Five Women Who Are Inspiring Next-Gen Software Developers

Ankit Sahu
20 Feb 20245 mins read
Skills, interviews, and jobs

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According to a recent survey, women make up only around 25 percent of the computing workforce in the United States, and they often earn less than their male counterparts. In this post, we’ve compiled a list of some of the industry’s top women developers, tech executives, entrepreneurs, influencers, and CEOs in honor of the rapidly growing and mighty tribe of women that are driving the industry forward. These women in tech are a group of inventors and entrepreneurs that power some of the world’s top IT firms and most promising startups, paving the way for the future we want. 

Although many women tech leaders are doing a phenomenal job, this list includes women based on their current following and sphere of influence. Please note that this list is not exhaustive in any way.

Let’s dive in. 

1. Elizabeth Churchill, Director of User Experience at Google

Elizabeth F. Churchill | Source

Elizabeth Churchill earned a Bachelor of Science in Research and Experimental Psychology and a Master of Science in Knowledge-based Systems from Sussex University. Later, she graduated from the University of Cambridge with a Ph.D.

Churchill relocated to Palo Alto, California, to work at FX Palo Alto Laboratory, later becoming the Palo Alto Research Center. She then went on to work for Yahoo, eBay, and Google, among other major tech giants.

She is currently the director of Google’s user experience team. In this capacity, Churchill researches computer science, psychology, design, analytics, and ethnography to improve user experience.

Churchill is also the vice president of the Association of Computing Machinery. In her career, she has garnered over 50 granted or pending patents and over 100 published articles in various domains of psychology and computing.
Related Post: Want To Become a Great Engineering Manager? Here’s How Googlers Do It!

2. Fei-Fei Li, co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute

Fei-Fei Li | Source

Fei-Fei Li was born in Beijing, China, and moved to the United States when she was 16 years old. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics from Princeton and a Ph.D. in computer science from the California Institute of Technology.

Li taught engineering and computer science courses at the University of Illinois and Princeton. She then joined the Stanford faculty in 2009, where she is presently a full-time professor. From 2014 until 2018, Li was the director of Stanford’s AI Lab. She is currently the co-director of Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute.

Li’s research focuses on cognitive and computational neuroscience and machine learning to increase AI’s capacity to recognize images. She took a break from Stanford from January 2017 to September 2018, during which she served as the vice president at Google and head scientist of AI and ML at Google Cloud.

In 2017, Li co-founded AI4ALL with Olga Russakovsky, a Ph.D. student. AI4ALL is a nonprofit dedicated to improving diversity in the AI field by recruiting, mentoring, and training students from historically underprivileged areas.

Professionals from Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Black Girls Code, and Girls Who Code have collaborated with AI4ALL, which now has summer programs in 16 sites around the United States.

3. Bria Sullivan, an entrepreneur, game developer, and former software engineer at Google

Bria Sullivan | Source

Sullivan is the CEO, and founder of Tech Stack’d an organization dedicated to advancing the careers of minority software engineers and non-technical entrepreneurs through seminars, courses, and a supportive network.Sullivan created Tech Stack’d while working full-time at Google as a software engineer. She is also the CTO and creator of Honey B Games, a mobile game company specializing in Boba Fett-inspired games (or Bubble Tea).

Related Post: How Should Engineering Leaders Scale Teams in a Post-Pandemic World? Experts from Google, Facebook, Uber, Postmates Explain

4. Valerie Phoenix, senior software engineer and the founder of Tech by Choice

Valerie Phoenix | Source

Valerie Phoenix was born and brought up in California and attended California State University, Northridge, where she studied psychology and art. Early in her career, she made a living performing data entry and customer service at Estify, a small Los Angeles-based firm.

Phoenix eventually founded Tech By Choice, which has grown steadily since its inception. Tech by Choice is a nonprofit organization focused on increasing diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industries through low-cost or no-cost skill-building events and virtual gatherings.

5. Hadiyah Mujhid, founder and CEO of HBCUvc

Hadiyah Mujhid | Source

Mujhid graduated from Drexel University with a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a historically black university.

Mujhid was named one of Essence magazine’s 100 Most Woke Women of 2018 and a 2018 SOCAP Scholar. She later founded HBCUvc; a nonprofit organization focused on racial fairness in venture capital and technology.

HBCUvc teaches venture capital to students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and provides funding, mentorship, culturally affirming curriculum, and paid internships at tech and venture capital firms.

She has previously written software that sent satellites into space, bootstrapped numerous firms, and founded a nonprofit for black technology entrepreneurs with a global community of 10,000 members. Major media firms like Forbes, Blavity, TechCrunch, Business Insider, Black Enterprise, and Handelsblatt have praised Hadiya’s work.

More power to women in tech 

We chose each of these female powerhouses after scouring the biggest IT businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofits for their contributions to IT, AI, VR, cybersecurity, and other fields, along with their efforts to make tech inclusive for women. 

Above all, these incredibly gifted and inspiring leaders inspire us to believe in a brighter future.

Apart from these five inspiring leaders, several other women are doing a great job and paving the way for the next generation in the world of tech. 

If you know any other inspiring female leaders, please add your nominations to this list in the comment section below.

If you are a developer looking for an organization with diverse culture and ample growth opportunities, visit Turing is a Palo Alto-based ‘deep’ jobs platform that allows talented software developers to work with top US firms from the comfort of their homes. 

With Turing, you can join a network of the world’s best developers & get full-time, long-term remote software jobs with better compensation and career growth.

Join a network of the world's best developers and get long-term remote software jobs with better compensation and career growth.

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Ankit Sahu

Ankit is a writer and editor who has contributed his expertise to Govt of India, Reebok, Abbott, TimesPro, Chitale Bandhu, InsideAIML, Kolte Patil Dev., etc.

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