Women in Tech, STEM and Coding: Grace Hopper

Once again we feel honored to introduce you to another phenomenal person. In this series, we’ve spoken about a few, very inspiring women who have changed history in a very special and unique way. A few weeks ago we discussed the life story of the charismatic Linda Liukas, we also mentioned the super talented and brave Reshma Saujani, and we even talked about the breathtaking influence of, my personal favorite, Maria Montessori.

Today, we are bringing you the story of a woman who was just fantastic. She was a leader, an innovator, a change-agent and a once in a lifetime character. Today, we’d like you to meet Grace Hopper, let yourself be surprised with the surprising facts of her story, and allow yourself to stand up and give her a long round of applause, we guarantee that at least… you’ll feel like doing so.

 

Who was Grace Hopper?

Grace Hopper was born in December 1906, and she was both a computer scientist and a United States Navy rear admiral. Yes, both! Hopper was one of the first programmers of the famous and praiseworthy Harvard Mark I computer. Among everything she did, she actually invented one of the first compiler related tools.

Are you ready to be even more surprised? Back then, she popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which influenced the development of a very early high-level programming language still in use today.

Prior to joining the Navy, Hopper earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University and was a mathematics professor at Vassar College. Grace attempted to enlist in the US Navy during World War II, but because she was already 34 years old, she got rejected. Instead, Grace Hopper joined the Navy Reserves.

Regarding her programming career, Hopper began her path in 1944 when she worked on the Harvard Mark I team. In 1949, she joined the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation and was part of the team that developed the UNIVAC I computer.

It was there that she began developing the compiler we mentioned before. She believed that a programming language based on English was possible. Her compiler converted English terms into machine code that computers could understand. She was a visionary and a pioneer! (Now is the right time to give her a round of applause!)

Some interesting facts about Grace Hopper

A few weeks ago we decided to publish a post on our Facebook channels about Grace Hopper. The reception was just awesome. People loved hearing about her, and about some of the spectacular things she did during her life. Take a look at this lovely infographic we created for her, here below, and feel free to share it with your friends and family.

Grace Hopper’s awards and legacy

Hopper won over 30 prizes and awards, both for her impeccable career in the military and for her distinguished career as a computer scientist and programmer. Besides all of these, she was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities worldwide during her lifetime.

A documentary film about her life and amazing successes is currently in production. Female employees at the Microsoft Corporation formed an employee group called “Hoppers” and founded a scholarship in her honor.

Actually, since 2015, one of the competition fields at the FIRST Robotics Competition world championship is named after this amazing lady: Grace Hopper.

Grace passed away on New Year’s Day 1992 of natural causes, during her sleep, at the age of 85. She left behind a strong, important message for the empowerment of women, and for the importance of gender equity, both in the tech world and in the military. She was simply amazing, and her story is now much more than just a legend.

Some very cool Grace Hopper quotes

She was an amazing and inspiring lady. We want you to read these very inspirational quotes from her, maybe that way, you can get to know her a bit better, and therefore, you can get to admire her even more.

“Leadership is a two-way street, loyalty up and loyalty down. Respect for one’s superiors; care for one’s crew.”

“You don’t manage people; you manage things. You lead people.”

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

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Your kids can also change the world. Teach them how to code

Just like Grace Hopper, both your daughters and your sons could change the world. The one thing needed is an opportunity and for them to receive the right tools. It is up to you. Register them to one of our online coding courses and offer them the amazing possibility of actually turning their ideas into fantastic and praiseworthy realities. If they can dream of it, they can make it happen. With code, everything is possible.

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