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How do I use computer science for good?

P: 1
I'm considering going back to school, and helping people in need is my biggest priority. I'm interested in a computer science field, as that's a good match for my skills. Is it realistic to think I'll be able to make a whole career using this for humanitarian purposes (i.e. healthcare, social services, etc.)? Is there a way for me to specialize in a field that makes this possible (e.g. biomedical engineering with a focus in software, or software development with a focus in healthcare)?
Oct 16 '19 #1
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2 Replies

Expert 100+
P: 312
Hi there. I think that every sector uses the technology of software, web, mobile, etc. to get things done in a fast and efficient way. And the modern world work using all of these. There are many examples like for healthcare: appointment scheduling software, prescription software, software to analyze data, custom made software according to requirements, etc. The equipment used in the medical industry like MRI, X-Ray machines are programmed in computer languages. Huge amount of data is stored in servers and is synchronized timely. Plus there are many other things to be taken care of that require a software/web developer. Even for social services, by using the internet, websites, social media, etc., the services can be provided in a better way. So to conclude, I do believe there is definitely scope. I wish you the best.
Oct 16 '19 #2

Expert Mod 5K+
P: 5,390
0 - after writing this comments i want to apologize for this wall of text upfront :)

1st - going to work and feeling that what you do has an impact according to your ideals is certainly a good thing and i wish you the best with that.

2nd - now lets manage expectations :) i think there will be 2 main things to be considered - one is your personal feeling with yourself - which means: are you happy with what you do and how you are able to do it (lets call that thing A) and the other is: can you predictably set a foot into something, lets say relatively tight idealistic chosen sector of work (we call it thing B). Lets start with

thing A)

When you going to learn and specialize in computer science you will come across a broad variety of things. Specializing into something is more like feeling comfortable with a specific direction like - working more with data and analysis of it (more the direction databases, AI, BI, knowledge discovery, ...) - or working more on frontends because you like being creative and want to let users interact easy with a system to handle their work/use cases in the most efficient way (usually web-/mobile development these days) - or since you brought up healthcare it might be you want to specialize in image-recognition and such things since you are a math ace and like to do these - and i could go on with a nearly endless list here. All of the mentioned things are relevant in each business sectors - some more in one then in others may be - but what i wanted to say is: you should probably find out your own preference within the computer science world first - and specialize into that direction. This will make sure that you will be good at it and that you will be happy with yourself (mainly your capabilities and self confidence to build proper things that might be your daily work) thus enabling you much more to help others then.

thing B)

after this - you need to find a position where you are happy to 'perform' for your ideals. This is the point where realism comes in - because 'humanitarian' can have a wide meaning for some while it can have a relatively 'tight' meaning for others. Depending on the understanding of that meaning the pool of open positions might be bigger or smaller. Considering point A again you will need to find one for a living at all - given you need to work for your money at least - which you will need to maintain and be happy yourself. Developers are needed everywhere - so its not so much a problem to get a job at all i think - but you might need to be ready to work somewhere (temporarily) where it doesnt match your ideals completely. But still - since you gone the route in A you have some fun at that work at least. Just see such as 'interim' job(s) that may let you gather more experience for a position that you still are going to look for. Keep those ideals up and go for it. Every job you do before finding the 'perfect' one - will increase your chance to compete and win over others that might want the same job as well - which we didnt talk about so far (and i dont like to go deeper into that here).

So - this is my opinion only - that i would only give as a piece of thought and not as a suggestion or recommendation. When i hire people those with ideals are typically those that perform the best in that field as well - so the only recommendation i would give here is again: Keep those ideals up! and i hope you will find your way to reach the goal you are targeting for.
Oct 18 '19 #3

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