Ada Lovelace Day

I came to know about Ada Lovelace Day through Marilyn Pratt, a very remarkable lady whom I got to know in January 2010, thanks to my new assigment. She is a certified ABAP programmer and instructor. But she is much more than that. One always comes out inspired after coming in touch with her. Whether it is evangelising the community or whether it is reaching out to programmers around the world for support during a crisis like the earthquake in Haiti, Marilyn is definitely the person for the job. She was mentioned as “super-connector” in an article on Huffington Post!

Now you must be wondering who is or was Ada Lovelace. She was the lady who worked with Charles Babbage on the world’s first computer – the Analytical Engine and is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer! (Another fact of her life is that she was the daughter of Lord Byron. Her parents separated when she was very young and she was never in touch with her father. So the only credit that we might accord to Lord Byron regarding Ada would be his genes.)

I, as a female working in technology, felt that if Ada in the 19th century could show her analytical prowess in that day and age, then it’s definitely right to celebrate this day in her memory – for all the women around the world who have stood up to work not only in technology, but in any area which was (or still is) male dominated.
But since the primary focus of this day is to acknowledge the women in technology, therefore I decided to write about three women at SAP with whom I have worked in the past. It might sound strange, but, in India, you would find a lot of women working in technology side but in Germany, I didn’t find too many of them. That’s the reason for choosing to write about the ones I met in Germany.

I will write about them in the chronological order of meeting them.
I had the chance to work with Silke Lubjuhn (nee Both) in 2007. She has completed her graduate course in Business Economics and has worked in a financial institution before joining SAP. At SAP she has worked on several releases of SAP Netweaver BW and now she is working towards becoming a Solution Architect. (Incidentally – we have never seen each other! But that didn’t stop us from working together to do a good job :-)).

I got to work with Constanze Melzer , also in 2007 on another piece of the project. We worked together for about six months before I finally met her in the summer of 2008 at Germany. It was a pleasure, as I had expected it would be!Constanze hails from Chemnitz, Germany and is a Mechanical Engineer by education. Prior to working at SAP, she used to work on developing the software for the automation of tasks in mechanical engineering. So when she came at SAP, it was not a complete change of career path and at present she is working on an area which is comparatively much closer to what she studied. She is well-travelled and is endowed with many talents – she plays piano, she makes paintings and above all – she is passionate about dancing!
You can find some more details about her here.

In the same summer of 2008, I also met Astrid Graeber. She is a software architect at SAP. She is a physicist by education and came to software just by chance! She told me that actually she had applied for a job in quality management at SAP but when she appeared for the interview, she was told that the job had already been given to someone else!
But, the interviewer was good enough to ask if she would like a job in Software. She decided to give it a shot considering that SAP was a good company and Heidelberg was a good place :-), and whoosh! the magic of software development has not let her think of doing anything else since the last 12 years! She quotes Horatio Nelson – “Something must be left to chance.” and I am glad that she did take a chance!

I’d like to mention one more colleague with whom I didn’t directly work on any project but I know her because we were part of the same big team. She is Andrea Hahn who hails from Sprendlingen, Germany and is into software development at SAP. But unlike Astrid, she is not here by chance! She always knew that she wanted to be in this industry – she had grown with it! (Alright, both her parents were Software Developers- so what do you expect?) Her siblings are also in technology – so it’s like the “family profession” :-). She studied Business Information Technology after school, to realise her dream of becoming an application developer.

So whether they are here by chance or by plan, it’s a pleasure for me to have known these illustrious women and with that I raise my e-toast to Ada and to these women :-)! Cheers!(or as the Germans would say – Prost!)

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