Inspiring the Next Generation

All the contributors to this resource encourage both boys and girls to consider roles in the computing industry, and to keep an open mind about which roles are available – and who is best suited to fill them.

Thankfully we live in an era in British society which is much more enlightened than previously, where the talents of individuals can be recognised whether they are male or female.

We should all celebrate the many and varied achievements of the men and women who were pioneers in the field of computing, as they helped to improve all our lives and show how technology can positively impact us, today and in the future.

What advice would you give to young people about their outlook on life?

“Keep an open mind on everything and keep on asking questions!”

Joanna Chorley

Teaching Point: How did Joanna’s attitude to learning and achievement ensure that she fulfilled her ambitions?

What role do computers play in preventing or starting wars?

“We need to develop people who can keep us safe by stopping others breaking into our computer systems and stealing our information. ”

Major Helen Carter

Margaret Marrs shares her story

Margaret Marrs was senior computer operator for EDSAC in 1952, the first 'practical' stored program computer in the UK. She found the variety of work fascinating and over time when people in her team started to win major recognition for their work (such as the Nobel Peace Prize) she realised that the work she was involved in was pioneering.

“ I was so excited I was ill when I remembered that we could store 4 numbers as binary on paper tape which could be recalled to draw a graph! ”

Margret Marrs

Teaching Point: Why did Margaret think she was born at the right time?

Joyce Wheeler: EDSAC Researcher

“ It’s a pity more women did not go into computing as those that did have been very successful ”

Joyce Wheeler

Teaching Point: Do you have to be good at maths to be successful at programming computers?

At a young age, Stephanie had to leave Germany with her family to live in England to avoid persecution of by the Nazis as a ‘Kindertransportee’. This family context motivated her to strive to achieve something really worthwhile with her life that she felt has been saved by coming to the UK. She was determined not to be constrained by the context of the time and strongly believes that any individual should be able to achieve what they want regardless of their gender.

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Freelance Programmer

“On the wall it said research is the door to tomorrow … which had a big impact on us all”

Dame Stephanie Shirley

Teaching Point: Where did Stephanie get her inspiration to excel in the computing industry?

“ There are so many exciting developments in the world of computing that whether you are male or female you should just go for it! ”

Dame Stephanie Shirley

Teaching Point: How did Stephanie’s family background positively influence her aspirations for her own life?