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Having programmed a future in software development, women continue to strengthen their influential voice in this arena as they leave an indelible mark on it.
https://www.nasa.gov/content/dorothy-vaughan-biography; Please keep this as is, as it contains good info.
According to stereotypes, women don’t necessarily compute as being compatible with software programming. Or do they?
In the 1940s women were tapped to become punch-card operators for the massive Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer because they were thought to be good at following directions. Turns out not only were these operators efficient in their duties, but they also proved to be highly qualified to devise early programming instructions.
In fact, among the most famous human computers was Dorothy Vaughan at NASA. She helmed West Computing for a decade before joining the new Analysis and Computation Division (ACD), a racially and gender-integrated group on the frontier of electronic computing, notes NASA. Dorothy Vaughan became an expert FORTRAN programmer, and she also contributed to the Scout Launch Vehicle Program.
Dorothy Vaughan retired from NASA in 1971. She sought, but never received, another management position at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Her legacy lives on in the successful careers of notable West Computing alumni, including Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Eunice Smith and Kathryn Peddrew, and the achievements of second-generation mathematicians and engineers such as Dr. Christine Darden.
In addition, women have long been labeled as good communicators, which is probably why a female is credited with developing the first compiler program to translate common vocabulary into the ones and zeros computers speak.
In fact, as you can see, many “female characteristics” have become intrinsically associated with software development as it’s evolved. Nowadays, users’ interaction and perception of technology have become key drivers behind innovations, so a woman’s ability to empathize and compensate for cultural intricacies are key assets to writing programs. Plus, her ability to collaborate favors the modern cross-functional workplace environment.
Although men still outnumber women in the field, as the developers and programmers featured here attest, women continue to inject a unique perspective that supports and encourages creativity and innovation in this highly competitive technical age.
Hulu & Rutel Gather STEAM Together
Daniella Rutel is an ideal science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) candidate. From her teens forward, she’s been able to combine a passion for art with a talent for technology, which led to an introduction to coding. But it was the artistic element that dominated her interests at the time, so Rutel obtained a degree in graphic design.
“I loved art school,” she notes. “I was featured in some galleries in downtown Los Angeles, CA for mixed media pieces.”
After graduation, though, she returned to her tech roots with an information technology (IT) job at a celebrity news organization.
“In this role I would troubleshoot and fix their email issues, network connections, and CMS errors, and, every once in a while, a legitimate bug on one of the apps I actually worked on,” she recalls.
Rutel was promoted to managing a team of developers; however, she was always the lone female. While that never deterred her from seeking new challenges, the value of seeing other women in technological roles became very apparent when she accepted a job with Hulu in 2015.
“I’ve never seen so many women in tech! I started with a female boss, a female development lead, a female quality assurance engineer, and we had female executives. This was a whole new world to me,” she remembers.
The Santa Monica, CA-based entertainment company has become a leader in the competitive television streaming industry. Rutel viewed Hulu as the epicenter of the melding of technology and media, a space that remains fluid as viewers’ habits evolve.
As principal technical program manager now at Hulu, she facilitates efforts on behalf of groups working on different technologies and devices along with business units. To illustrate common goals and methods across differing audiences, Rutel combines her programming aptitude with her artistic talents to create a story mapping tool.
“Using the visual collaborative exercise and ceremonies of story mapping to plan and manage a project has been a game-changer for me in tech. I managed a project for the redesign and re-architecture of hulu.com where we brought live TV to the web, and I managed a story map that was a physical board we used for more than a year,” she explains.
“We continuously groomed it; we learned how to truly be iterative, to put the user first, to release small releases often.”
The strategy was so successful that Rutel has since conducted story mapping workshops at Hulu offices in Seattle, WA and Beijing, China.
And even though she’s now instructing others, Rutel always pushes herself to keep learning.
“I attend conferences, brown bags, and panels, and take advantage of the free education Hulu provides with online courses and access to reading and training materials. It’s a challenge to make time for these things, but you have to,” notes Rutel.
She’s also made a commitment to pass her knowledge along via mentoring relationships, including Hula, the company’s employee resource group for women.
“Hula started in November 2016 as a Hulu Club with just a handful of women. We’ve since grown to almost 600 members, including members from Seattle, Beijing, New York, NY, Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX and San Francisco, CA,” Rutel states. “It’s all about paying it forward. We’re stronger together.”
Get turned onto jobs at Hulu: hulu.com/jobs/positions. Tune in for updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Modesto Makes Data Connections at Ericcson
When cellphones first infiltrated the popular consciousness, consumers worried about geographic reach and a company’s ability to prevent dropped calls. In 2020 smartphone shoppers take access to reliable, wide-reaching networks as a given, selecting models based on features such as cameras, apps and other programs.
Connectivity, however, isn’t a forgotten criterium, especially as carriers upgrade to 5G. Expanding network capabilities demands a significant technical exercise that doesn’t necessarily adhere to a one-size-fits-all approach. As a customer solutions field manager for Ericsson, Natalie Modesto helps carriers strategize their transition.
“For example, different customers want different approaches to the network,” she explains. “I determine how they need to modernize their networks and how we can help with that by putting together a plan for the next five years.”
Boasting more than 39,000 patents during the course of more than 140 years of corporate history, Ericsson has long-pushed technological boundaries, including being the first to launch commercial 5G networks on four continents.
Modesto began her career with the global corporation 13 years ago in her home country of Brazil, before accepting a promotion that brought her to U.S. headquarters in Plano, TX. With her electrical engineering degree, she’s tackled numerous technical challenges, including network designs and programming optimization. Now she’s moved into a role that develops business needs tied to network expansion.
One of the advantages 5G offers clients is the ability to collect greater quantities of data. Every call, text, email, social media post and web search offers insight into how subscribers use the service. Modesto mines those mountains of bytes for pertinent information clients can use to improve plans, both from technical and customer service perspectives.
“The trends have proven that the more data available, the more important it is to understand the data and find insight in it. Sometimes it’s hard to think with all of that data in front of you,” she says.
“What’s the piece of info that will change everything? How can you connect the different points of view? What does the customer need? Plus, it has to make sense for the customer and Ericcson. Data is nothing without a business purpose. But it’s very exciting, and it’s what makes my days very dynamic.”
Modesto also gets excited about mentoring female interns. Of course, she enjoys imparting lessons from her experiences, but she really gets charged up from soliciting their input and ideas. After all, they represent a key demographic, having years of experience as technology consumers. They possess first-person knowledge of how consumers use technology and their expectations.
“That [point of view] is very important for technology and the industry,” she explains. “It’s not just about [the interns] coding, but also about what they think the future will look like, and helping determine what our business needs are now and in the future.”
However, she does call on all interns and new team members to push themselves beyond technology.
“We need programming skills for innovation, but understanding the business aspect is also needed,” maintains Modesto. “If you understand the business impact of software or the idea of how software can help customers, then that’s powerful.”
Connect with Ericsson jobs: jobs.ericsson.com/main/jobs. Follow up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Petersen Plays to Win at 2K & Take Two Interactive Software Inc.
At more than $35 billion in revenue last year, video games have become the top entertainment earner in the U.S., surpassing gross receipts for movie theaters, concerts, and music purchases. What’s more, the industry - encompassing hardware, such as consoles, and software, including mobile games and subscription services - grew by 2% over the previous year, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
If you’re surprised by the dollars the gaming industry generates, then you’ll probably be equally surprised by who the typical consumer is. While the stereotype is portrayed as a lone male in his late teens or early 20s, ESA data paints a much different portrait. For example, women account for more than 40% of all gamers, and 37 is the average age of female players.
Inside the workforce, though, the gender split reflects that of many other technology industries. Although the percentage of women working for game developers and publishers has more the doubled since 2009, females still hold less than one fourth of all jobs per ESA.
“I’d say the gaming industry is diverse in terms of ethnicities more than gender, and I have my own ideas of why that is,” comments Karen Petersen, lead tools and pipeline engineer for Cloud Chamber, a wholly owned development studio for Novato, CA-based 2K, which is one of four publishing labels within Take Two Interactive Software Inc., headquartered in New York, NY.
One hypothesis Petersen offers is that not enough software professionals are aware of the unique aspects involved with game design. Attending college in the San Francisco Bay area in California, neighbor to Silicon Valley, she assumed there would be tough competition among fellow students for entry-level positions at video game companies.
“I felt like I was the only person in the whole computer science department at my school looking to go into video game development. Most students were more interested in telecom at the time,” she remarks.
Despite others’ lack of enthusiasm, Petersen recognized the genre’s potential. She secured an internship at Lucas Arts, which officially launched her gaming career, one which then led to work with several gaming companies, as both a staff member and consultant, where she developed tools and programs for consoles and mobile platforms.
Now with 2K she operates from a more encompassing vantage point that supports multiple processes, from story creation and prototype to release.
“We’re taking something that’s very technical and making it less technical so designers or writers aren’t tripped up on the software. The tools take on more complicated tasks,” she explains.
This function invites Petersen and her team to collaborate with other technical professionals as well as non-technical staff.
“There’s a lot of variety in the nature of the work. Within engineering, there are roles in animation systems, graphics, rendering, game mechanics and game play. I also work with incredibly artistic and musically gifted people. It’s a creative environment here, and that makes it an interesting environment to work in, which I love,” she shares.
Get your game on at Take Two Interactive Software Inc.: careers.take2games.com. Stay tuned in on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Cheeti Steers Collaboration for Robert Bosch LLC
Automobiles have always been a compilation of engineering systems, many of which remain mechanical in nature. But as software has progressed, so have features incorporated into vehicles. For example, Bluetooth, digital consoles, smart parking and blind-spot cameras all depend on sophisticated programming - and face it, they’re cool options to boost sales. But user-interface tools aren’t the only software elements inside cars and trucks.
“[For example], the steering system is a big mechanical design with an electrical control unit,” points out Shravanti Cheeti, director of engineering for the automotive steering division of Robert Bosch LLC.
In addition to creating hardware and software for automotive manufacturers, Bosch engineers and programmers design solutions for various industries, including home appliances, power tools, and security products. With North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, MI, the company operates 70 primary sites throughout the U.S.
Cheeti’s career has followed the automotive software revolution. She started designing diagnostic tools at a tier-two original equipment manufacturer (OEM), where managers quickly recognized her talents and moved her into leadership roles on software teams.
When she moved to Bosch in 2012, she managed the software group for the rearview camera and park-assist systems. Then, last fall, she was asked to take the wheel of the steering division.
“I oversee the hardware and software development that goes into the steering system and its safety features,” she explains. “I oversee the project status and make sure the right people are in the right jobs. I make sure they have the competency and are trained to do the jobs, or I find different roles for their skills.
“I also help them approach problems in a methodical way to use problem-solving tools and techniques,” Cheeti adds. “I enjoy the hands-on interaction and being in touch with my technical side.”
She also embraces the opportunities to exercise her leadership skills, which can be tested by budgets, time and distance.
“I really enjoy the team interaction and challenge of motivating my team to do their best and think outside the box. No matter how difficult a situation is, I have to find ways to motivate them. I try to promote a collaborative way of working here and across the globe. I make sure that, regardless where they are, my team works toward the same goals and same sense of purpose,” shares Cheeti.
Later this year, she’ll have the chance to lead young individuals through a software apprenticeship, one of the programs Bosch has instituted to cultivate a STEM talent pipeline. In addition to guiding them through real-world tasks, she hopes to impart to the students the value of identifying potential fields of specialty so they’ll be better informed to find a career path.
“Software programming is a very vast field, and that can be confusing for students. There are niche, nano fields in software development. Oftentimes students don’t decide on which way to lean, which program applications to learn, and how to develop professionally until much later on the job. I suggest you figure out what makes you tick, and look into that field,” she concludes.
Get into gear at Robert Bosch LLC and Bosch USA: bosch.us/careers. Follow company happenings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Women have played an integral role in the advancement of computers from the get-go. In fact, they comprised a significant percentage of expert workers in the emerging field during a time when women weren’t well-represented in the general workforce after World War II.
In 1953 coding pioneer Elsie Shutt wrote in a letter to a friend that gender division among her fellow programmers at Raytheon was “about 50% men and 50% women,” per Wiredelta.com. The website also states that more than one in four programmers during the 1960s were women. By the 1970s, as many women as men expressed interest in pursuing coding careers; however, the gender gap in the workforce began showing signs of widening.
Enrollment of women in computer science majors peaked in 1984 at 37%, after which the number of female students dropped with each passing year. By 2010 less than 20% of computer and information science students in the U.S. were women. Consequently the presence of women pursuing professional programming paths shrank, too.
Just two years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that only slightly more than one fourth of professionals working in computer and mathematical occupations were female.
However, there have been some major gains over time, especially in compensation. Women in computing earn 94% of what males earn, which far exceeds other professions, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW). And with initiatives like Black Girls Code, Girls Inc., and Girl Develop It, along with corporate outreach endeavors, employers and STEAM advocates hope to change the tide and have more women making coding history.
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