It’s nice to talk about fictional IT geeks from movies and TV shows because nerds like us can relate. But what about the people really making a difference? Sometimes their work changes the entire industry, but they don’t get the recognition they deserve. And here’s another surprise: they’re not all men. Women have made huge strides in IT capacities, and we’re going to highlight some of the coolest ones.
IT Nerd: Marissa Mayer
Job Title: VP at Google
Known For: Being Google’s first female engineer.
Mayer joined Google when there were only 20 employees back in 1999. She’s been actively involved with product and user experience as well as local services. She’s also helped shape the look of major Google services like Gmail and Google News. So it’s basically guaranteed that you’ve come across her work. Go ahead, and be jealous. It’s totally acceptable.
IT Nerd: Elizabeth Stark
Job Title: Computer Science Lecturer at Yale University and Cofounder of Open Video Alliance
Known For: Leading the free culture movement.
Stark doesn’t mess around. She’s a graduate of Harvard Law School, has lived in cities all over the world, and taught classes at Ivy League schools about cyberlaw and electronic music. If that doesn’t sound awesome enough, she’s the cofounder of Open Video Alliance, one part of a greater movement toward technological freedom. Yeah. She’s intense, but in a stellar way.
IT Nerd: Cynthia Breazeal
Job Title: Associate Professor and Founder of the Personal Robots Group at MIT
Known For: Her work with human-robot interaction.
Breazeal researches and designs robots with human characteristics and is probably one of the leading figures in robotics. Her most famous robot is probably Kismet, which was recognized for being extremely human-like in its interactions. Her more recent robot, Nexi (pictured above), has even more ability to display human expressions. Check out the video and love it/be freaked out.
IT Nerd: Melissa Hathaway
Job Title: Senior Adviser for Project Minerva
Known For: Being an expert in cybersecurity.
Hathaway played a huge part in developing a cybersecurity initiative for the Bush administration, a plan which would span over a 5-year period. Obama appointed her during his presidency, but she resigned due to personal reasons. But with her current job and her consulting agency, Hathaway is still a huge player in cybersecurity and should probably have a movie made about her. Just saying.
IT Nerd: Eva Chen
Job Title: CEO of Trend Micro
Known For: Starting a company that leads in cloud security.
After founding the company in 1988 with her sister and brother-in-law, she’s worked to make Trend Micro a large influence in the internet content security industry. Now that the cloud is a major player in how companies share information, the company’s evolved to specialize in this type of transfer security. She didn’t just start a smart company — she knew how to help it change into something clients need.
IT Nerd: Amber Case
Job Title: Cyborg Anthropologist
Known For: Check out her title. That is what she’s known for.
Case has worm holes and augmented-reality on the brain. She studies how human and technology interactions have evolved and developed. She’s in her mid-twenties, but she’s already spoken at conferences all over the world and founded Geoloqi.com, an application centered on location sharing in a secure, private way. It’s amazing how she’s found a niche in such an evolving industry.
There are women in all kinds of managerial and consulting positions doing extremely influential work in the IT realm. Without knowing it, you may have encountered the results of these women’s professional endeavors. They are leading their areas of tech specialty and pioneering fields you’ve never heard of until now. If you’re interested in IT, explore the potential of the industry and look up to these women as mentors. You won’t be disappointed.