Today is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to draw attention to the acheivements of women in science and technology. In case you didn’t know, Ada Lovelace wrote the first computer programs for the machine Charles Babbage invented. To put it another way, she made something another engineer created usuable for other people (sounds familiar….).
This year Ada Lovelace feels a little strange for me. I’ve moved from my very technical role as an SME for EMC’s network compliance and configuration software to a role where I am leading social media for education at EMC. I’ve actually been a little sad watching my former team mates getting more deeply involved in EMC’s VCE initiative…I want to go to UCS training too!
I’ve had a hard time deciding if I should even post today, after all I’m no longer in that technical role. But does that mean I’m no longer technical? Well, no. My background as a system administrator and web admin helps me plan and implement social media strategy. Plus I’ve been troubleshooting and learning more about XML.
Then I started thinking – the education work I do is pretty technical. Creating videos, understanding SCORM, developing education assets that explain things to regular people. Sounds familiar…..what if technical is more than computer science? I’d call many of my edugeek friends technical.
So that led me to think about my mom. She was a telephone operator back in the days when they actually had a switchboard. I can give her the slightest bit of direction and she can figure out anything on her computer. Maybe I got my technical gene from her?
Then I think of my grandmother. She was a “Rosie Riveter”, but she also could cook and can food better than anyone I know. Those skills are technical – as I’ve found. If you don’t can something properly it can smell horrible or even kill someone (I’m still too chicken to can tomatoes). And my great-grandmother worked in the business world her entire life – but she could sew the most amazing quilts. Putting all those geometric pieces together to make a beautiful quilt is pretty technical right?
Then I look at my daughter, who can knit and upcycle anything she puts her hands on. Oh who are we kidding she taught herself how to administer wordpress and how to use the GIMP. The girl’s a techie.
I think that as technical women point out all the things we do now its also to remember the non-traditional “techie” things women have done in the past. Maybe celebrating the traditional women’s work that is actually very technical could help girls and younger women understand that being tech-savvy is just how women are, and how we have always been.
I’m off to be an edugeek – make sure to love all your women techie friends today!