The people in the world of today have sure come a long way, no longer are we beings that dwell in caves with no understanding of the outside world, but rather, beings with advanced intelligence who are now afraid of the outside world! Joking aside, we as humans have made quite the advancements, especially throughout the past 200 years alone, to the point there are so
many it’s likely people don’t know about every discovery and break through. A very monumental creation made through this time is the invention known as Coding, which to put it simply is what helped create things like software (apps), hardware (the device used to view/print this document) and quite a lot more. When anything that is somewhat related to coding appears in conversation it may be easy to think of the big names like Steve Jobs (Co-Founder of Apple), but what about the other voices, the voices that are buried so deep they may as well be lost? These voices that are so hidden refer to those of Women coders who have had quiet an interesting history, something that isn’t well known. women have made many important contributions to the world of coding such as, helping create a unique program, contributing their thoughts and ideas to technology, and encouraging other women to enter the world of coding.
Coding and it Creations
Technology is something that has been around humans for century, helping us advance the current society into something more effective than it was before. The technology of the past (like the wheel) has almost always found its way to stay into the future (found on cars and trucks), but, what about coding? Coding is something that has appear rather recently, less than 100 years ago and with it brought about significant changes to the world. The first type of code that was created was in 1949 was called Short code, which was code that “required the programmer to change statements (code that was written out) into 0’s and 1’s” (Ferguson, 2000).
Although quite a difficult task, this creation of the first programming language help led to other prominent languages like JAVA, HTML and PYTHON. When it comes to programming now a days there is no longer a need for the programmer to manually change to code into 0’s and 1’s, so what changed? Not too long after the creation of the first programming language, the compiler, a “program that turns the “Great expectations” by Albert Jimenez L. is licensed under CC BY 4.0
language’s statements into 0’s and 1’s for the computer to understand” (Ferguson) was created. This monumental achievement was created by Grace Hopper (and her team), considered to be “One of the first three “modern” programmer” (YaleNews,2021) , with her contribution of the compiler no longer did every single line of code need to be transferred to 0’s and 1’s by hand. What led Grace Hopper get to monumental discovery in the first place? Well one reasons was her education; Hopper was quite the brilliant p
erson being taught in private schools ever since she was young , graduating from pristine colleges such as Vassar and Yale and achieved a PHD in mathematics from Yale(YaleNews).Another big reason for the compiler creation came from Hoppers close work with computers, hopper was lucky enough to work with a computer known as the “ Mark I, one of the earliest electro mechanical computer” (YaleNews). After such close work with this computer lead Hopper on very nice career path, eventually even helping to create even more models of computers such as the Mark II and Mark III (YaleNews). Grace Hopper and here contributions to the coding world should not be forgotten, without her help, major products we see today may have taken decades before they saw the light of day. When it comes to coding, we usually see it as parred in tandem with technology, as we saw with Ms. Hopper and computers, so, what other technological advancements have been create
d with the help of coding?
Other application of Coding
When it comes to coding, it may be thought as used entirely for practical use to consumers, to make and create programs and products for the people to enjoy. However, there are ways to use coding foe much more dangerous things, one being its use in the Military.
“Picture of a Women on a Computer” by pxhere is licensed under CC BY 4.0
During world war two, The Germans were using technology known as Enigma machines, which were machines they “encrypted their messages (turned them into code)”( Brereton, 30) ) which made things like their war plans nearly impossible to crack/understand. Although incredibly tough to do, a technique was developed to counteract and find out what these codes were really saying, this process was simply called code breaking. A popular location of operation for code breaking was in “Bletchley Park, In the English countryside” (Brereton, 30). Something very funny about Bletchley Park was that some of the people who were deciphering the codes didn’t even know what they were! These peoples just saw it as “their own piece of the jigsaw” puzzle, just doing out of fun. Bletchley Park was quite the big operation, at least 10,000 people work on this operation site “roughly 75 percent were women”( Brereton, 31). Of these women, Mavis Leaver and Margret Rock are two individuals credited with helping decode plans for World War II’s infamous battle, known as D-Day(Brereton, 32). This technique of codebreaking is skill that could difference of loss and victory, it’s almost criminal how much of this would have been unnoticed by the general population. When it comes to entering the coding field, weather through engineering or Computer Science, it may not be an easy point of entrée. However, for women, there are dedicated people out there begging for their work in the workforce of coding.
Rallying Women into Coding
A great way that women can get into the world of coding is by attending what are known a s coding boot camps. These boot camps “teach programming skills through intensive multi-week courses” (Lyon & Green, 2021) helping catch up on how/why they should pursue coding. A question that may pop into your mind may be, how much does this really help? Or, is it worth even looking into? There have been studies taken regarding these boot camps, one being at the Silicon Valley located around California. There were interviews that were constructed were “ first before graduating before graduating the boot camp and 6 months into the work force” (Lyon, & Green). These interviews were also held with two different groups, one that included only women in the boot camp and a mix of men and women in a bootcamp. They found throughout each of the studies that these boot camps “can be the catalyst for college educated women to attain computing jobs and career” (Lyon, & Green). Although a boot camp is a great start to get into coding, a lot more work would need to be done to achieve an even greater job. The study also tells that even boot camps help, it would be “unlikely to lead a job at large, well-known, established technology companies” (Lyon, & Green).
When it comes down to it, coding has proved very important in our modern society, without its creation there no telling where it would be. There have been women such as Grace Hopper, Mavis Leaver and Margret Rock who have been among the few women who have helped make coding more reliable, contributing their life’s to understanding coding, and encouraging more women to join them in their endeavors. In the end, for coding to continue evolving we need many people’s ideas for help, regardless of gender.
Ferguson, A. (2000). A History of Computer Programming Languages. A History of Computer Programming Languages. Retrieved December 2nd, 2021 https://cs.brown.edu/~adf/programming_languages.html
Grace Murray Hopper (1906–1992): A legacy of innovation and Service. YaleNews. (2021, November 18) Retrieved December 2nd, 2021
Brereton. (2017). Women Scientists in Math and Coding. Gareth Stevens Publishing LLLP.
Lyon, & Green, E. (2021). Coding Boot Camps: Enabling Women to Enter Computing Professions. ACM Transactions on Computing Education, 21(2), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.1145/3440891