Diversity in Design: Women Pushing Boundaries in Tech
It’s International Women’s Day, so in this article we’ll recognize a small sample of the many women who are making an impact in various tech industry positions today. Through design, development, data science, and everything in between, these inspiring women are pushing boundaries and redefining what it means to work in tech.
Founder @ Black Girls Code
Kimberly is impacting the future of diversity in the tech industry through young women of color learning development.
Kimberly is the founder of Black Girls Code. Since Black Girls Code launched in 2011, Bryant has introduced more than 8,000 girls to computer science. Today there are thirteen chapters in the U.S. and one international chapter in Johannesburg–and BCG is growing daily. By 2040, Bryant aims to reach 1 million girls with code. Their mission statement:
“Black Girls Code’s goal is to empower young women of color, ages 7-17, to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders + creators.”
Allie is using AI to help businesses understand the context of their images, enabling them to become “more creative, inspired and resourceful”–ultimately, more human.
Allie started her first company as an eight-year-old, created the country’s largest AI student group, and now, is the Product Manager for Watson Visual Recognition at IBM. She’s helping build core artificial intelligence vision technology for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 50. Watson performs image recognition, text recognition, and face recognition for photo analysis, inspections, insurance, fraud detection, and media tracking.
“The progress we have made with visual recognition technology in just the past few years, to me, is astounding. Beyond pulling insight out of content, Watson Visual Recognition can really be customized for any use case. And, since Watson can understand industries inside and out, it’s almost like having an instant co-pilot that understands exactly how you live and work, and makes you smarter about what you’re doing. It’s really that simple.”
UI/UX design, front-end development, and illustration @ &yet
Lynn Fisher brings joy, delight, and wonder to an industry that often lacks those qualities.
At each responsive breakpoint, the homepage design of Lynn’s personal website is an entirely different, quirky web design experience. Experiment for yourself by visiting lynnandtonic.com; change the size of your browser to see dynamic designs at different breakpoints.
Lynn’s driving motto:
“I make things for the web and for walls. I specialize in light-hearted projects that make people say, ‘I don’t get it.’”
Principal Software Engineering Lead @ Microsoft Research
Caitie is innovating in the space of software design, specifically game development and distributed systems, to network and build things that socially connect people.
Prior to joining Microsoft Research, Caitie was the Tech Lead for the Observability team at Twitter, and built large scale services and systems that power the entertainment industry at 343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios, and HBO.
“In college I also TA’d a class that was the Intro to Data Structures course in Java. I also became interested in game design and built a couple video games, via an elective program. I was also incredibly interested in computer graphics because I liked the idea that I could visualize or see what I was making and create art.”
Danielle and Carly are innovating the way millennial women deliver and digest news.
“theSkimm” is a subscription-based product and read by over five million people.
“We didn’t create theSkimm for lack of intelligence or lack of interest in the news. What we figured out was a way to make it easier for our readers to understand the world around them in a way that they enjoyed hearing about and in a way that made it easy to remember.”
theSkimm App combines future events in culture, politics, and tech by integrating directly into your calendar. The goal is to make you more aware and smarter each day, on everything from “tax policies to how to fold a fitted sheet.”
Danielle and Carly have notably made out quite successful on a co-CEO title and positioning in their business model. Read a recent interview from these inspiring female founders.
Elena is pushing the boundaries of using data science by using it to improve diversity and education in her workplace.
Elena realized that the new workforce she joined was predominantly male. By using data to find a weak-link in the take-home exercise grading rubric during AirBnb’s interview process, she was able to help the rubric adjust. After this change went into effect, the percentage of women on the data science team has since doubled to 30%. Read more about Elena’s story of leading the data science team.
Assistant Professor of Program in Media Arts and Sciences @ MIT Media Lab
Danielle is pushing the envelope in research to utilize space engineering in order to improve life on Earth.
Danielle Wood recently joined the MIT Media lab to establish a new research group, Space Enabled. Her mission is to advance justice and development in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space.
Check out her video presentation from SGx2017, she begs the question: Is space for the benefit of all humankind?
Yes, you. I encourage you to envision your name, title and snapshot here.
What could you do to push the boundaries of technology in design, development, or data in the days and years to come?
The reality is, this industry is open to anyone, and everyone–any background, any race, any gender. Regardless of your education, the tech industry needs talented, driven people… like you.