As the last several days have unfolded with all eyes and media focused on the new United States, we thought we would take a look back at some of the women who have shaped the technology industry into what it has become today.   As we researched, we came across the most notable women in technology from 1843, to today’s leading engineer executive.  Here is just a sample of the brilliant women we were inspired by:

  • Ada Lovelace – Named the Enchantress of Number, in 1843, Ada developed what appears to be the first published algorithm for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine which was intended to count Bernoulli numbers. Whilst Ada would never live to see the machine built, her notes, journals and documentation is said to be the world’s first description of a computer and its software. A high-level computer programming language now boasts her name, as well as the annual Ada Lovelace Day celebrated in mid-October.
  • Hedy Lamarr – in 1942, Lamarr received a patent on technology to help the Navy remote control torpedoes by a system called frequency hopping, a method of sending radio signals from different frequency channels.  The concept is now used in secure military communications, and part of many technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • The ENIAC Programmers – this group of 6 young women, called “Computers” in 1945, were selected to work on the first all-electronic digital computer, which at the time consisted of 18,000 vacuum tubes and forty 8 foot panels.  The women had no manuals or training courses, only logical diagrams to assist in making it work.  They physically program the 3000 switches, dozens of cables and route the data and program pulses by hand. Now that would take some serious finesse!
  • Grace Hopper – a Navy Rear Admiral, she helped invent some early programming languages, most famously the COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language).  Talk about ladies learning code!
  • Susan Kare – a woman with iconic graphic design skills who notably worked alongside Steve Jobs to shape many of the common interface elements of the Mac.  The original Happy Mac Icon, the little command button symbol… that was Kare!
  • Radia Perlman – this network engineer created the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which in turn made it possible to build large networks using Ethernet.  Her recent work is the creation of STPs replacement, Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) which does exactly what it says!
  • Meg Whitman – In 2014, this CEO of HP was named at spot 20 in Forbes List of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World.  Boasting a B.A. with honours from Princeton, and an M.B.A. from Harvard, Whitman oversaw the rise of eBay as it grew from a staff of 30 to 15,000 and a revenue of $4M to $8 billion.
  • Marissa Mayer – employee #20 in 1999 at a little startup called Google.  This engineer powerhouse now leads product management and engineering for Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View and Latitude and at 36, she is the youngest member of Google’s executive operating committee.These women, along with thousands of others have shaped our world and helped to advance our technological systems, as well as empower and inspire our youth.  From women learning code, to building advanced algorithms and programs which shape and change our every day life, our future is bright and full of amazing possibilities that have yet to be dreamed of.