Ada Lovelace shouldn’t just be an inspiration to female programmers—she’s truly an inspiration to everyone who has ever used technology. Lovelace worked closely with Charles Babbage on his mechanical general-purpose computer, The Analytical Engine, and she’s widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer—male or female.
The second Tuesday of every October, the tech community celebrates Lovelace’s life and legacy. The aim of the holiday is to encourage more women to enter science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and become roles models to a future generation of women scientists and programmers.
As a female programmer myself, I have incredible respect for Ada Lovelace and the other trailblazing women, like Grace Hopper, who had an early impact on the field. But I also think we need to talk more about the women who are influencing programming today.
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So, in honor of Ada Lovelace, here are ten rockstar women computer scientists and developers that every programmer (and, really, everyone!) should follow. These are women who…
… develop and influence cutting edge programming languages
- Sandi Metz: author of Practice Object-Oriented Design in Ruby: An Agile Primer
- Adele Goldberg: co-creator for the Smalltalk-80 programming language as well as various object-oriented programming language concepts
… win prestigious awards
- Frances E. Allen: the first female winner of the A.M. Turing Award, considered to be the Nobel Prize of computer awards
- Barbara H. Liskov: another winner of the A.M. Turing Award for designing programming languages that helped lead to the development of object-oriented programming
… break stereotypes at tech companies
- Tracy Chou: a software engineer at Pinterest who has raised awareness and advocated for diversity in the tech field; she is a co-founder of the advocacy group Project Include
- Marissa Mayer: while you may know her as the President and CEO of Yahoo!, Mayer was also the first female engineer at Google
- Ruchi Sanghvi: Facebook’s first female engineer; she played a pivotal role in the development of Facebook’s News Feed feature
… lead the way for other women and girls
- Anita Borg: a computer scientist who founded the Institute for Women and Technology and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
- Saron Yitbarek: shout out to our our alum Saron who founded codenewbie, a supportive online community for (you guessed it) code newbies
- Suma Reddy: another inspiring Flatiron grad who created friend-to-friend discovery application and startup (which she presented at the White House!); Suma also co-chairs Lesbians Who Tech, a community of queer women in and around tech
Inspired to make your own contributions to Lovelace’s legacy? Start learning how to code with Flatiron School’s new Bootcamp Prep course.