by Jolie O’Dell
While women developers, computer programmers and hackers of all stripes are by far outnumbered by men in their field, they’re hardly nonexistent. They blog, they tweet, and they do fantastic work to keep the Internet afloat. We’ve chosen to highlight 15 reader-recommended tech women here; if you know of others who should be on our radar — specifically women with coding skills — please do let us know about them in the comments section.
Some of the women on our list are “Internet famous.” Some, less so — for now at least. Some have worked at big tech companies like Google and Apple and Adobe. Some are startup employees or fly solo. Some are hardcore hackers, some are web design-focused. We’ve even got a hardware geek on our list.
With a big hat-tip to all our friends on Twitter who recommended these women, here are 15 technically skilled women (in no particular order) to follow.
1. Pamela Fox
Pamela Fox is a graduate from the University of Southern California Computer Science Department, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees with minors in 3D animation and linguistics. She lives in Sydney, Australia and works for Google as a Wave API Developer Advocate.
This woman is a self-taught computer chip designer and expert electrical and mechanical engineer. She taught herself to program as a kid by reading Commodore 64 manuals. Ellsworth lives in Oregon, works as a consultant, and has a serious penchant for pinball machines, of which she owns 60 or so.
3. Emily Chang
Emily Chang lives in San Francisco and works at Ideacodes, a web dev/design shop she co-founded with husband Max Kiesler. She’s a nationally recognized expert in user experience and interaction design. In addition to her Twitter account, we also recommend her personal blog.
4. Hilary Mason
This data-loving lady is a computer science professor with a thing for machine learning. Mason does research at Johnson & Wales University and also works as a scientist for Bit.ly . She occasionally posts code on her personal website.
Danese Cooper is the Wikimedia Foundation’s CTO. She’s also a huge open-source advocate; in fact, she’s affectionately known as “The Open Source Diva” in certain circles. She worked for the Peace Corps, on the floor of a stock exchange, and even at a law firm before making the move to tech, where she began at Apple in 1991.
6. Leah Culver
Leah Culver is a software engineer specializing in web apps and Django development. In 2007, she co-founded Pownce, a social networking site, and sold it in late 2008. These days, she’s a freelancer in San Francisco, where she cranks out applications and speaks on a number of topics relevant to web devs and designers. Culver is also an open-source advocate; we recommend checking out her blog.
Amanda Wixted is a game programmer and an iPhone tech lead at Zynga. In fact, she’s the one responsible for FarmVille for iPhone. Before she went to Zynga, she was a lead programmer for Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man for iPhone. And how’s this for street cred: Each of the iPhone games Wixted has worked on has been in the Top 10 Free Apps in the App Store.
8. Sarah Allen
Sarah Allen has helped to develop such products as After Effects, Shockwave, Flash video and OpenLaszlo, a development framework for web apps. Formerly an employee at Apple, Adobe and Macromedia (pre-dotcom crash), she now acts as CTO of mobile startup Mightyverse, does some consulting on the side, and reaches out to women in the Ruby on Rails developer community. You can keep up with Allen’s goings-on via her blog.
9. Jenn Lukas
Jenn Lukas says she loves three things in life: Coffee, kittens and XHTML. Judging from her website, we’d guess that unicorns are a close fourth. She’s done web design projects for such big names as ESPN, Johns Hopkins University, United Healthcare, ABC Sports and Microsoft. Lukas lives in Philadelphia and works at Happy Cog, a web design and UX consultancy.
10. Nicole Sullivan
As a performance engineer and international evangelist for Yahoo, Nicole Sullivan does as much communication and research as she does actual app building. She’s an engaging, readable, and regular blogger, and a CSS expert to boot. Sullivan lives in Menlo Park, California.
11. Laura Thomson
Laura Thomson is an “Internet engineer,” a self-applied job title we don’t see thrown around too often. But given her position as a senior software engineer at Mozilla, makers of Firefox, we can’t argue with the description. She’s a FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) advocate, and she wrote the book on PHP and MySQL web development. She’s an Australian who lives in Maryland.
12. Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer was one of the first 20 engineers at Google; in fact, she was hired in the same month that Google got its first round of funding. Currently, she’s the company’s VP of search product and user experience, which means she basically green-lights every product that gets released to the general public, including Gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps and many other apps and features.
13. Sara Chipps
This software developer is one of the minds behind Girl Develop IT, a low-cost program for women who want to learn how to code. Chipps posts regularly on her personal blog, including code samples, and she’s particularly skilled in .NET development. She lives in New Jersey and works on contract.
14. Alison Gianotto
Alison Gianotto has been blogging for 15 years, give or take — that means she started out before blogging was called “blogging.” She co-authored a few books on PHP/MySQL, too. Gianotto is currently working in New York City as the director of information architecture at a creative agency.
15. Gina Trapani
Gina Trapani is a programmer, but she’s perhaps best-known for founding Lifehacker, a blog that we at Mashable like to read, ourselves. She tapered off her Lifehacker leadership in January 2009 and recently wrote a thorough guide to Google Wave. She’s currently developing ThinkTank, a web-based platform for crowdsourcing insights via social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Buzz. Trapani resides in San Diego, California.
BONUS: Women Developer Lists on Twitter
Fifteen geeky, nerdy, technically talented women not enough for you? Check out these Twitter Lists of women developers and engineers:
- Terri Oda’s Technical Women
- Anita Borg Institute’s Women to Follow
- Grace Hopper Celebration’s 2010 Speakers
- Nicole Sullivan’s Grrl Geeks
- Jolie O’Dell’s Coding With Ovaries
- @DevChix’s Dev Chix