Meet Australia's top 50 female programmers - Women's Agenda

Meet Australia’s top 50 female programmers

In alphabetical order here are Australia’s top 50 female programmers. Their backgrounds and experience were so varied that building a list that ranked them from 50 to one seemed a little counterintuitive. We’d rather celebrate the diversity here and hope you agree that there are some amazingly talented women in the Australian tech scene.

Agnes Ro

Agnes is a developer and team lead at Atlassian, and has been working here for almost eight years, where she has pioneered several initiatives for improved front-end performance in their applications, among several other achievements.

Aleissia Laidlacker

Aleissia was the lead AI programmer on Assassins creed (Brotherhood and no 3). She not only worked on AI solutions, but she also was incharge of coordinating the gameplay and animation teams along with AI. She gave part of the AI summit keynote this year at GDC (as well as one previously) and ran a game jam for ubisoft.

Ana Djordjevic

Ana has a background in hardware (she made an electronic musical wind instrument in Uni) and now enjoys writing code. She started with assembler, C and C++ but is now coding in Ruby and Haskell in her day job at where her code is running 24/7 providing services to a few million iPads.

Angie Ann Gove

Angie is an amazing young woman who has taken the leap of changing career paths from aviation to tech, while moving countries to Australia. Angie learnt to code through General Assembly. While at General Assembly the little free time she had was used to keeping up with the different startup communities and networking at Rails Dev Hub, Sydney RoRo meetup and getting involved in the Rails Girls events which ultimately lead to her getting offered a job as a full time developer for a local company, JobFutures.

Anna Tito

Anna works as game developer at Kixeye in Brisbane.She studied at RMIT and by her final year she was working as the lead programming tutor for the computer science professors on most of the programming classes in our games programming degrees.

Alice Boxhall

Alice Boxhall works at Google on accessibility tools for Google Chrome. She is a member of the Ada Initiative board of advisors and frequent open source speaker.

April Joanne Ayres

April has worked tirelessly over the last 15 years to improve process in her workplaces. Having written software since she was a child, she is always eager to pass along her lifetime of knowledge to her colleagues, the result of a pure enthusiasm devoid of career machinations and workplace politics.

Belinda Pearson

Belinda worked with Australia’s first computer, CSIRAC. She wrote a short article for the Museum of Victoria CSIRAC collection and said this about women in computing:

“I have been asked to comment on the role of women in computing in those days. It was common for women to be the data processors in scientific environments. This was usually done using large calculators, of which Marchants were the best known at the time. Betty Laby ran a laboratory in the Statistics Department in which a large number of women operated these calculators, processing data for the predominantly male staff and research workers. The women were often called computers, and it was a skilled and demanding occupation. When the computer became more available, a few more women, such as Alison Doig were amongst the early users. They were usually research workers who wanted to process their experimental results. The calculator operators gradually disappeared as their work was done by computers.”

Belinda Teh

Belinda is an engineer at Shoes of Prey where she takes care of 3D render scripting, image manipulation and processing, iPad application and mobile development, website development – including traffic growth & experimentation and database management within the Google App Engine framework in Python.

Bethany Skurrie

Ruby & Groovy consultant for DiUS, she also helps build PACT for She is known for being results driven and team orientated.

Brianna Laugher

Professional cross-disciplinarian: early-career computational linguist, software developer and hobby open source geek. Particularly interested in Wikimedia and free culture resources, open access to public sector information, web-based development, agile development and Python. Particularly experienced in Python and (previously) Prolog-based machine translation development.

Bronwyn Zande

Bronwen runs own software firm. She is active in females in ICT initiatives and founded the Girl Geek Dinners for Brisbane/ Gold Coast region. She often contributes as a judge at Microsoft Innovation Centre in Brisbane and haas contributed to Imagine Cup as a finalist and judge.

Cassie Woolley

Cassie Woolley (of Brisbane, Australia) rarely promotes herself nor goes to networking events etc. She just loves programming! Content management systems, hooking sites up to online banking etc are some of the things we know that she’s worked on. Cassie develops in ColdFusion.

Catherine Edwards

Cath was the CTO of Chomp when they were acquired by Apple in early 2012. She’s now one of the top engineers in iTunes. She’s a strong advocate for women in technology and a mentor to many.

Catherine Eibner

Co-founder of Project Tripod and a senior startup adviser at Blue Chilli, Catherine has been a mentor to many young women through her roles at BizPark and now at Blue Chilli. She also ran her own development company for a time.

Claire Tran

Claire is one of three members of the core team that developed digital subscriptions for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on time and within budget, which has added significant value to the company. She is a tech evangelist within the company, initiating events like TEER (TEch-beER: a monthly series of talks by programmers in Fairfax on various Tech topics eg: Play, Rspec with Puppet, Clojure etc) and co-hosting Rails InstallFest.

Damana Madden

Damana has been building big web applications that business want and users like to use for many years. She’s for federal gov, large media organisations, banks and a couple of startups in the areas of mobile technology and vision tracking. She’s was also one of the original organisers of Girl GeekS Sydney.

Danielle Madeley

Currently developing secure health information management systems for Government, Danielle has previously worked for the Bureau of Meteorology, developing climate information software. She is also highly active in the open source community and as an organiser of Linux and Python conferences.

Deanna Hood

Deanna turned 15 a few weeks before graduating from high school, and then went straight on to be the top graduate of both her electrical engineering degree and bachelor of maths.At uni Deanna was the president of the women in engineering club. She developed a brain-controlled car during undergrad: technology which could be used to help paralysed patients. For her graduate job she coded the electronics for a low-tech respiratory rate sensor being developed to diagnose pneumonia in children in Mozambique: she gave a TED talk about it as a finalist for TED2013, aged 20.

Denise Fernandez

Denise is a passionate software engineer currently working at Insurance Australia Group. She’s been an engineer for around 9 years. She has developed software in many different domains, such as steel manufacturing, public transport, vehicle manufacturing and insurance. She has programmed in a number of different languages including Java, Javascript, CSS, HTML, Scala, assembly and probably others.

Edith Tom

Edith joined us at Atlassian four years ago as an intern, and right from the start she was tackling bugs and improvements to our Confluence product with a ferocity that surprised everyone in the team. She smashed out some 40+ bug fixes and improvements. Rejoining Atlassian as a graduate in early 2012, Edith has been rated as “Legendary” by her manager and team over the past two years.

Elle Meredith

Elle is an aussie Ruby developer. Not only is she a very accomplished developer and designer, but she is very active in the community, organising RailsGirls events, the annual RubyConfAU, and being a member of the Ruby Australia committee.

Georgi Knox

Georgi is a developer currently working at Red Balloon in Sydney. She has worked at a number of organisations in Sydney over the past 8 years or so of her professional career. She has worked extensively in both backend and more recently frontend web development, most notably in Java and JavaScript. She is the head organiser of Girl Geeks Sydney.

Kat Clark

In between training as an acrobat and travelling through Asia she runs a tight ship, managing umpteen clients, hosting and building their sites and should be held up as inspiration to any young girl who has 1s and 0s in their eyes and dreams of being a developer one day.

Katherine Neil

Katherine is a veteran games developer whose expertise is sound and music. As well as having many years of commercial games development experience under her belt, Katherine is active in the indie games scene and recently released a the critically acclaimed independent game ‘Alone in the Park’.

Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a developer for Envato. Not only does she manage, facilitate and work hard on shipping projects, she’s a genuinely lovely person and considered an inspiration to work with.

Katie Miller

Katie is a polyglot programmer with a penchant for Haskell. She co-founded the Lambda Ladies group for women in functional programming. The former newspaper journalist is an OpenShift Developer Advocate at Red Hat and co-author of the upcoming O’Reilly book ‘Getting Started with OpenShift’.

Kay Thorne

Lay worked with Belinda Pearson on Australia’s first computer, but little is known about her.

Khadijeh (Kadi) Banihashem

Kadi works at BlueChilli as one of the ChilliSource engineers. She works on greenfield projects, helping entrepreneurs build their dreams and supports the development of their web and mobile applications. Kadi has built over 5 businesses in just over a year, is ranked in the top 1% of Microsoft .NETengineers and taught herself iOS development in just a few weeks.

Lidija Loridon

Lidija is technical director at Literatu, an education focussed Australian startup. She has a wealth of technical expertise ranging from software architecture, development, sysadmin/ops, through to technical management. In a time when many people are specialising into more and more niche areas, Lidja stands out as a well rounded generalist.

Lucy Bain

Lucy runs Rails Girls Sydney and has been a bit source of inspiration for newbie developers to get their feet wet. She has run a number of events, most recently Rails Girls Next at the Rails conference which was a sell out event.

Lyn Nagara

Lyn has co-founded a successful digital agency called Fat Robot Studio which boasts some of Australia’s leading startups as clients. She is the Community Manager at the co-working space Collins Collective, winner of numerous hackathons, an active member of the startup community in Melbourne who often gives up her time mentoring others. She’s a Rubyist, full-stack developer and all round top person.

Megan Woods

Considered world class by her colleagues, Melbourne-based Megan loves building systems to support research into logistics route planning based on real time data from distributed environmental and product sensors.

Michela Ledwidge

Director, Mod Productions. She has two decades of hands-on interactive entertainment innovation across python, Javascript, C++, Obj-C, & perl. She also was an Artist and Director, ACO VIRTUAL – SXSW 2014 Interactive Music Award finalist, among many other achievements.

Michelle McPartland

Michelle works for 2K Australia, the games studio in Canberra, Australia that worked on Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite, as well as The Bureau. Michelle has a knack for cutting through the clutter of a piece of game design and homing in on what’s important for implementation.

Narinda Reeders

Narinda currently works for Icelab in Melbourne. She’s a backend web developer, mostly doing Ruby on Rails and JavaScript, building diverse project like the Convict Love Tokens interactive for the National Museum through to to the Wheeler Centre website and the Forever Now art project. She is also a new media artist herself

Nicky Ringland

Nicky is passionate about getting more girls into tech, and is actively working to bring about change. She’s a cofounder at Grok Learning, a start-up teaching the world to program. (Last year they taught 6000 Australian students to program. Nicky won the Warren Centre’s ‘Vision 30′ Under 30 Australian Competition on game-changing technologies of the next 30 years, and how world-class industries can be developed from them in Australia.

Olivia Gillies

Olivia is development team lead at Traction Digital – she was great when I worked with her back in 2003 – 2007 building a high performance, global digital marketing platform on Oracle & Java.

Penny Wyatt

Penny is the Team Lead of the JIRA QA team at Atlassian. We do QA a little differently at Atlassian. Penny’s job is not to actually _test_ but rather coach others, build tools, influence and spread her awesomeness across the whole dev team, so the devs become great testers. Penny, together with her QA team are vital in helping the JIRA team of 70 developers, across 3 offices ship great software to paying customers every two weeks.

Priya Singh

Priya works as a freelance developer. She travels and works, and has mostly worked in New Zealand and Melbourne for the longest periods of time (as far as I know!). She is extremely knowledgable, writes beautiful code (front end and back end), and is always in-the-know about new, cool web products like BugHerd and Silverstripe, and shares her knowledge with others. She has a high level of quality and is very generous with her time and help.

Sandra Mau

Sandra is the founder and CEO of See-Out which is at the forefront of a fundamental shift in the trademark search and registration process. The Company’s flagship product, SeekTM, is a web-based visual search engine for professionals conducting more than 18 million trademark searches and examinations annually. She is an inventor on 7 patent applications.

Sarah Jayne Bennett

Still a student at UNSW, but already teaching other undergrads, worked at Google and generally incredibly intelligent and capable.

Sasha Bermeister

Sasha finished her CS degree last year at USYD, winning the ‘Google Prize for Excellence in Computer Science’. While at uni, she interned and worked at big name companies including Altium, Macquarie, Freelancer, Shoes of Prey and Google, where she now works as a software engineer. She also has worked at smaller companies such as GoGet, and as a freelancer.

Silvia Pfeiffer

Co-founder and business leader for a online video metrics company. She is also a former research scientist with experience in developing new applications for digital networked media since 1996. Invented the Annodex technology, which extends the World Wide Web to digital media by reducing the complexity of binary media data to the text level, which allows searching, hyperlinking, and composition as though they were html pages

Tina Boyce (Tina Luong)

Tina is a developer from Telstra in Australia. What’s great about her is not the fact she is flexible to cater for all different types of environment but the fact she can also set up the systems to host these web-applications and maintain servers in both Windows and Linux environment. She also has the ability to build computers and aims to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Trish Rock

As the CEO and founder of Strategic Business Apps she assists all types of industries embrace the new mobile marketplace. She has been a business owner herself since age 24 and knows the challenges in physical business as well as online presence.

Yvonne Everett

Yvonne has been coding for over 30 years. She obtained Master’s degree in Computer Science – despite some well meaning old man trying to tell her it wasn’t a suitable degree for a woman. Early on,sheI built embedded systems for fruit packing systems on farms. She built a system for lung function measurement – Nelson Mandela had TB and was tested on it while it was still in beta and he was still in jail in the late 80s.

We got a little excited with our headline naming ’50 women’. There are 47 programmers listed above. Who should be the final three to round out the 50? Share your suggestions with us in the comments below.

This was first published by online venture builder Pollenizer. It is republished here with permission. 


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