Modern technology and the web wouldn’t be what they are without the ground-breaking women who’ve led the way, from the mathematicians who programmed ENIAC, the first digital computer, to those developing the cutting-edge artificial intelligence everyone’s talking about these days. While breaking glass ceilings, these innovators have built the web, shaped communications and transformed business.
Mira Murati and ChatGPT
First up is Mira Murati, CTO of OpenAI and one of the most prominent women in the world of technology. She’s the leader behind DALL-E, an AI that creates artwork, and ChatGPT, the AI chatbot that’s making waves on the internet. Mira Murati is not only developing amazing AI platforms, but strongly pushing for ethical development in artificial intelligence (helping make sure The Matrix doesn’t become a documentary).
Dr. Radhika Nagpal and swarm robotics
Dr. Radhika Nagpal is another leading expert in tech. She’s a computer scientist specializing in biologically-inspired, self-organizing computer systems, i.e. swarm robotics. It may sound like something from science fiction, but her research is laying the groundwork for self-organizing systems that can work together and adapt to changes around them.
Susan Wojcicki, YouTube and Google
Susan Wojcicki is most-recently known from her former role as the CEO of YouTube. Prior to that however, she was an early employee and executive at Google, spearheading many of the projects you’re already familiar with, like Image Search, AdSense and Google Analytics. You may have also heard of her sister, Anne Wojcicki, who is co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, the personal genomics company. Quite the impressive family.
Sheryl Sandberg and LeanIn.Org
Sheryl Sandberg is another prominent person in the modern tech world. The former COO of Meta Platforms (aka Facebook), she’s also well-known for her advocacy of women’s leadership with her Lean In Foundation, LeanIn.Org, which helps women pursue careers in technology.
Reshma Saujani – Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani is a trailblazer working to close the gender gap in the tech industry. She founded the organization Girls Who Code, which is dedicated to inspiring girls to pursue careers in computer science and technology in general. She’s also the author of multiple books about women pursuing careers in business and technology.
Jen Fitzpatrick and Google
Jen Fitzpatrick is one of the masterminds at Google. She helped develop multiple technologies at the company, but is prominently known for Google Maps, arguably the most popular mapping service in the world. Basically, she’s the reason that your car isn’t littered with paper maps that no longer fold together.
Sarah Guo – financing innovation
Sarah Guo is a major player in tech investment, and partner at Greylock Partners, the venture capital firm. She’s the one investing in the startups shaping our future, fueling innovation and further growth in the tech industry.
Tracy Chou – Diversity in Tech
Tracy Chou is a leading advocate for inclusion in the tech industry. She studied computer science, machine learning and AI, and interned at Google and Facebook before working at Quora and Pinterest. She also created the Diversity in Tech pledge, which is inspiring companies to address inequality in the workplace.
Padmasree Warrior and Fable
Padmasree Warrior, besides having one of the most badass names of all time, is the founder and CEO of Fable, a curated reading platform. She was CEO of Nio USA, the electric car maker, CTO at both Motorola and Cisco, and currently serves on the boards at Spotify and Microsoft.
Neha Narkhede and Confluent
Neha Narkhede co-founded Confluent, a data streaming platform that helps businesses by making big data more accessible. She co-created Apache Kafka, an open-source software platform, was a principal software engineer at Oracle, and led streams infrastructure at LinkedIn.
Anne Aaron and Netflix
Anne Aaron is the director of video algorithms at Netflix, driving the technology behind high-quality streaming video that most of us use everyday. It’s thanks to Anne that we can binge-watch shows without constant buffering.
The women who led the charge
And let’s not forget the great women who came before these leaders. Barbara Liskov was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in computer science, while the first digital computer, ENIAC, was programmed by a remarkable group of women: Fran Bilas, Betty Jennings, Ruth Lichterman, Kay McNulty, Betty Snyder, and Marlyn Wescoff. Elisabeth Feinler developed domain naming, Radia Perlman invented the algorithm that made the internet possible, while Grace Hopper invented the first computer compiler and coined the term computer bug.
To mention a few more extraordinary women while still not exhausting the list, Adele Goldberg created the programming language Smalltalk-80, Mary Wilkes designed the operating system for the first home computer, and Hedy Lamarr’s system for guiding torpedoes inspired Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. And, of course, Ada Lovelace is recognized as the world’s first computer programmer.
These are just a few of the amazing women that lifted us to the level of tech and communication we enjoy today, paving the way for today’s leaders and future generations of innovators. These women have changed the world, and we are grateful to every one of them.