Ada Lovelace Day: Women in Java

"Choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

-Confucius

Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and math by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike. There are great women in the Java community, but the percentage is small.  I asked a just a few who inspired me to tell me what they like about what they do, how they've seen the industry change, and what advice they would give to girls interested in math/science/coding. My takeaway is that they love what they do and are eager to share that passion.

Fabiane Nardon

Java EE Developer, Architect of the Brazilian Healthcare Information System, Leader of the Java Tools community at java.net, Java Champion. She's currently Chief Scientist at TailTarget. Her JavaOne 2013 session "Pragmatic Big Data Architectures in the Cloud: A Developer’s Perspective" was very popular. 
What do you like about being an developer?
I love to be able to create new things, things that people didn't even imagine possible and then sit back and watch how life around me changes because of my software.

How have you seen the industry change?

I'm doing software for a long time now and I think the developers have a lot more power now than we used to have, specially because of technologies like Cloud Computing and smart phones. We can do a lot of things now that only companies with big budgets could do in the past.

What advice would you give to girls interested in math/science/coding?

Just do it! Seriously, if you like what you're doing, there absolutely no reason for not pursuing a career in science.

Tasha Carl

Java/Web developer, software architect, founder of the Brussels Java User Group, member of the Devoxx team, and active member of Devoxx4kids.

What do you like about being an developer?

Being a developer is a constant challenge. I'm always busy finding new ideas, constructing solution to problems, speaking with "users" and translate their language into something that can be written in computer languages. Moreover, it's an eternal learning process. Computer sciences never stand still and even if I am not always working with the latest state of the art technologies, I can discover them and play around as much as I like. Finally, the best part of being a developer is the creativity. It might not look creative at the first sight, but it definitively is. My mind is always "creating" something.

How have you seen the industry change?

The acceptance of women in the IT industry has changed a lot during the last 15 years. Gender equality still is far from being perfect, but the world is still changing and seeing a female developer is nothing alien anymore. Men are also starting to see the benefit of a female perspective in project teams. Having women as part of a team is actually changing the way the team communicates in general. Now we need more women in IT so this becomes the normality more and more.

What advice would you give to girls interested in math/science/coding?

If you are looking for a creative way of constant learning, questioning and understanding of the world that is surrounding you, then STEM is definitively something for you. And coding is not limited to sitting in front of a PC the entire day. It is a creative and social field to work in and there are so much different domains that involve coding, like robotics and space exploration. Just look around you, and don't forget to look up! :)

Loiane Groner

Software Development Manager, expert on Sencha and Java, author of Ext JS 4 First Look, Mastering Ext JS, and Sencha Architect App Development. She also and is the CampinasJUG (Campinas Java Users Group) leader and ESJUG (Espirito Santo Java Users Group) coordinator.

What do you like about being an developer?

I like to be a developer because it is really awesome to see some lines of code that you wrote becoming a computer program. It is nice to see that we can help the world with technology. A task that usually a user would take hours can be done within minutes with the help of a computer program. 

And of couse, I love being a developer because it is fun! Best profession in the world! :)

How have you seen the industry change?

Changes are always good. In the beginning, developers used to program using punched cards in computers that occupied an entire room, and sometimes even an entire floor. Then, with the PCs, laptops, palms, tablets and smartphones. Nowadays we have a computer in our pocket. You can also build and program your own smartphone or tablet using embedded. There are opportunities to everyone, no matter your preferred platform is!

The only thing that I do not like so much is that the first programmer was a woman, and unfortunately, we do not have so many women in our community. But I do hope that this will change someday.

What advice would you give to girls interested in math/science/coding?

Do not give up at any time. Math, Science and coding are really fun. Usually people that start in this area are people that really like it, and they do it for passion. Confucius once said: "Choose a job that you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." This is how I feel. And I hope you will feel like this as well! :)

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