Megan Smith spoke at Google’s Made with Code event to encourage young women’s interest in software coding.
In early September 2014, Megan Smith became the new Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, of the United States. Appointed by President Barack Obama, Smith is the first woman to hold the position of U.S. CTO. The CTO looks for ways the U.S. government can use technology to solve problems and work better for Americans.
In her new job, Smith is one of the most highly visible women in the technology field. A talented computer programmer, she has worked hard to get more young women interested in technology, or tech, jobs. Smith says that one of the reasons there are fewer women than men working in tech jobs is because women have had few role models in the field. People with an interest in technology are counting on Smith to be an important role model in her new position. They hope she will inspire more young women to pursue careers in the field.
Smith was born in October 1964. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and Fort Erie, Ontario. After graduating from high school, she studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). There, she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. She was part of a team of MIT students who designed and built a solar car, which they raced 2,000 miles across the Australian outback. After college, she worked with several startup companies before getting a job with Google in 2003.
Smith spent many years helping run some of Google’s most innovative programs. For nine years, she was vice president of the company’s “moonshot” lab, also known as Google[x]. This secretive facility develops cutting-edge projects like the self-driving car. Smith also led the team that launched Google’s Made with Code campaign this year. This project let her focus on getting more young women interested in becoming software coders. Coders are people who write the instructions that tell a computer what to do. Smith recognizes that, in her important new leadership position, she is helping blaze a trail for women in technology.
Image credit: ©Taylor Hill/FilmMagic for Google/Getty Images
- Made with Code
Watch an inspiring short film about Made with Code to learn more about the project.