a woman can be in the technology industry.

As Mayer puts it, “I was Google’s first woman engineer” and “I refuse to be stereotyped.”

Zoe Cunningham, MD of Softwire Technology and Chair of the Small Software Association, lists the reasons why tech is such a great industry for women as being down to the support you receive from other women working in similar positions, the role models you see bursting through in the media everyday, the modern attitude, flexibility in working hours and professional development, the money you can earn in a booming sector, and the interesting and engaging career you have ahead of you.

Should you choose to enter into IT of course…

Source: The Learning People