Happy Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace / Credit : Wikipedia

I really want to blog about a woman in tech today. I think Ada Lovelace day is awesome, and was charmed when someone wished me a happy Ada Lovelace day this morning.

However, I have a dearth of role models. Does passively stalking someone on Twitter count as knowing someone? Even with the odd, brief, interaction? Of course there’s a female prof who I speak to perhaps, once every 3 months. A friend from undergrad, except she left computer science in order to be – of all things – an economist.

I’ve uncounted many women who are geeks and proud, even if they’re not programmers – Kelly (who runs GGD Ottawa), Alex who’s in Human Factors, Caitlin who’s a grad student in Communications working on something fascinating to do with Twitter and the future of journalism, Treena who has a social networking startup (Betidings – it’s awesome, check it out). Tammy works where tech and design meet – always supportive, always inspirational. Emily, who’s just starting out as a programmer (and also has a start up).

There are some female programmers – Sacha (IBMer, mentor), fellow grad students Oana, Jen, and Terri. Finally, Hilary Mason and danah boyd, neither of whom are aware of my existence but who I think are really awesome.

But as of Ada Lovelace day 2010, there’s no one female programmer who is a significant inspiration to me. I don’t know any of them well enough.

Is it weird to admit that I inspire myself, when I persevere, create, surprise myself by what I’m capable of?

New goal. Step 1. Find more female programmers. Step 2. Learn from them and get to know them. Step 3. Have something better to write next year.

Meanwhile, I leave you with that list of the most inspiring women in my Twitter network. And console myself with the thought – that compared to the situation in my undergrad, that’s a pretty huge improvement.

Happy Ada Lovelace day.

12 thoughts on “Happy Ada Lovelace Day

  1. Aww thanks Cate, if I had gotten around to an Ada Lovelace day post (which I wanted to, but too much to do, too little time) You would have topped my list! Along with my mom of course, who's been programming since the punch card days, and probably why I have such a strong affinity for female programmers. πŸ™‚ (and truth be told, almost became one myself)

  2. Awwh thanks!! You mom being a punch card programmer is really awesome, that kind of programming was soooo hard!

  3. hehe my dad was as well (hint to where my geekiness came from!) They have great stories, about having like over 10,000 cards and if you make an error on one of them, the whole program won't work–so you're pretty much back at step 1 starting all over again.

    Can you imagine?! People must have had much more patience back then.

  4. Ah! Love this. Thanks for counting me in with a group of wonderful geektastic ladies. πŸ˜€ I am so glad I've made your acquaintance online. You're like a Super Geek Woman though. You do so much and are fantastic!

  5. Aw thanks! But, to stick up for my trade, there's nothing wrong with being an economist. Especially an environmental one! Less technical, but you still need some sk11z for econometrics!

    I agree with the 'not too many female rolemodels in tech' statement though. A lot of people mention Marissa Mayer, but her work has less to do with engineering and science than it is about business and customer satisfaction (although her qualifications say she is more than capable).

  6. Noooo! I could not have the patience for that. It's incredible πŸ™‚ Every day I'm grateful to the people that made the UI!

  7. I'd be delighted to set up regular chats with you (virtual tea, perhaps?), if you wish. =) I feel like I know you reasonably well, thanks to your blog posts, and I would be thrilled to get to know you further!

  8. That's so nice of you! Yes virtual tea sounds awesome πŸ™‚ and I'll be in TO for the IBM Extreme Blue Canada presentation I think, so we may get to meet in person!! πŸ™‚

  9. That would be fantastic!

    I often need to prod myself to actually talk to people on the phone or on Skype instead of just blogging/commenting/e-mailing/tweeting, but if you do feel like reaching out, you know where to find me. =)

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