Webdroid Report

Honoring Women in Technology

In 2023, technologies like laptops, phones, video games, and the internet are privileges that we’ve grown used to in everyday life, but not many people know the history behind them. This Women’s History Month, we’re looking at the women behind modern day innovation and honoring a 21st century developed in their image.


In 2023, technologies like laptops, phones, video games, and the internet are privileges that we’ve grown used to in everyday life, but not many people know the history behind them. This Women’s History Month, we’re looking at the women behind modern day innovation and honoring a 21st century developed in their image.

Ada Lovelace – The First Programmer

Augusta Ada Lovelace, the Countess of Lovelace and daughter to Lord and Annabella Byron. Due to her natural talent and interest in mathematics, she would begin a working relationship with Charles Babbage, a man colloquially referred to as the “father of the computer.” While working with him, she published a translation of a French article on Babbage’s Analytical Machine by mathematician Luigi Federico – and then annotated it with over 12,000 words worth of notes that acted as inspiration for the first modern computer, developed by Alan Turing. These notes were also the first published description of a stepwise machine. It’s also noteworthy that, where Babbage saw only the technical capabilities of a computer, Lovelace almost prophesied the abilities of today’s technology. From her notes, the following has been cited:

A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible. Thus not only the mental and the material, but the theoretical and the practical in the mathematical world, are brought into more intimate and effective connection with each other.

Grace Hopper – Invented the First Electronic All-Digital Computer and the First Compiler

Rear admiral Grace Hopper is a name to remember as one of the first computer programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I, a general purpose computer utilized during the latter part of World War II. As a member of that project, she was partially responsible for producing the initial prototype, outlined the fundamental principles of operating machines in a 500-page manual, and had the first ever recorded use of the word “bug” in order to describe a computer malfunction. During her career she and her team were also responsible for the first programming language “compiler” (what is now regarded as a program linker), called A-0; Flow-Matic, the first programming language to use English-similar commands; and COBOL (or common business-oriented language), the first standardized general business computer language. To this day, COBOL continues to be used for business, finance, and administrative services in corporations and governments.

Dr. Gladys Mae West – Responsible for Modern Day GPS

A Virginia native, Dr. Gladys Mae West began her career in 1956 at the Naval Proving Ground (now known as the Naval Support Facility Dahlgren) in West Virginia. As a programmer for large-scale computers and a project manager for data processing systems used in analyzing satellite data, West was notable at the time as the second black woman ever hired and only one of four black employees. Now she’s instrumental to both women’s and technology’s history for her 42-year long career, which was incorporated into the Global Positioning System – what we know as GPS. During her time at Dahlgren she made significant contributions to mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth, development of satellite geodesy models, and the publication of the Data Processing System Specifications for the Geosat Satellite Radar Altimeter.

Everyday technology reaches new heights, with women playing an increasingly significant role in male-dominated spaces. The women listed above, as well as every woman working in the industry today, prove that tech is truly meant for everyone. 

Carol Shaw – The First Female Game Developer

Born and raised in Palo Alto, California, is a developer and programmer. Carol Shaw is widely regarded as the first female video game developer. A graduate of UC Berkley with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master in Computer Science, Shaw went on to be hired by Atari as a Microprocessor Software Engineer in 1978. She was hired to work on the Atari VCS, later renamed to the Atari 2600. During her time with Atari she worked on titles including 3D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978), Video Checkers (1980), and Super Breakout (1982). Later she would work for Activision, where she was again the first female game designer, and helped to produce River Raid, which would win her recognition and numerous awards. In 2017, she was the recipient of The Game Awards ‘Industry Icon’ achievement

Quiessence Phillips – Cybersecurity Innovator and Inspiration

A modern-day warrior, Quiessence Phillips has spent the past fifteen years in public and private sectors changing the cybersecurity aiming to change the industry for the better. A graduate of New York City College of Technology, Phillips uses her talents, knowledge, and wisdom to create and execute strategies that produce impact and innovation in cybersecurity. As an adjunct professor at New York University Tandon School of Engineering she had the opportunity to apply that inspiration in the classroom, and as Deputy CISO for the City of New York she created and centralized a one-of-a-kind Threat Management program for the municipality. She’s also the co-founder of non-profit organization JOURNi, a tech education non-profit based in Webdroid’s own home of Detroit, MI! Today she works to establish one of the most popular back-end languages in the world: Amazon Work Services or as it’s commonly known: AWS. She has played an integral role in the quality control and implementation of the language and world-wide.

By Angelica Williams - Content Coordinator

When not writing about the latest in gaming news, Angelica can be found holding a controller and playing whatever her most recent fixation is. Hobbies include reading, writing, gaming, and archery - though not necessarily in that order.

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