International Women’s Day is recognized globally on March 8th and is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year, at Microverse, one of the ways we’re recognizing this important day is by looking at the history of women in software development, as well as, highlighting some of our amazing female students, and their journey to software development.
Key Women in the History of Software Engineering
Women have been pioneers in the computing world, with recognizable achievements such as acting as ‘human computers’ during the wars, creating new computer languages and algorithms, as well as helping with safe space travel and to put the first human on the moon.
Some notable women in computing history include:
- 1843: Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the first computer programmer, as she wrote the first machine algorithm for an early computing machine (that didn’t yet exist). Source
- 1942: Hedy Lamarr invented the frequency-hopping technology, during World War II, which later allowed for the invention of wireless signals like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Source
- 1945: Jean Bartik and five other women developed and codified many of the foundations of software programming while working on ENIAC. Source
- 1952: Rear Admiral Grace Hopper created one of the world’s first compilers and her programming language design work led to the creation of COBOL, which is used to this day. Source
- 1950s: Katherine Johnson helped confirm the accuracy of computers used by NASA and performed critical calculations that ensured safe space travel. She had a 35-year career at NASA which recognized her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist". Source
- 1969: Margaret Hamilton developed the onboard guidance software for Apollo 11 which was essential to its successful moon landing. Without this software, computers would not exist. Source
...and there are many more. Women play a key role in computing, now, and in the early days, but as we’ve mentioned before, women only represent 27.5% of software developers globally (Source: Evans Data Corporation). At Microverse, we’re focused on is helping more women and non-binary people reach their dreams of becoming software developers.
So, we asked some of the female software developers at Microverse to share their stories to highlight them, and help inspire others who are thinking of becoming software developers. They shared who, or what, inspired them to become a developer, and what they love about being a software developer, as well as some great advice for aspiring developers.
Here’s some of the advice the female software developers of Microverse had to share.
Finding Their Inspiration to Become a Software Developer
The inspiration for becoming a developer can be found in many different places, from our household environments, to school, work, or even simply interacting with computers.
One of our students from Nigeria, Taiwo Coker, shared that she was inspired by the UBER app while working as an UBER driver.
“I was interested in learning how to build apps that will solve problems for people.”
For Mily Puente of Mexico, her inspiration also came from her work. “I worked as an IT recruiter for almost 6 years, and after a good thinking process I decided to change careers to try this.”
Multiple students mentioned the role that family members played in inspiring them to become a software developer. Cecilia Benitez of Paraguay said her father inspired her to become a software developer, and Ana Paula Hübner of Brazil also said it was a parent that had inspired her. For Amita Roy of India, her husband inspired her to become a software developer.
Another student, Lamia Sristy of The Netherlands, noted that, “The day I got my personal computer, I got to know everything inside running software, and decided I would be pursuing a career in the software industry.”
Another common theme was students being inspired by passionate teachers. Cinthia Villalejos, a Microverse alum from Mexico said;
“I didn't have a lot of examples growing up, but at college, I came across a very passionate teacher who absolutely loved computer science. You were drawn to every word he said, even if you weren't particularly fond of science. I was majoring in something else at the time but the drive he had pushed me to dip bit by bit into computers and programming. He was the first one to make me think that I could do this, and I strive everyday to perfect my craft with the level of enthusiasm he has.”
Peris Ndanu of Kenya noted, “My high school computer teacher spiked my interest in technology. It was a fairly newly taught subject but his passion drove me to explore more on it. After high school I joined Andela bootcamp where I wrote my first ‘Hello world’ program. I was completely blown away that I could create anything I wanted, as long as I set my mind to it. From there, I began my journey into software development.”
We were also delighted to see that for one of our students, Rose Sumba Zawadi of Kenya, Microverse played a role in inspiring her to become a developer.
“I was inspired by Microverse, the diversity it upholds and the materials they provide are very, very reliable.”
The Most Enjoyable Part of Being a Software Developer
For many of our students, learning and creating projects and software that can change lives is a key part of what makes their journey as a software developer so great.
Cecilia, Cinthia and Rose all echoed that, stating that learning and solving problems was a key source of enjoyment. Rose said, “Choosing this path is the best decision I have ever made.” Taiwo also shared that she loves having the ability to bring an idea to reality.
On a similar note, Mily enjoys solving problems as well as the career potential of software development.
“I really like when you see the final outcome of a difficult project, and how everything starts making sense while you're learning. From the professional side, I think a career like this offers a huge improvement to your life, since it's in high demand and will continue to be because of the expansion of technology in almost every aspect of our lives.”
For Ana, working on the front-end brings her a lot of joy, while Lamia attributes her love of math and solving puzzles - where she developed analytical skills to solve logical problems - to being the most enjoyable part of programming for her.
As for Peris, she said she loves networking.
“Software developers are the easiest and kindest people you will ever meet. Through Microverse, I have extended my network globally and made friends in every part of the world. How cool is that!”
Amita also noted that learning something new is one of the most enjoyable parts for her, and that one of the best parts for her is being able to discuss issues or new technologies with her husband, a fellow software developer. “Technology is a vast domain and so are the growth opportunities in this industry. The more time I spend on it, the more my understanding is increasing. Now I'm realizing that this is something I can do for a long time without any distractions.”
Advice for Aspiring Software Developers
The women were happy to share great actionable advice and tips to help other aspiring developers and encourage them to stay the course. Many of them noted how much potential and opportunity there is in the software industry.
Taiwo shared, “Becoming a software developer is not a walk in the park but through your tenacity and hardwork, it becomes easier.” While Cecilia’s advice was simple but powerful, “Never give up”, Ana advised, “Keep the hard work and don't care about the amount of men in this industry, women are coders too!”
Cinthia said, “Sometimes the amount of new information can be a bit overwhelming because everything is in constant change in software development, but you don't have to learn all the things and certainly, not at once. Just learning and studying a small thing everyday can help you gradually build your knowledge into greater things.” She added,
“Remember it's completely natural not to be good at something right away and that we're allowed to make mistakes. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that if we're not good at something, then it's not for us. But the truth is that perseverance and consistency will make you good at every journey you decide to embark on.”
Amita’s advice was to not let the length of your career in one industry deter you from switching. ”If you are willing to learn then you can start anytime. I have four years of experience in HR and now I’m on my way to becoming a software developer. Technology is a really interesting domain and you will never get bored with doing the same thing because there is always something new every day.”
“I would advise anybody who wants to have a career in software development to give it a go, no matter how hard or scary it seems to be.” said Peris. “It is a very exciting and innovative industry with a lot of opportunities to create products that can have a great impact on people’s lives.”
Lamia recommends, “If any part of you loves to spend time thinking about solving complex problems, programming is your destination.” Finally, Mily advised, “Just try it. If you have been thinking about it for some time, it means that it's something you're curious about, and the best way to know if it's something that you like or not, is leaving your fears/doubts behind and just going for it.”
We are inspired each and every day by our amazing students and their journeys, and we hope their stories and advice inspire you too.
At Microverse, we're committed to being an inclusive school and community, and to helping people around the world succeed as global software developers. With students from more than 110 countries, we're proud of the work our students do and the supportive community they’ve helped us build but know there is always more work to do. We will continue to do our best to support people of all genders, countries, cultures and religions and help them become world-class software developers. If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a software developer or Microverse, get started below.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Images from Wikipedia.