Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #272 11/12/2014

Question: Have women led in computing technology?


Quite often I am asked if there are opportunities for women in computers and information technology. Yes there are and some of the pioneers in the field were and are women

There is an interesting article on women in computing by NPR at http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonuazPZKXonjHpfsX67uspXqK1lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4ATsFiI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFSrXMMbZmwLgFWBU%3D†† The article says that women studying computers dropped after 1980 and is just started rising again.

Having gone to college learning computers in the 1970s, I find this article interesting as it has always been told to me from then when I was in college to when started teaching after that and to today that this is a male program.† In college my classes were mostly women, but I was in unique situation being one of first men at a former womenís college.† However teaching at technical colleges since, quite often my classes have been majority women except the early 2000s when I was at HGTC and the first couple years here at GNTC.† Not sure why the shift then.† Just like my day Cisco class now (5 of 6 are women) my data processing classes in 80s at STC were often 80-90% women.†

Even though I would always hear it was male dominated, pictures were women with computers.† I also know that the people called computers in the 40s (that was a real job title for people who sat in Washington doing calculations for artillery tables) were mostly women.† My mom was one of them.† I have her score sheet from the test to be a computer.† So I am the son of a computer. Lol

Some of the important pioneers in computing who were women are Lady Ada Augusta Lovelace (the poet Lord Byronís daughter) who wrote the programs to run the differential engine developed by Charles Babbage (with her assistance) in the 1850s that was a predecessor to todayís computers

Grace Hopper helped develop the ENIAC computer (considered by some as the first electronic computer) in the 1940s and then led the development of the COBOL language that at one time was the language most used and is still used for the back bone processing quite often in business applications. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Atlanta once.

Meg Whitman has been president of Hewlett-Packard, a major computer company for several years.

Yes the computing and information technology field is open to all different people with lots of possibilities.