We want you all to close your eyes for 15 seconds and imagine a picture of a programmer in your head.… What did you see??
How many of you pictured a guy sitting alone at a computer? maybe kind of nerdy, pocket protector.
How many of you pictured a young guy in a hoodie? maybe looks a little like Mark Zuckerberg perhaps.
How many of you pictured a woman or a young girl looking at her computer with curiosity and thinking about some stuff? Maybe no one or the number of people is less…Why is that?
Well, this is how most of us imagine when we hear about a diligent programmer or a coder. This is how the subconscious works. A lot of people raise their eyebrows and get surprised when they listen that a girl is a programmer…their reaction is like…Ewwww programming…why did she choose this field?… Ohh. She might be a genius person. A lot of people also consider that girls are very talkative…they even don’t listen to their spouse when they start speaking…(just kidding…) but hold on…what would be your reaction if your future wife or your girlfriend is a programmer and interested in talking to the computers in a different language..?(don’t imagine a model or an actor, just a programmer)…what would be your reaction if your daughter comes to you and say “I have to play with machines, not with dolls” (a question for parents…).
Programmers are making some of the biggest advances in our society. They are solving a lot of problems to make our lives better but today programming is still a boy’s club. It’s not just in India but also in other countries, the ratio of female programmers is very less. Do you know that only 20% of all U.S. computer programmers are female? Do you know that in open-source fields, only 10% of programmers are women? You can read the complete survey Gender disparity in computing.
Well, this is a serious problem that exists in our culture or society…there are more male “Geeks” than female “Geeks”. Women stay away from coding and don’t enter tech due to several reasons and we will discuss that in detail. We will also discuss why women should enter in coding. Before that let’s discuss some of the female programmers who changed the world back in the 19’s and we will also discuss some of the female programmers in the present who are doing a great job and ruling the tech industry.
5 Female Programmers Who Changed The World In The Past
1. Ada Lovelace: You will be surprised that the first computer programmer was this lady. She was a mathematician in Victorian Times. She is known for her contribution to the mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine created by Charles Babbage.
2. Kathleen Booth: She is the woman who wrote the first Assembly language. She and her husband also mentioned Artificial Intelligence as a possible future application of computing machines.
3. Margaret Hamilton: One more surprise…Margaret Hamilton is the lady who coined the term “Software Engineering” to this world. She created the software Apollo Guide Computer in the Apollo Space Program and her code got humans on the moon.
4. Grace Hopper: COBOL…. you might have heard this name but do you know that it was created by a female programmer Grace Hopper. She invented this compiler that converted English terms into machine code understood by computers.
5. Joan Clarke: An Egnlish cryptanalyst who is well known for her role as a code-breaker during the Second World War. She worked along with Alan Turing and decrypted the German Enigma messages.
Read in detail about all these fabulous women programmers from the link 5 Women Programmers Who Changed The World!. Let’s come into the present moment and discuss who are some awesome female programmers in the present time.
5 Famous Female Programmers in Today’s Tech World
1. Jade Raymond: If you have ever played Assasin’s Creed then you will be surprised to know that the producer of Assassin’s Creed is a female programmer, Jade Raymond. Jade is a Canadian video game producer, founder of Electronic Arts’ Motive Studios and founder of Ubisoft Toronto. Well, she is a lot of gamers dream girl and she is a well-known face in the programming world. She completed her bachelor’s in computer science. Fascinated with games, she started her career after graduation in Sony as a Programmer.
2. Gayle Laakmann McDowell: Are you dreaming about getting into your dream companies…Google, Mircosoft, Facebook or Amazon as a software engineer? If you are then you might have heard the book name “Cracking the Coding Interviews”. Yes, this book has helped a lot of students and developers to crack the interviews of these companies and the author of this book is this lady who worked as a software engineer in Google, hired and trained a lot of software engineers. She is also the founder of CareerCup, a website that helps a lot of students in coding interview preparation. You will see the reflection of her technical knowledge and experiences in her books. Now just imagine….how is it like learning programming not from a male but a female software engineer (smiling…yeah??).
3. Ruchi Sanghvi: An Indian Computer Engineer and the First Female Engineer hired by Facebook. She quit Facebook and in 2011, she started her own company Cove, with two other co-founders. Later she sold her company to Dropbox and landed a job there as a VP of operations. Sanghvi was one of the main people working on the first version of Facebook’s News Feed product, first launched in September 2006. Sanghvi also became the product lead for the Facebook Platform.
4. Marissa Mayer: The lady was employee No. 20 at Google and the company’s first female engineer. She helped Google develop its search technologies and worked on a long list of other key products including images, maps, books, news, and the toolbar. She worked very hard at Google for as many as 130 hours a week.. Her hard work paid off and later she became the vice president of Google Search Products and User Experience. In the end, don’t be surprised if we say that in 2012 Mayer became the president and CEO of Yahoo!.
5. Tracy Chou: A software engineer and advocate for diversity in her field. This lady is the finest example of how good can females are at diverse programming needs. Chou studied computer science at Stanford University with a specialization in machine learning and artificial intelligence. She has the distinction of working with the topmost tech companies in the world. She has prior work experience at Pinterest, Quora and internship experience at Rocket Fuel Inc., Google, and Facebook.
Why Woman Stay Away From Coding?
Research done by Stanford’s Computer Science department concludes the lack of role models as one of the main reasons why women no longer choose to pursue Computer Science. We also did a lot of research and found some of the opinions of programmers and other people from different countries (not just India). Some people claimed that most girls just don’t have an interest in programming, so they go for other career options. Men are more often interested in technical subjects than women. Now we have some interesting facts to reveal…
1. A survey commissioned by Microsoft found that girls in Europe start losing interest in Math and Science when they are about 15. Some people think that “Well, biologically maybe girls just aren’t good as those subjects and that’s just the way it is, you can’t fight nature” but there is a study done across 65 countries around the world where they tested boys and girls on the same science test. Around the world, the girls outperformed the boys, but not in the U.S. What the study suggests that it’s not a biological thing, this is a cultural thing..
2. Some researchers looked at approximately 3m pull requests submitted on GitHub (online developer community) and found that code written by women was approved at a higher rate (78.6%) than code written by men (74.6%).
A lot of girls when grew up, are taught at a very young age that they are the princess of their parents and they are pretty (why not smart…?). The majority of parents (not all) tell the stories of Cinderella and Snow White (why not the interesting things about puzzles and code?). The majority of parents (not all) are willing to buy computers, computer game consoles, and other such gadgets for boys, but seem to be less willing to do so for their girls.
Sadly, it’s a byproduct of how society has evolved in several centuries that has made us predisposed to assume and behold certain beliefs. A belief that programming is boring and intimidating, there is no art and no creativity, it is a stressful job and thus it’s not fit for the woman. Somewhere these all are the reasons created a belief that woman is not suitable for the jobs that involve logical, critical and analytical thinking. Here we should read about the stories of female programmers who are role models for us (we have discussed). How they grew up, their background, their education and how they entered programming.
Why Women Should Learn to Code?
Programmers can build anything which they dream up in their head and it’s an amazing skill set. You will find fewer role models in programming for yourself, you will be facing some challenges or problems for which the solution doesn’t exist anywhere and you will have to come up with your solution that hasn’t designed before. Is it scary…??? but being a girl can you just imagine the feeling when you will come up with a solution that no one has discovered before? Isn’t it empowering to be able to build whatever you want?
It is a myth that programming involves only logical and analytical skillset. Programming is a creative skillset and you will realize this once you will enter in programming, you will also use your artistic skills with programming. Maybe you will be humiliated, maybe you will start doubting yourself and saying that “this (programming) isn’t for me and I am not good at this stuff (only boys can do), I should give up programming and I don’t fit here but hold on… you need to understand that men also face the same problem in programming so it’s not about a specific job is suitable for a specific gender, it’s also not about being born genius. It’s all about how hard you work (Remember Marissa Mayer?).
Programming develops critical thinking skills and reasoning skills. Programming builds confidence and it also improves your self-esteem. It will help you to take challenges in life and you can become a role model as well for a lot of people. A lot of job opportunities are there as well. You are a princess but remember that you have so much potential and you can do something more than that. So if you think that it’s a boring, stressful and intimidating job then close your eyes and imagine the picture of Jade Raymond (it’s a glamourous job).
This International Women’s Day, GeeksforGeeks bring Coderita which is a online coding competition for Women. The registration is free. So get registered and show your coding skills.