Computer science is one of the historically male-dominated fields. Recently, however, there has been a shift towards encouraging women to pursue careers in mathematics, engineering, technology and science. Although the number of female computer scientists is still small, we can thank the following three women for changing the game:
1. Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer. She is mainly known for her work on the Analytical Engine, Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer. Her writings predicted that computers would in future be able to carry out complex calculations more accurately and faster than humans. She also predicted development of machines that use statistical data to increasingly improve on certain jobs —otherwise known as AI. She is recognized by some people as the first computer programmer who wrote to guide future generations.
2. Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper was a United States Navy rear admiral and an American computer scientist. She graduated with a degree in physics and math in 1928. She created a compiler that became the basis of COBOL, an advanced programming language that is still in use today.
3. Marsha Rhea Williams
Marsha Rhea Williams was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Computer Science. Beyond her inspiring academic career, she worked at IBM and was a National Science Foundation fellow. Today, she serves as a board member for the Data Processing Management Association.