For a nine-month period in 1842-1843, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (known today usually as Ada Lovelace) translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Machine, including an appended set of lengthy notes that included a detailed method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the engine, which incidentally hadn’t been built yet. For this reason, she’s often considered to be the first computer programmer.
Flash forward to today, and we find that Ada Lovelace Day has been created with the goal of celebrating women in the tech industry. Everyone’s being encouraged to talk about women they know, admire, or work with in the tech sector to help provide inspiration and create role models for young women.
Fortunately for me, this is easy enough. Mindfly, the awesome web design studio I work at, is apparently something of a rarity in the industry, with the women outnumbering the men. Additionally, they’re all pretty awesome people. Let’s introduce them to you all:
Heather - Lead Designer: Heather has been at Mindfly longer than anyone but the owners, and is an incredibly talented designer, and responsible for the look and feel of the vast majority of the sites we build. In addition to being an expert at Photoshop, she also plays Extreme Frisbee (I hope I got the name right), bike rides, runs, owns bees, dogs, and chickens, is a great photographer, and paints. Just writing her hobbies down makes me exhausted, I don’t know how she keeps up with it all. Somewhere between all that she also writes about her life with her husband at Heather ‘n Miguel.
Karina - Designer: When she’s not writing steamy romance novels, Karina is building websites and manages clients at Mindfly. It’s not an easy job, as anyone dealing with client emails on a daily basis can tell you, but she manages to do it without killing anyone, which is more than I can say on how I’d handle it. She’s also habitually upgrading the design of Guts and Garters, her blog about life, web design, and bowel problems. It’s annoying, as I’m constantly being put to shame with newer and shinier designs on her site.
Janae - Designer: Janae designs websites for Mindfly, putting up with my constant babble about HTML5 and CSS3 just long enough to absorb the information and then go do something cool with it. It’s annoying to me, as our workflow structure here gives her the chance to play with these wonderful new techniques and standards at the workplace before me as she does the first cut for the sites she designs. She also helps manage clients, which I’ve already established is more challenging than I’d care to deal with. Although it’s not online yet, you can check out her design stylings in a few days at the upcoming Naepalm, which will be a repository for her creative juices.
Sydney - Developer: In addition to having the honor of bringing the words “rad” and “dude” into everyday nomenclature at Mindfly (which brings up great memories of my childhood days watching TMNT), Sydney is one of the top-notch .NET coders that makes the complicated websites the others design into a reality. Although I’ve got quite a few years of coding under my belt, I can’t keep up with Sydney’s skills. I spend more time than I can count walking upstairs and asking her to help fix a problem I’ve created. When she’s not saving me from my own code errors, Sydney is a mother of two who blogs about how crazy her life is at Single Supermama.
Maya - SEO Marketing Manager. Maya is relatively new to Mindfly, so I can’t spill all the juicy details of how awesome she is as a person. What I can say is that she’s our resident SEO expert, who helps insure that the sites we build rank well in search engines by tracking the hundreds of little important details that turn an awesome website into an awesome website that matters. I’m really glad she’s doing that, because I don’t think I could handle thinking about keywords on a daily basis, among many other things.
Theresa – Journalist. Although your average developer or designer doesn’t want to admit it, websites need content. Without content, a site isn’t much more than a pretty poster at best. Theresa is a journalist that writes articles and maintains event listings for two sites maintained by Mindfly: Neighborhood Kids (a Bellingham, WA resource for local parents and kids) and AramcoExpats (a community website for employees and retired expatriates of Saudi Aramco). As a happy result, she’s a pretty good source for knowing what’s going on in the community. She sometimes writes about local events on the Mindfly blog as well, which turns out to be some of our most popular posts.
Without these talented women, Mindfly wouldn’t be able to do what it does. Period. Although Ada Lovelace’s ‘program’ was written for a device that Babbage never finished, her status as the first computer programmer helps point out that a traditionally male-dominated field has benefitted from the presence of women from the very start. So if you haven’t yet, help celebrate Ada Lovelace Day by talking about women you admire and respect in the tech industry.