Ada Lovelace Day: Meet Sophie Major

Today is Ada Lovelace day and alongside a lot of other people I pledged to write a blog post about a woman in technology I admire.

So here's my little post telling you people about my colleague Sophie Major:


Photo credit: Gopal Vijayaraghavan

Information Technology or IT is still quite a male dominated market. This is not necessarily because of prejudices but because of the fact that it is a game of geeks. It is really hard to find a woman that openly admits to being a geek though - most of the time it is mentioned as a hindrance to women having success in IT.

This leads to a few female geeks in the trenches fighting the good fight and challenging their male counterparts but it becomes a borderline miracle to find a woman who happily admits to being a geek and at the same time reaching management level. This is not a only a gender issue - whilst IT is very much dependent on geeks there is no real HR infrastructure for someone to be technically focused and reaching all the way up the career ladder.

Well, Sophie shows the world that it is possible to be very enthusiastic about technology and the people running and driving it forward (yes, being a geek) whilst being a manager and - a woman!

Sophie started the Yahoo Developer Network in the UK, dealing with everything the YDN supports in the US but extending it out to Europe, Asia, Canada and South America. She knows the markets, empowers the right people to talk to other right people and to their outside contacts about Yahoo and in general keeps the US aware of what the outside world is up to.

As a report to her I felt empowered and she got me to do my best with the limited resources we had available. Today we're still only two covering the vast area outside the US and my unchained enthusiasm and her skills in organizing the matters that need organizing and keeping an overall outlook on what's to come internally and externally makes us a highly successful team. I love working with a woman who knows what she wants and understands the market and how developers tick.

Sophie shows that being a geek in IT is not a hindrance to success and that there is nothing un-ladylike about it. The geek shall inherit the earth and gender should not at all play a part in this.

Chris Heilmann
Yahoo Developer Network