Barbie is now a computer engineer. This represents Barbie’s 126th career change. It’s a late-in-life choice; Barbie is nearly 51. It took her a while, perhaps, to get her degree—in 1992, a talking Barbie said “math class is tough.” Computer engineer beat out surgeon, environmentalist, and architect in an online poll, coming in second only to news anchor among girls, but with enough support from adults that Mattel went ahead with both dolls.
Computer Engineer Barbie could be popular with the Barbie set (which these days skews towards kindergartners and preschoolers; it seems to get younger every year), if only for her accessories. She’s got glasses (Mattel missed a bet, though; the hip geeks might be more likely to wear lens-less 3-D glasses rather than the pink ones Barbie sports), a Bluetooth earpiece, a t-shirt printed with binary code, a smart phone, and a laptop.
I’d like to say today’s introduction of Computer Engineer Barbie honors National Engineers Week which kicks off Sunday, but more likely it was timed to coincide with Toy Fair, also opening this weekend.
Tekla S. Perry is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., she's been covering the people, companies, and technology that make Silicon Valley a special place for more than 40 years. An IEEE member, she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Michigan State University.