Famous women in technology and what we can learn from them

The media is full of current male celebrity-status figures in IT and tech, notable examples include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk. And whilst theirs and countless other scientists’ contributions to the modern world of tech and IT cannot be denied – don’t be fooled – there are many overlooked women who have historically contributed to major developments and who are currently paving the way for new and exciting innovations!

7 famous women in technology

There are thousands of women throughout history who have contributed to the current level of IT and technology knowledge and learning we have and enjoy, picking out just a few was a tough exercise!

Ada Lovelace: The world’s first computer programmer

Born in 1852 as the daughter of romantic poet, Lord Byron, Ada’s mathematical skills laid the foundation of the development of computer programming languages. She wrote copious notes on early scientist, Charles Babbage’s ‘analytical engine’ that demonstrated how engines could be adapted to produce calculations.

Grace Hopper: Computer scientist

Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper’s work led to the development of one of the earliest programming languages, COBOL. She also recorded the first ever computer bug and is credited with inventing the phrase: ‘It is better to ask for forgiveness that to ask for permission.’

Hedy Lamarr: Hollywood legend and the inventor of WiFi

Not only was Hedy a Hollywood starlet, she was also a self-taught inventor. She was awarded a patent for her ‘secret communication system’ in 1942, which was intended to be used as a way of scrambling frequencies for radio-guided torpedoes in WW2. The idea and much of her research was used as the foundation for WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies.

Parisa Tabriz: Browser Boss & Security Princess

Joining Google in 2007, Parisa is in charge of protecting billions of Google Chrome browser users from hackers and malicious software by pre-empting black-hat hackers. This information security manager, or self-titled Security Princess, is leading the charge when it comes to encouraging women in tech and IT.

Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code

Best-selling author and the driving force behind the influential TED Talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”, Saujani is a powerful voice for equal opportunities within tech and IT fields. She started the non-profit Girls Who Code to try and increase the number of women in computer sciences.

Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

Google’s sixteenth hire and original marketing manager, Wojcicki was instrumental in the development of Google Images. After suggesting to Google that they acquire the streaming service, YouTube, she then went on to become their CEO in 2014

Dr. Fei-Fei Li, co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centred AI Institute

Professor at Stanford, Dr Li is most known for her work on the ImageNet project. Her work contributed to a database of over 15 million images aimed at training a computer to recognise and understand an image. She also co-founded AI4ALL, a non-profit that improved diversity in AI fields.

What can we learn from women in IT and tech?

The are several lessons we can take away from these amazingly inspirational women in tech and IT:

  • Believe in yourself
  • Fight your corner
  • Lead by example
  • Pursue your interests and passions

Their hard work and achievements are not only leading the way in the tech and IT industries (and all industries that use tech and IT), but are also inspiring women to pursue IT and tech more than ever before, they act as inspirational role models and prove that tech and IT doesn’t have to be an ‘all boys’ club!