When you think about your future career, you know one thing for certain: you want to help people. Nursing and teaching are often the obvious answers, but you’re looking to leverage your love of technology to make a difference.
You’re aware of the exciting career opportunities in computer science, but you might be surprised to learn about the important roles computer scientists play in our society. While the impact may not be as obvious as that of a nurse or teacher, these tech pros are working hard behind the scenes to make a difference.
If you want some concrete examples of just how much computer science benefits society, you came to the right place! Keep reading to learn how these professionals are positively impacting our world and helping others.
Computer science benefits society by …
We enlisted seasoned computer scientists to share with us how their daily work helps people and plays a vital role in their communities.
1. Solving problems & improving solutions
We all know that technology can help solve problems, but it can also improve solutions. Our society is constantly seeking ways to do things faster, more directly or just plain better, and computer scientists help seize those opportunities, explains Phil Hagen, tech evangelist at Red Canary.
“All you have to do is look at the things which positively impact our daily lives that didn’t exist five or ten years ago,” Hagen says. “Most of those are enabled by software, which requires computer scientists to create, maintain and continue to improve.”
He cites examples such as Uber and Airbnb, both of which have revolutionized service industries that many never even questioned. These types of examples exist in nearly every facet of our world, and are backed by computer science.
2. Protecting people & organizations
Every organization – no matter how big or small – leaves a digital footprint, which means they also need digital protection. Even individuals making purchases online and storing important information on their home computers, phones and tablets need to be assured that their information is safe.
Hagen’s company was developed because they saw a need — mid-sized organizations were in need of affordable and quality digital protection.
“We didn’t like how the inaccessibility of worthwhile detection platforms made the smaller companies sitting ducks on the modern threat landscape,” he says. His company responded by creating a service to safeguard these vulnerable companies. Noticing these threats and developing solutions to protect against them is just another way computer science comes to the rescue!
3. Furthering education
Can you imagine modern education without computer software or the Internet? Whether you’re taking a class online, researching for a paper or sharing work via the cloud, computer scientists have made this possible. And now computer science is leading the way in bringing quality education into spaces and communities that were previously underserved.
“You can surprisingly do a lot of good from sitting behind a computer!”
“Why should young people be denied a great science education just because of their zip code?” That was the question that spurred Harry Keller, founder and president of Smart Science, to find a solution — a way to bring quality science education to the schools that couldn’t afford fancy labs.
“Our goals include delivering great science to every student through our online experiential science lessons using real experiments and hands-on measurement,” says Keller. This is yet another example of how computer science is bridging the gap for those in need.
4. Improving communication
Similar to education, it’s hard to envision communication without the many luxuries that computer scientists have provided us. We can send emails from our phones, video conference with friends or family overseas and connect with politicians, celebrities and philanthropists with a 140-character tweet.
Without the coding-experts and entrepreneurs behind these communication platforms, we would be back to landline phone calls and snail-mail correspondence. Social networking has not only helped people connect with one another, but it also serves as a platform for individuals or groups to rally others for a good cause.
5. Organizing & streamlining philanthropy
“Greg Scott, author of IT security books, uses his IT expertise to help non-profit organizations host events each year.” One such event, called Tee it up for the Troops, raises money for families of veterans and allows them to have video meetings during the event. There are endless examples of similar charitable initiatives powered by computer science.
“You may not physically be out in the field rescuing animals and feeding them, but you may help facilitate that by creating a platform that allows these interactions and adoptions,” explains Leeyen Rogers VP of Marketing for JotForm.
Even though you may be working at a desk or coding at home, your efforts expand far beyond your office walls.
6. Positively impacting every area of society
Though it’s not always hands-on, most every aspect of society — from family-owned businesses needing digital protection, to homeless shelters needing a way to streamline their volunteer base — relies on the innovations of the computer science industry.
“Working in tech has really opened my eyes to just how many people are helped by technology,” Rogers says. “You can surprisingly do a lot of good from sitting behind a computer.”