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Women In Tech: Exploring Emerging Technologies in Software Design

July 13, 2023
In recent years, there’s been a significant shift toward gender diversity in emerging software design.

This article is part of the TechXchange: Workers in Science and Engineering (WISE).

What you’ll learn:

  • Why neurodiversity is beneficial for both individual team members and the organization as a whole.
  • How women impact the field of software design and technology.
  • What other fields might soon be dominated by prominent female figures.

Men have long dominated the tech industry, while women remained underrepresented in various roles. But in recent years, a major shift has taken place toward gender diversity in the field, particularly in emerging software design technologies. 

A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity were 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile. It suggests that gender diversity in tech benefits individuals and society, and positively impacts the bottom line.

The Unique Role of Women in Software Design and Engineering

Gender-diverse and neurodiverse teams are more innovative and productive compared to their non-diverse counterparts. Women in tech especially provide their teams with new opportunities that they otherwise would miss out on.

Female leaders historically show higher levels of collaboration and constructive feedback. Women are natural collaborators who bring strong empathy to their work, empowering each team member to deliver even better results.

In addition, high-performing teams are fueled by physiological safety. Creating gender equality across leadership in these teams leads to better results, as women tend to better reflect the company’s values compared to men.

Female Leaders in Emerging Technologies

Women are not only making strides in the tech industry as a whole, but they’re also leading the way in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the metaverse, and hybrid design. 

AI refers to developing computer systems performing tasks that typically require human intelligence and input. The metaverse, on the other hand, describes a collective virtual shared space created by the convergence of virtual reality, augmented reality, and other emerging technologies. Finally, hybrid design combines physical and digital design elements, enabling designers to create products and experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital worlds. 

One notable woman leader in AI is Fei-Fei Li, a professor at Stanford University and the founder of AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in AI education and research. Li is a renowned researcher in computer vision and has made significant contributions to the development of AI systems.

In hybrid design—an emerging technology combining physical and digital design elements—women also take on leadership roles. One such woman is Karen X. Cheng. She’s a creative who showcases the use of complex technologies in previously unknown ways, helping lower the barrier of entry to this innovative and growing field.

The Impact of Emerging Technologies on Software Design

One of the most significant trends in software design is the ability to automate certain design processes. For example, AI can analyze user data to identify patterns and preferences, which can then inform the design of more personalized and user-friendly software. 

The metaverse also impacts the world of software design in significant ways. It includes designing virtual environments and objects and developing new ways of interacting with software through virtual and augmented reality. As a collective virtual shared space, the metaverse creates new opportunities for designers to create immersive and engaging software experiences.

"Women have a unique perspective and skill set that they bring to the software design and engineering field. They're contributing to the transformation of software design and are bringing new opportunities and benefits for designers. As emerging technologies continue to shape the future of software design, it is important to recognize the unique perspectives and skill sets women bring to the table”—Hannah Gutkauf, the Global Partner & Head of Emerging Tech Team at Manyone.

Manyone is a strategy-design hybrid consultancy focusing on helping businesses create a better future for people, the planet, and businesses through strategic creativity. It provides a cross-disciplinary approach to solving future challenges by blending strategy and design execution in one process rapidly. The company’s experimental approach focuses on smart, well-informed ideas, getting feedback, discovering opportunities, and iterating to create a better future through action and delivering positive change.

Benefits of Emerging Technologies

As mentioned, the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence and the Metaverse is revolutionizing the world of software design, offering new opportunities and benefits for designers: 

  • Improved efficiency: AI can help designers automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as testing and debugging, allowing them to focus on more creative work.
  • Personalized user experiences: AI can analyze user data to identify patterns and preferences, enabling designers to create more personalized and intuitive software experiences. 
  • Immersive and engaging experiences: The metaverse offers designers new opportunities to create immersive and engaging software experiences through virtual and augmented reality. 

Future of Women Engineers in Software Design

Designers will have access to new tools and opportunities to create more personalized, adaptive, and engaging user software experiences thanks to AI, machine learning, and the metaverse. 

With AI, software can learn from user interactions and adapt to their needs and preferences over time. And virtual and augmented reality can create immersive experiences that feel more like a natural extension of the real world. 

The tech industry is changing rapidly, and these technologies are opening up new software design and engineering possibilities. Women are increasingly making their mark in this field, and their contributions are essential to creating innovative and inclusive software that meets the needs of diverse users. 

By working together, we can harness the power of emerging technologies to create more efficient, personalized, adaptive, and engaging software, ultimately improving people's lives worldwide.

Read more articles in the TechXchange: Workers in Science and Engineering (WISE).

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