Digital platforms are bigger than ever, and that’s saying something considering the fact that they encompass nearly everything.
To be clear, digital platforms specifically refer to the cloud-based software and services that businesses use in their day-to-day functions—in other words, almost everything. And they’re hot right now because they work: Companies that offensively deploy demand-side digital platforms are increasing their revenue.
According to a survey of over 2,500 CIOs, cloud computing is the second-most in-demand skill when looking to add new team members. Moving applications to the cloud and serverless computing allows companies to be much more agile in an ever-changing world, so it follows that those skills would be in-demand. As companies opt to save resources by utilizing the cloud, skilled engineers will be needed to make sure all applications are functional and secure.
Cloud computing jobs are predicted to increase by 1.4 million by 2020, meaning that there are a lot of exciting ways for women to enter the community. Though only about 11 percent of the information security workforce is women, cloud computing and other digital platforms are growing rapidly, which gives many women a unique opportunity to enter the space and make their mark.
Cloud computing's innovation
Cloud computing as an idea was invented in the ’50s, when mainframe computer efficiency was increased by allowing multiple terminals to access the mainframe while sharing processing power. However, cloud computing as we know it was born in 1999, when the internet began offering significant bandwidth and Salesforce began offering software via its website.
In 2003, Amazon was growing too fast for its infrastructure to keep up, so Benjamin Black and Chris Pinkham looked into decoupling applications from the infrastructure. The proposal eventually was approved by Jeff Bezos and became Elastic Compute Cloud; it was one of Amazon Web Services’ first products in 2006 as well as one of the first IaaS products ever released. From there, the industry has exploded to offer cloud versions of nearly any software or service you can imagine.
Today, cloud computing is much more than applications hosted on the internet rather than in servers. Containers and microservices have, in effect, made the cloud modular, allowing for faster and more efficient implementation and deployment. Applications created for the cloud are more interconnected than ever, creating digital ecosystems that provide consumers and businesses with end-to-end cloud solutions. The newest trend, serverless computing, takes all of these concepts to the nth degree, allowing businesses to use the pay-as-you-go model for server space and data housing rather than building and maintaining their own servers. All of this allows for huge amounts of scalability at a relatively low cost, while also allowing for quick pivots in strategy that won’t break the bank or completely derail day-to-day functions.
Women in the clouds
Women in digital platforms experience the same gender gap as the rest of tech, but there are still many women in the space doing amazing work. We’ve compiled a list of women who are making waves in the digital platforms space to celebrate their contributions. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we’d love to hear more about women innovating digital platforms.
As an analyst and vice president of Everest Group well-versed in IT and business processes, Burnett advises companies on automation technologies, sourcing and competitive strategies. She is an expert in service optimization technologies such as Robotic Process Automation and AI. She is also the founder of AI Accelerator, which provides free AI events, seminars and webcasts through BCSWomen.
Frazelle is a developer advocate for the Azure cloud program at Microsoft who is an expert in containers. She has previously worked at Docker, where she focused on making containers more secure. She built the site contained.af to demonstrate that containers can be secured if configured properly.
Jocelyn DeGance Graham
Cofounder and president of LEVERS, a competency and project-based learning platform, Graham is also Diversity Partner Liaison to Google as well as the founder of Cloud Network of Women. Cloud Network of Women (CloudNOW) is a non-profit dedicated to promoting equality in the tech world and celebrating women’s contributions to the cloud.
Marsh is currently the director of engineering tools at Netflix, and is responsible for ensuring the continuous integration, delivery and deployment of all the tools used by Netflix’s engineers to the AWS cloud. Her team has created tools to aid in cloud deployment and management, some of which are released as open-source. Previously, she worked as a software engineer and spent 13 years as the president of SRT Solutions, a software development company that focuses on mentoring their clients’ software developers in addition to creating software.
As an expert in cloud computing, business intelligence, data warehousing and data center markets, Rubin is currently the cofounder and CEO of ClearSky Data. ClearSky Data offers cloud data storage and data recovery as a service. As a self-proclaimed “repeat entrepreneur,” she previously co-founded CloudSwitch, which enabled enterprise companies to run their applications on the cloud and maintain contact with data centers. CloudSwitch was acquired by Verizon in 2011.
Salibindla is a senior software engineer for Karsun Solutions with 15 years of experience specializing in designing, creating and implementing enterprise applications, specifically Agile BPM (business process management) solutions. She is an expert in complex cloud-to-cloud integration solutions and microservices architecture methodology, believing that Agile platforms, containers, and continuous deployment have contributed greatly to the popularity of microservices.
Other women making waves in cloud computing
Heather Andrus, Product Design and Engineering Leadership at Radius Innovation & Development
Resources for women in cloud computing
Women in Cloud
“Our mission is to inspire, empower and accelerate the growth for women-led technology companies. We focus on digital transformation to provide digital access, digital capabilities and connections to customers through leading cloud industry, community and government partners.”
“CloudNOW, 501c3, was founded in 2011 with the backing of some of the leading voices in cloud, both male and female. CloudNOW works in concert with the industry to promote equality from the inside out, highlighting women’s contributions to cloud, and creating a value-driven meritocracy– for today’s leaders and our future leaders. CloudNOW stresses technical content, conversations, and demonstrated expertise in cloud, open source, and converging tech.”
“Recognizing the importance of role models for the development of youth, and the disproportions of women in tech, we aim to provide leadership and inspiration for youth of both genders.
“Creating visibility through competition in hackathons is one of the ways we build awareness, but more than that we will be providing education in coordination with the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and the JCC in inner cities, classrooms, and the portions of rural America where technology is not as prevalent a career path.”
“Cloud Girls is an open, vendor neutral, not for profit community of female technology advocates dedicated to educating themselves and their stakeholders (organizations and customers) about the vast and dynamic cloud ecosystem. By exploring emerging market and technical trends, advocating best practices/reference architectures, and building community consensus, Cloud Girls is fostering the next wave of women in technology.”
This Week in Google
“Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis, Stacey Higginbotham, and their guests talk about the latest Google and cloud computing news.”
“Host Natalie Eckdahl, MBA is a coach to high performing women. She is married with three children ages 3-16. Natalie helps women entrepreneurs own their role as CEO through her business trainings, on air coaching calls and expert interviews. Learn how to master your mindset, grow as a leader, refine your strategies, build your team and gain visibility in your industry. Natalie is also an expert in outsourcing at home and at work.”
The Women in Tech Show
“Technical interviews with prominent women in tech.”
Women in Tech Podcast
“The #womenintech Podcast is hosted by WeAreLATech’s Espree Devora and features inspiring Women in Tech from Engineers, Female Founders, Investors, UX and UI Designers, Journalists all sharing their story how they got to where they are today. The purpose of the show is for every listener to walk away feeling ‘If She Can Do It So Can I.’ I call it ‘actionable empowerment.’”
Women in Tech Talk to Yaz
“Witty: Women In Tech Talk to Yaz is a bi-monthly iTunes podcast about females disrupting the technology industry.
“The founder and host, Yasmin Alameddine, has fun and candid conversations with her guests. The guests share their first exposure to tech, the challenges of the industry, and their thoughts on recent tech news.
“Her guests range from startup founders to tech goliath executives who live everywhere from San Francisco, Toronto, to Singapore.”
“Join professional developers Kiana and Julie as they dabble in new technologies, confess their development sins, and laugh at the awkward realities of life as a female developer.”
“We are three Black women in tech, telling our stories, one podcast at a time.”