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Dev Divas: History's Heroines of Computing

Call yourself a "software engineer"? Thank MIT supercoder Margaret Hamilton, who invented the term that once drew chuckles. Ada Lovelace in the 19th century was the first to recognize that programmable computing machines could model any system, and thus transform our world. Yet this woman, who drew on her mastery of calculus to write the first program for a computer, is often dismissed as a delusional math klutz. Learn how the women highlighted in the 2016 blockbuster "Hidden Figures" were even more remarkable than the movie showed, and how they and their colleagues rebuilt our world. Through most of the 20th century, progress in science and technology was powered largely by thousands upon thousands of women who both created massively complex algorithms and executed them by hand. Over decades, machines took on the second task superbly. But the first task proved impossible to offload to machines. Today we call it "computer programming." The contributions made by these women cannot be understated -- except that in fact, it has been. Meet the mostly unsung women who shaped the high-tech world we live in -- the women who brought us the first computer language, the compiler, the flowchart, and so much more. Celebrate their stories, and learn about their struggles. Find out what the landscape looks like today for women in tech, and learn how you can contribute to a brighter future for all.

Vesna Kovach

Vesna Kovach (@vesna_v_k)

Vesna Kovach is part of the small, passionate, agile development team at near Madison, Wisconsin. She runs, a site that celebrates the history of women in technology, and tweets at @dev_divas.