The percentage of of women holding technical jobs in corporate America is abysmally small — about 15% — and has been for years.
That means you need a microscope to find women in high-powered tech positions amidst a sea of men.
But among those women who do enter the field, and then stay the course, many are killing it in their professions. They’re inventing or working with amazing tech or are leaders at their companies.
So every year we get out our microscope and find a whole bunch of women engineers with fabulous, powerful jobs.
Lisette Titre, Art Manager at Ubisoft
Titre has been a video game developer for over thirteen years. A couple of months ago she landed at Ubisoft, makers of the smash hit Assassin's Creed series, as a manager in its art/computer animation department.
Not only does she have a geek's dream job, but Titre has also been a tireless advocate encouraging more young women, especially underprivileged youth, to consider the gaming industry as a career.
Amanda Stiles, Mission Operations Engineer at Space Exploration Technologies
Stiles is a training and simulation engineer for SpaceX's various commercial operations.
She came to SpaceX after running technical operations for the X PRIZE Foundation and was particularly involved in the Google Lunar X PRIZE, where Google is offering $US30 million in prizes to people who build robots to send to the moon.
She also did a stint at the NASA Ames Research Center, testing software for a lunar spacecraft.
Lisa Earnhardt, president, CEO at Intersect ENT
Intersect ENT makes a biotech device for millions of people suffering from from chronic ear and sinus infections. The tiny device is implanted into the body and delivers small, constant doses of medication, a less invasive alternative than surgery.
Earnhardt joined the company in 2008 and led it through an IPO last summer.
Prior to that she was president of Boston Scientific's Cardiac Surgery division with over 450 employees.
Deb Kilpatrick, CEO at Evidation Health
Between fitness trackers, smartphone apps, and all kinds of other mobile health tech devices, this thing called 'digital health' has become unwieldy.
Evidation Health is startup from GE Ventures and Stanford Healthcare launched in March that will clinically prove a health tech product is helpful for patients.
Kilpatrick is also co-founder of MedtechWomen, a peer group for women in the biotech field. She serves on the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.
Kilpatrick, who has a Ph.D. in biotech mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech, actually started her career in aerospace, working as an engineer on the F22 Raptor fighter jet at Pratt & Whitney.
Ayanna Howard, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Zyrobotics.
Howard is a professor at Georgia Tech specializing in the intersection of machine learning and robotics, (she has a a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering).
She spent 13 years in robotics R&D for places like the National Science Foundation and NASA until 2012. That's when she co-founded Zyrobotics, a Georgia Tech spin off .
Zyrobotics uses machine learning and robots to make educational toys for kids, with a particular emphasis on helping kids with special needs.
Karen Schramm, senior director of engineering at Broadcom
You know how software has been eating the world? Well this turns out to be very good for chip maker Broadcom who is now supplying all the big hardware makers with what's known as 'merchant silicon.'
That refers to a less expensive commodity computer chip which hardware makers buy instead of creating their own custom chips.
And Schramm is running one of the units that's been taking on the network equipment industry, Broadcom's Infrastructure & Networking Group.
Tracy Chou, software engineer at Pinterest
At age 27, Chou has become a well-known force in the Valley for her work pressing companies to publicly show how many women engineers they really employ, even launching a GitHub project to manage the task.
But she had actually been on the radar for years before that as a talented young engineer, having landed coveted internships at Google and Facebook before becoming an early engineer at hot startup Quora.
Three years ago, she moved to even an hotter startup, Pinterest, where she remains today. Valley insiders see her as a fast rising star.
Erica Lockheimer, director of growth engineering at LinkedIn
Lockheimer runs a team within the engineering organisation that encourages people to join and use LinkedIn.
In the past year under her leadership, LinkedIn has doubled its member signup rate and tripled its total member count. She also earned her first patent at LinkedIn.
Plus, she's giving back. She's a board member for the Anita Borg Institute and she's the head of the LinkedIn's Technical Women Leaders initiative, a peer group for women techies at the company.
Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager of the Wireless Platform Research and Development Group at Intel
Evans oversees research and development of Intel's wireless communications technologies including Wi-Fi, GPS, RF, Bluetooth, NFC, LTE, and so on. She's also developing wireless sensors for the huge and uber critical new market called Internet of Things.
Evans holds one of the highest technical distinctions at Intel, a 'senior fellow.'
She joined the company in 2006 as test manager and before moving into R&D, she was on the production side of the house, as the leader of the Mobile Wireless Group.
Christina Chen, general manager Chief Experiences Office, Applications and Services Group at Microsoft
Chen is leading a team working to make Microsoft products easier and more intuitive to use. Microsoft is so serious about this mission that Chen has been tasked with getting Microsoft's entire engineering organisation to work better together, sharing best practices, sharing their code, and working on projects together across teams.
Chen joined Microsoft straight from college, working there for a decade before leaving for Google. After five years at Google, Microsoft poached her back to work at Bing. She was promoted to this general manager job last fall.
Alba Colon, NASCAR program manager at GM
Colon grew up Puerto Rico dreaming of being an astronaut. While getting her mechanical engineering degree she joined the Society of Automotive Engineers, fell in love with cars and has been an unstoppable force in car racing ever since.
She joined GM straight out of college and worked her way up to lead engineer for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Team Chevrolet.
In that job she's helped Chevy earn 160 race wins, six driver's championships, eight Manufacturers' Cup awards, among other accolades. She's also worked as the lead engineer for drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.
Tamar Yehoshua, vice president, product management at Google
Yehoshua joined Google in August 2010 and has led Google's efforts all-important efforts to bring Search to all sorts of devices and many languages.
Her team's work, particularly with voice-activated search, has led to a host of other projects like Google Now and Android Auto.
In 2013 she explained her mission: 'The goal is to be providing the answers before we even ask the questions.'
Ann Kelleher, corporate vice president and general manager, Fab/Sort Manufacturing at Intel
Intel manufactures 10-billion sub-microscopic transistors per second and Kelleher's organisation manages the $US20 billion worth of chip fabrication facilities in the U.S., Europe, Israel, and China, that make all those chips.
Kelleher joined Intel in 1996. What kind of training does this kind of job require? She has a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
Cathy Polinsky, vice president of engineering, Salesforce
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is on a new-found mission to find and promote talented woman at his company. Cathy Polinsky has actually been a high-level engineer since before Benioff took that mission on.
She joined Salesforce as a senior engineer in 2009, by way of Yahoo (and Oracle before that). She held a number of important engineering roles and last summer was handed a plum new one.
As VP of engineering for enterprise search, she's leading Salesforce's effort to create its own search engine. Salesforce dreams of being a big player in the hot new big data market, and to do that, it needs its own search technology.
Samantha Cristoforetti, European Space Agency astronaut
In November, Italy's first female astronaut, Cristoforetti, moved into the International Space Station for a six-month tour. She began tweeting photos and posting videos of life in space that has turned her into an international social media star.
She was supposed to return in May but will remain in the ISS until June, delayed when the Russian Progress resupply spacecraft burned up.
Aprille Ericsson, program manager at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Ericsson is widely known as the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
And she's had a storied career as an aerospace engineer at NASA ever since, working her way up from a systems engineer in 1989, through a manager the Applied Engineering team.
Now she's doing outreach, helping NASA partner with businesses to co-develop technology.
She's also been a teacher at her alma mater, Howard University, and was on its board.
Yanbing Li, vice president and general manager, Storage and Availability at VMware
Li joined VMware as an engineering manager working in China, working her way up to run the company's corporate R&D center in China.
After five years in China, she earned a promotion that brought her to the Valley and put her in charge of global facilities. She then lead the central engineering unit, an organisation of 1000 people in 5 countries.
In October she was handed a new mission, to build a public cloud for storing data that can take on Amazon's huge S3 (not to mention Microsoft and Google).
Jeannette Wing, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research
Microsoft spends about $US10 billion a year on research & development, and Wing runs all of the labs in Microsoft's massive pure research facilities.
When it comes to calling her powerful, need we say more?
We'll just add that she came to Microsoft in 2013 after impressive career teaching computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, and worked at National Science Foundation before that.
Kate Bergeron, vice resident, hardware engineering at Apple
Bergeron has had a long, prosperous career at Apple, joining the company in 2002, working her way up from a mechanical engineer in manufacturing to designing mobile products and then to working on the Mac design team.
She's now in charge of manufacturing a gamut of products including new entries like the Apple TV. Last fall, she was promoted to vice president.
On top of that, she teaches at MIT's D-Lab, which is designing technologies to help pull people out of poverty.
Jen Fitzpatrick, vice president, engineering and product management at Google
Fitzpatrick leads the product and engineering teams for Google's local products, services like local search and Google Places. Last fall she was also handed one of Google's most precious services, Google Maps.
She's been at Google since 1999 and in that time, has worked on a huge number of Google projects like AdWords, Google News, corporate engineering and the Google Search Appliance.
Her star has been rising again since Sundar Pichai was promoted to be Google's product chief.
Diane Greene, angel investor, Google board member, startup founder
Decades after Diane Greene co-founded VMware as its CEO, and was pushed out after EMC acquired it, she's still a force in Silicon Valley.
Not only is she still regarded as one of the 'smartest' female tech founders ever, she's also been behind a bunch of huge Valley successes, having invested in or advised companies like Cloudera, Cumulus Networks, and Nicira. And she's been on Google's board of directors since 2012.
Lately, shes been working on another startup in stealth. No one knows much about it, not even its name, but everyone is aware and waiting for the company to emerge.
Lisa Su, CEO at AMD
Su's career at chip maker AMD has been nothing short of meteoric.
She joined AMD in 2012 as a senior vice president and GM, after 13 years at IBM and a few more at another semiconductor maker, Freescale.
Then she was appointed COO at AMD, and then, last fall became CEO, suddenly replacing Rory Read, who had been running the company since 2011.
Prior to the CEO gig, Su earned accolades for her work as a semiconductor exec.
She has a PhD in electrical engineering from MIT and earned the prestigious title of fellow at the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE).
Ginni Rometty, CEO at IBM
Rometty grew to her position of power at IBM -- and the whole tech industry -- by leading IBM's massive sales and marketing teams.
But she started her career at IBM as a systems engineer, a few years after graduating Northwestern with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering.
Her engineering background is one of the reasons she's so excited about IBM Watson, the super smart computer who can think, reason and talk like a human. She's got all sorts of plans to turning Watson into a cash-cow new business for the company and she says Watson will radically change health care.
If Rometty succeeds in remodeling the $US93 billion tech giant into a next-generation powerhouse, she and her legacy will remain powerful for years to come.