Women’s History Month: A Look at Women in IT
While the world of technology is often seen as male-dominated, many women have made dramatic marks in the IT field. Not only were they amazing innovators, but some fundamentally altered the landscape through new developments and their creativity.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, here is a look at some of the most influential women in IT.
Ada Lovelace (Ada King, countess of Lovelace), a mathematician, has a unique place in history, as she is credited with being the first computer programmer in the world. She was friends with Charles Babbage, a machine-oriented inventor, and after becoming interested in his creations, began doing some innovating herself.
She created detailed outlines for the Analytical Engine, specifically how the machine could compute Bernoulli numbers. While only a portion of the Analytical Engine was actually brought to life, Ada Lovelace’s annotations still left their mark, causing her to claim her spot as the first computer programmer.
In the world of computer programming, Grace Hopper, a U.S. Navy rear admiral and mathematician, was a pioneer when it came to the development of computer technology. Along with becoming one of the first Mark I computer programmers as part of the Ordnance’s Computation Project at Harvard University, she also authored A Manual of Operation for the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, which was the first computer manual.
When a moth harmed the Mark I, she even coined the term “bug” to describe a computer-related failure. Additionally, she assisted with UNIVAC I, the world’s first commercial electronic computer, as well as with the creation of naval applications using COBOL, among other accomplishments.
Katherine Johnson was crucial to the success of NASA in the 1950s and 1960s. She was one of the women whose stories were immortalized in Hidden Figures in 2016, a film that highlighted the technical contributions of African American women to the NASA space program.
While her accomplishments were numerous, one of the most momentous points in her career involved preparations for John Glenn’s orbital mission. She ensured the accuracy of critical calculations that influenced the flight module’s trajectory, playing a significant role in the flight’s ultimate success.
Katherine Johnson also considered her work on Project Apollo’s Lunar Module to be one of the career’s brightest moments, as well as time spent working on the Space Shuttle and Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS).
A computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers, Margaret Hamilton is recognized for coining the term “software engineer.” She not only created computer code associated with the Apollo missions, but she also led a team that developed software for the guidance and control systems, making her one of the minds that ultimately brought astronauts to the Moon.
Margaret Hamilton was also involved in many other noteworthy projects, including the first U.S. air defense system, the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) project.
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That’s a look at just a few of the amazing women who have made their marks in the IT space. If you’d like to learn more, the team at VincentBenja can help. Contact us today.