When you think of the first computer programmer, you probably don’t think of a woman, let alone a woman who dressed like this and lived in the mid-nineteenth century.
But I hate to break it to you, this woman is most likely the first computer programmer. In an industry known for it’s male-dominated atmosphere and workforce, it was actually a woman who started it all.
This is Ada Lovelace.
As an English mathematician and writer, she is known primarily for her work on Charles Babbage’s "early mechanical general-purpose computer." She created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine—all the way back in the mid-1800s.
As the only child born within Lord Byron’s marriage, Ada’s mother pushed her towards mathematics and logic to drive Ada away from the arts and poetics after the marriage between her parents fell apart and Lord Byron fled the country. As a young woman, Ada took up a friendship with Charles Babbage. While translating an Italian article on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, Lovelace included her own notes on the machine. Her notes included what many consider to be the first computer program—her algorithm meant to be carried out by a machine.
But what makes Ada even more unique is that she saw computers differently. While most mathematicians, Babbage included, were focused on number crunching as a function of Analytical Engines, Ada envisioned a world where machines would be more of a collaborative tool.
So as we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, we at Envoc want to tip our hats to the lady that started computer programming—Ada Lovelace.
There are many organizations dedicated to supporting women in the tech industry. Here are a few: