The First Girl Geeks – "Amazing Grace"


So Girl Geeks, here’s a little bit more about one of the first Girl Geeks, Grace Murray Hopper (There is another women, even before Grace’s time – can anyone guess – Post your guess in the comments)
Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) was a rear admiral in the Navy and a pioneering computer programmer who wrote one of the first compilers (a compiler is the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer. She did this, she said, because she was lazy and hoped that "the programmer may return to being a mathematician.")   She was sometimes known as “Amazing Grace” for her achievements.   
As a child, Grace was also taking things apart (the family clocks) and putting them back together and she attributed some of her success to her mother’s love of mathematics and her father’s love of books, which filled the house.
She served on and off in the Navy and in the private sector, always working on the earliest versions of computers and programming language.   This was back when a single computer was the size of a room.  She studied mathematics at Vassar and taught there and at Harvard.  Her methods of teaching were considered somewhat unusual.  She tried t to show her students the real world applications of mathematics, and so had them play bridge and try to predict the results, or plan a city and determine the expense of running it.  
During WWII she joined the Navy and was assigned to research team developing the first computer.  That’s when she wrote her compiler program and also developed the language COBOL, which while no longer widely used today in new software, is relatively easy language to learn to program in.  
Grace become a well-know speaker, always appearing in her full dress Admiral’s uniform.  Some of her famous quotes that you may be familiar with:
"It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.
 "A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for”

Check out fun Girl Power apparel at, including our "I Like Math" shirts

Why Aren't there More Women in IT

Great article on MSNBC from Career Columnist Eve T.  about why there aren’t more women in IT.  As IT job rise, the number of females entering the field is going down.  Most IT hiring managers agree that they would to hire more women if they could find them – for things like computer support, hardware support (that’s making the systems run), programming, project management, interface design.  So IT is shaping up to be a great field – yes there is some outsourcing, but on the whole, good IT still needs people (women) on the street, here to make it work.

So how do you get more women interested in IT – start them younger.  Most of today’s generation, male and female are avid users of technology, but someone, girls never get interested in the how does it work, how is it made aspect and how can I do that, that boys seem to get into.  And why is that?  Are computer classes at the school and college level more user friendly for boys than for girls (and is it the typical basis against girls) or is it the way the material is written and presented.  Do kids get taught how to use a computer by making a war game and if they were taught how to build an online community application so they can IM friends, would more girls make the connection between what Facebook is doing and what they can do to?

 Based on my own experience in the IT field as a project manager, I know that I don’t have to be a programmer to have a career – my ability to understand timelines, estimates and technology are enough.  I also know that if I actually knew how to program (and liked it) I would be in even higher demand.  Personally, learning how to program using examples that were cooler than the usual lessons might have made a difference. 

Still my interest in using technology to solve business problems has been enough to keep me going in the field. 


So check out our Computer Geek shirt to encourage a girl geek to get chic.  And if you have any great ideas, tools to help girls get interested in technology, let us know –