Joyce Malleck graduated from Mundelein College with a major in math and a minor in physics, and then received a master’s degree in math from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She accepted a job at Western Electric and went to work at the Bell Labs facility in Naperville, Illinois. She did programming courses at the corporate training center in Princeton NJ, learning COBOL, assembler, PL/1, and a proprietary Bell database management language. (She later did a MBA at the University of Chicago, completed in 1980.) An early assignment was programming to direct an automatic wiring machine for the ESS manufacturing. She was promoted to department chief, initially maintaining a data center’s operating system then doing software and database development for the customer side of ESS. In the 1970s she started a software quality department, which involved greater attention to written formal specifications, code reviews, and structured developmental processes — software engineering. Leaving Bell in 1989, she worked for Motorola for ten years as a product manager and consultant to industry. She compares Bell’s and Motorola’s treatment of and attitudes to women, relating insightful personal anecdotes.
This material is based on work funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation award B2014-07 “Tripling Women’s Participation in Computing (1965-1985).”