Women Who Helped Shape Technology

By Ryan Koss

From computer scientists to businesswomen, we have created a short list highlighting some of the brightest minds from the 20th and 21st century. Read on to find out how these women have helped #CreateTheNext life-changing technologies.

Rebekah-Sosland

Rebekah Sosland
Age: 25
Occupation: Flight Director at NASA
Greatest Accomplishment: Youngest NASA flight director

Currently working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, Calif., Rebekah Sosland is helping to create the future every day. After graduating from the University of Texas Austin in 2013, Sosland began working with NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover project, which was launched into space when she was only 14.

She leads the tactical downlink team, responsible for collecting precious data from Opportunity’s aging flash memory system. Despite Opportunity’s problems, Sosland remains hopeful, saying “Every single day that we have with her is one more treasured day that we can use to explore the surface of Mars.”

Marissa-Mayer

Marissa Mayer
Age: 39
Occupation: President & CEO of Yahoo!
Greatest Accomplishment: Increased Yahoo!’s stock value by more than 100 percent

President and CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer is no stranger to Silicon Valley. After 13 successful years working as a key product developer and spokesperson at Google, Mayer was in need of a new challenge and made the switch to Yahoo! in 2012.

Since then, Yahoo!’s websites have surpassed Google in number of visitors for the first time since 2011. Mayer’s leadership and work ethic has led Yahoo! to recover from declining stock prices and an unstable administration.

Grace-Hopper

Grace Hopper
Age: Deceased (She would have been 107)
Occupation: Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy
Greatest Accomplishment: Created the world’s first computer code compiler

After she graduated from Vassar College & earned her Ph.D at Yale University, Grace Hopper was a pioneer in computer science and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, where she worked on the computer programming staff. Here she popularized the term “debugging,” after finding a moth inside of the Mark 2 computer system. The term she coined is still used by programmers around the world.

While developing the Univac 1, Hopper developed the world’s first compiler, which translates source code into another programming language. This work led her to help create COBOL, a programming language that incorporated elements of English rather than machine code, which had previously been the standard.

Sheryl-Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg
Age: 45
Occupation: COO of Facebook
Greatest Accomplishment: Runs the world’s biggest social platform

As a Harvard University graduate and the current Chief Operating Officer of the world’s largest social media platform, Sheryl Sandberg is one of the hardest working women in technology today. Prior to working at Facebook, Sandberg served as the Vice President of Global Online Sales & Operations at Google, where she directly contributed to the skyrocketing success of the popular search engine.

Today, Sandberg is an active advocate for women’s rights, specifically in the work world. Fortunately, her voice is reaching an audience on a global level with the help of her TED Talk on female leaders in the workplace, which has been viewed over 4 million times, and her popular book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Girls in Tech
Problem solving and technical tinkering isn’t just for the guys. We know that girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subjects exhibit greater personal confidence and perform better in school.

DMA’s tech camps for girls use a curriculum designed to help girls gain the confidence and critical-thinking skills necessary for success in school and life. Introduction to Programming with Java for Girls supports girls’ understanding of the the world’s most popular programming language, while helping them build real-world skills.