Interview with Joanna Hodgson, Director of presales at Red Hat

Ada Lovelace Day special: “It’s important that the female pioneers are visible and celebrated”

Dominik Mohilo
Joanna Hodgson

We’re celebrating Ada Lovelace Day on JAXenter! Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and is today known as one of the first programmers in history. We spoke with Joanna Hodgson, Director of presales at Red Hat, about what Ada Lovelace means for women in tech today and her very personal connection with this inspiring woman. And we asked her, how she is going to celebrate this special occasion.

JAXenter: You already participated in our Women in Tech series last year. How (if at all) has the situation changed since we last spoke?

Joanna Hodgson: It remains a struggle to attract experienced women back into the tech industry after a career break, but there are a lot of positive signs amongst younger groups that they are enthused by tech and careers in IT. We see lots of girls attending and participating in tech groups and competitions such as Young Coders Meetup, Open Schools Coding Competition and Red Hat’s Co.Labs events. We’ve seen strong interest from young women in graduate programmes too. Not all (maybe very few) employers expect a technical degree and so they can appeal to anyone with an interest in technology and provide excellent training and development opportunities.

JAXenter: Ada Lovelace is not really a role model for many women in the modern world, but of course she did play a big role as a pioneer in the tech sector. Can you explain what Ada means for you?

Joanna Hodgson: Pioneers are important to human progress. They push the boundaries and challenge the status quo. Ada’s work was reused multiple times allowing others to build on her initial ideas and approach. As a woman working in the tech industry it’s important that the female pioneers are visible and celebrated. It helps to show that this industry is not only a place for women now, but that it always has been.

At a very personal level, we named our daughter Hannah Ada. A beautiful name (we think), but also a nod to Ada Lovelace and her significance to our industry.

JAXenter: How are you going to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day?

Joanna Hodgson: I will be attending Ada Lovelace Day Live! Hearing from some fabulous speakers and speaking to lots of like minded people. The run up to Ada Lovelace Day has been a great opportunity to recognise role models and people who inspire us

JAXenter: Thank you very much for the sharing your thoughts!

Joanna Hodgson is a technologist at heart and is fascinated by how technology can be applied to business and social challenges. She has worked in the IT industry for 24 years, mainly in technical presales and professional services, including senior business and technical leadership roles. At Red Hat, Joanna leads a team of solution architects helping clients solve business problems with open source software. She is passionate about the importance of good design in IT projects and promotes the use of design thinking to create user-centric solutions. She is a busy coach and mentor to many technical professionals and loves this part of her role. Joanna believes the IT industry must attract a more diverse workforce to deliver its full potential and actively encourages women to enter and remain in technical careers. She is mother to a lively daughter who keeps her and her husband on their toes.

Our woman in tech: Joanna Hodgson

Breaking the mold: “Women are not solely responsible for solving the diversity challenge”

Dominik Mohilo
Dominik Mohilo studied German and sociology at the Frankfurt University, and works at S&S Media since 2015.

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