World’s first computer programmer is a woman: Ada Lovelace

Mar 09, 2015 by Madalina Botez in  Women In Tech

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The week to celebrate women in IT kicks off. Let’s bring upfront the stories of #famousITwomen who’ve made breakthrough contributions along the history. 

Did you know that the world’s first computer programmer is a woman? Ada Lovelace. Our first source of inspiration. She was an English mathematician and writer. Her best recognized work is on Charles Babbage’s early in 1842 mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. This was monumental in paving the way for the modern day computers.

Her notes on the Analytical Engine are considered the first algorithm ever used to implement on a computer. She also developed a vision on the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching.

“The Analytical Engine, on the contrary, is not merely adapted for tabulating the results of one particular function and of no other, but for developing and tabulating any function whatever. In fact the engine may be described as being the material expression of any indefinite function of any degree of generality and complexity…”
– Lovelace, Ada. Notes upon L. F. Menabrea’s “Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage”. 1842.
“One essential object is to choose that arrangement which shall tend to reduce to a minimum the time necessary for completing the calculation.”
– Lovelace, Ada. Notes upon L. F. Menabrea’s “Sketch of The Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage”. 1842.

Hope Ada Lovelace’s story aroused your curiosity to learn from history more about IT famous women.

This week, stay tuned for the upcoming stories and win an invitation to I T.A.K.E. Unconference 2015. 

 

Software craftswomen: Franziska Sauerwein

Mar 08, 2016

In celebration of Women’s Day, this March we salute yesterday & today women’s contribution to the development of the technology and IT fields. Follow #famousITwomen to find interesting stories. They might motivate and encourage you to do something out of the ordinary in your career. 

We’ve sat down with Franziska Sauwerwein, software craftswoman. Learn more about her professional journey and lessons learned in the IT field. She will speak at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016.

#1. What’s your professional story?

Please share with us about your journey in the IT field.

Hey, my name is Franziska Sauerwein and I’m a Software Craftswoman. Puzzles have always amazed me and that’s how I got interested in Computer Science. After completing my degree I worked as a software developer and consultant for three years in Germany. I then moved to London to join Codurance in the summer of 2015.

 

My passions include Test Driven Development, Refactoring, XP techniques and high quality software development. I’m always trying to improve my skills and share knowledge. As an active member of the European Software Craftsmanship community I love to participate in unconferences and organise code retreats, hackathons, coding dojos as well as tech talks. I aim to use my skills and creativity to develop software that is reliable, easy to adapt and doing what it is supposed to do.

 

#2. What would be a lesson you’ve learned so far as practitioners in this field?

I learned that software development is much more about people than about sitting alone at a desk in a room and coding in isolation, which is great! I do enjoy coding at a high quality level but people have always fascinated me.

As developers, we have a profound influence on our society and people’s everyday lives. How we write software and what we write has an impact and with great power comes great responsibility. And how people act when developing software has a great influence on how that software turns out. For example, a team that does not have a good team culture or a lacking relationship with the business will most probably have code quality problems that stem from misunderstandings and lack of communication. And sometimes products are developed just from a developer’s perspective without the user’s needs in mind when the teams are too homogenous. This is something that should definitely be changed.

 

#3. Whom do you admire as a women IT practitioner? Why?

Please share with our audience about great women you think they make a difference in this domain.

There are so many women in IT that I admire. If I had to choose one, I’d point out Rachel Davies, an expert practitioner and coach of eXtreme Programming. If you search online for “Rachel Davies xp” (without quotes) you’ll find a lot of content, including videos of her inspiring talks. Talking to her has given me lots of insights and she keeps on inspiring me.

 

What women in IT inspire you? Let us know in a comment!
Curious to meet Franziska? Join her @ I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Software craftswomen: Alexandra Marin

Mar 24, 2016

In celebration of Women’s Day, this March we salute yesterday & today women’s contribution to the development of the technology and IT fields. Follow #famousITwomen to find interesting stories. They might motivate and encourage you to do something out of the ordinary in your career. 

The importance of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) has been gaining a momentum in the last years. At I T.A.K.E. Unconference, we value women’s contribution in IT and we believe their dedication to the software craft can be an inspiration for other practitioners.

Alexandra Marin, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016, shared more with us about her professional journey and lessons learnt in the IT field.

If you want to find more inspirational stories, we invite you to read also about Franziska Sauerwein, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference, and Grace Hopper, programming pioneer. Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.52.20 PM

 

#1. What’s your professional story?

Why did you choose to develop a career in this domain?

Dopamine junkie who loves cracking puzzles. Had my first computer in middle school and by high school had taught myself how to code. One CS degree and a few freelancing/volunteering gigs later landed my first real developer job in Germany. My traditional office career was short lived though. I decided to check for myself if freelancers really go hungry looking for work, as I had repeatedly been warned.

Turns out I enjoy taking responsibility for my own career and remote work came with unexpected benefits. Working with people and causes I truly find compelling, making and sticking to my own work schedule (amazing for dev productivity if done right) and coming into teams as an equal partner are all pretty great side effects.

 

#2. Share with us a lesson you’ve learned since you’ve been working in IT

Maybe counterintuitive, but time and again I’ve seen collaboration putting you ahead of the game. So, experience pair programming & code retreats, make open source contributions, be a speaker, offer mentorship or get a mentor. Building a network beats whiteboard practice any day of the week as far as job hunting goes.

 

#3. Whom do you admire as a women IT practitioner? Why?

I appreciate makers like Simone Giertz and Sara Chipps, creator of Jewelbots, for tackling hardware and robotics. I empathize with Julie-Ann Horvath, ex-GitHub, for a situation all too common for women in tech. Also worth following on Twitter: Iris Classon, Pinterest’s Tracy Chou, and not women per-se, but the @CallbackWomen & @PowerToFly initiatives.

 

Curious to meet Alexandra? Join her @ I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Admiral Grace Hopper, programming pioneer

Mar 09, 2016

In celebration of Women’s Day, this March we salute yesterday & today women’s contribution to the development of the technology and IT fields. Follow #famousITwomen to find interesting stories. They might motivate and encourage you to do something out of the ordinary in your career. 

The importance of women in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math has been gaining a momentum in the last years. At I T.A.K.E. Unconference, we value women’s contribution in IT and we believe their dedication to the software craft can be an inspiration for other practitioners.

Help us meet other remarkable women, from your teams and communities! For the next 5 registrations at I T.A.K.E Unconference this week, we offer an invitation for a lady colleague to join! You will receive the discount code after registering. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 3.18.26 PM

After finding the professional journey of Franziska Sauerwein, software craftswoman speaking at I T.A.K.E Unconference, we invite to find more about United States Navy Admiral Grace Hopper (1906-1992). Often defined as a woman ahead of her time, she is one of the first programmers in the history.

 

The first bug

With a PhD degree in mathematics, she was part of WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, U.S. Naval Reserve), and later joined the programming team at the new Mark I computer, at Harvard University.

One famous anecdote kept perpetuating until today about her time in the Mark I team. One day a computer failure had Hopper and her team baffled. They opened the machine and they discovered the source of the problem: a live moth was stuck in one of the electrical switches controlling a circuit. Hopper taped the offending creature into her log book and noted beside it, “first actual bug found.” She is credited with the terms “bug” and “debug” for computer errors and how to fix them.

 

The A compiler

Grace_Hopper_and_UNIVAC-300x263
Grace Hooper, UNIVAC, ~1960

Grace Hopper is also the creator of the A compiler, a program developed during her time at UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I – UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I).

After joining the consortium Conference on Data Systems Languages (CODASYL), as technical consultant on the committee, she created a validation software for COBOL to make sure the language could perform its function. COBOL, which stands for “COmmon Business-Oriented Language”, is still used in order-processing business software today.

 
 
 

First woman to …

In the course of her lifetime, Grace Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities around the world, along with numerous awards and honors including:

  • 1st winner of “Computer Science Man of the Year” award from the Data Processing Management Association in 1969
  • 1st person from the United States and the first woman from any country to be made Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society in 1973
  • 1st woman to receive the National Medal of Technology as an individual in 1991

The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, ‘Try it.’ And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances. 

 

Stay tuned & follow #famousITwomen! During the next days, we will share more stories about women who made & make history in IT.  If you want to meet remarkable software craftswomen, join us at I T.A.K.E Unconference 2016!

Help us meet other remarkable women, from your teams and communities! For the next 5 registrations at I T.A.K.E Unconference this week, we offer an invitation for a lady colleague to join! 

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