Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper Inspire the Next Generation of Female Tech Talent
Inspired by the boundaries pushed by female tech legends of the past, Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, aspiring tech entrepreneur, Phoebe Quinn, shares her experience studying Computer Science at University and why she dreams of a career in tech.
I’ve always liked technology. Growing up, who wouldn’t love getting the latest mobile phone or a new computer? But that was when I was a consumer of tech. My interest in being a maker of tech didn’t actually hit me until my 3rd year of high school. I studied National 5 Computing Science and from then on, I was hooked. I developed a love of problem solving and found a subject that revealed my natural ability to be able to dissect code relatively easily.
In my final few years of high school, Music and Computing became my two favourite subjects. They were the ones that inspired me and never saw me bored in class. A love of writing code has definitely spurred on my love of writing, playing and listening to music. Both are languages in their own right and it never ceases to amaze me how closely linked the two are.
Fast-forward a few years and it’s crunch time. What should I study at university? Deep down, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in technology but I decided I’d do some background research. It was then that I came across Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper. Not only did Ada Lovelace articulate the first computer program in the 1800s (which already put her light-years ahead of her time) but she pushed boundaries, ignored gender stereotypes and pursued something that she felt passionate about, which to me is incredibly admirable. Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist and a United States Navy rear admiral. She was a pioneer of computer programming and even went on to invent one of the first compiler related tools, as well as popularising the idea of machine-independent programming languages. Both ladies were a massive inspiration for me and greatly influenced my decision to study Computer Science at University.
I’m currently in my first year studying an MSci in Computing Science. I love it. The course is varied and my classes are big but still manage to remain interactive. I’m studying everything from Information Management, which shows us how databases work and the uses of SQL, to Programming, where we learn the basic functions of Python and how to write code well. My Programming labs are my favourite aspect of the course because they are hands-on and give us the chance to work with the concepts of Python that we have learned in class, while being our opportunity to tap into our own creativity, something that I believe to be utterly vital for a career in technology.
Looking down the line to my future, I’m excited by what I see. The technology industry has such a broad range of work and is constantly evolving, so as far as digital careers go I believe that the world is my oyster. I’d love to run my own tech company one day. In Scotland’s digital sector there is so much potential for start-ups that I think running my own business would be fun and exciting. However, the developing field of Artificial Intelligence is also incredibly interesting to me so who knows where I’ll end up – somewhere exciting I’d imagine.
The fact that there are lots of men in the technology sector is not a myth but I don’t think that should put women off. Look at Ada and Grace! Plus, there is so much support out there. Universities and companies really do want women to get involved and it’s totally worth it. Being in the minority isn’t scary, you just need to believe in yourself and know that you are just as capable as everyone around you. Gender is irrelevant, it is passion that’s important.