Pick Your Passion and Apply Computer Science

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Computing is part of everything we do. We are, quite literally, surrounded by computing: Cisco says that there are now 1.5 connected devices for every human and that by 2020 there will be 50 billion connected devices. Keep in mind there are 7.2 billion humans. (Learn more about the Internet of Things).

The best part of computer science isn’t that there are so many machines, providing job security for those who know how to code, but the opportunity to focus all that computational power on solving interesting, complex, challenging problems and thus to have a positive effect on the world.

Ed is right in the video above, “Computers are everywhere in every field.” With so much computing, you really can find applications in any domain. This is what makes computer science special. You can pick your passion and find an application of computer science, and if you can’t, then you've likely found an area ripe for innovation. You can find applications in fashion design, art history, and social justice -- to name just a few burgeoning fields. Every organization needs a website; everybody wants an app. Imagine you're a natural-science museum curator who knows how to code. Immediate applications include a digital visitor’s guide for smartphones and interactive exhibits that use touch screens or even virtual reality to place museum visitors in exotic settings.

Future computing applications have boundless potential to enhance lives and improve the world. Great opportunities await those diverse, interdisciplinary teams with the expertise to design creative solutions to challenging problems. Here at Curriculum Pathways, we apply computer science to education and create innovative and free edtech. Our team members have backgrounds in education, computer science, design, and more, ensuring that every project is addressed from myriad perspectives, fueled by informed passions, and guided by expert knowledge. Understanding how code works, what approaches can best solve programs, and how to foster creativity--all these elements are vital to a well-informed, effective collaboration.

Mitch Resnick summed up the value of computer science as a fundamental skill in his TED talk:

…it's useful to think about this analogy with language. When you become fluent with reading and writing, it's not something that you're doing just to become a professional writer. Very few people become professional writers. But it's useful for everybody to learn how to read and write. Again, the same thing with coding. Most people won't grow up to become professional computer scientists or programmers, but those skills of thinking creatively, reasoning systematically, working collaboratively--skills you develop when you code in Scratch--are things that people can use no matter what they're doing in their work lives.

So what problems or challenges do you find fun? In what domain might you apply computer science? For some great examples, check out dotdiva.org’s stories of women using code in roles often overlooked for their computing applications. Don’t forget that if you know how to code, your passion can be flexible too. If you get bored with a problem, there are plenty more out there to tackle, and your computer science skills can transfer from one domain to the next. With more than 1 million jobs available in computing and a lack of trained coders to fill them, there are great opportunities to explore diverse applications and find your passion through computer science.

If you haven’t gotten started with computer science yet, you still have time to complete your #HourofCode as part of Computer Science Education Week. Be sure to check out some of our favorite resources and other computer science posts, especially this one for girls.

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About Author

Scott McQuiggan

Scott McQuiggan leads SAS® Curriculum Pathways®, an interdisciplinary team focused on the development of no-cost educational software in the core disciplines at SAS. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 2009, where his research focused on affective reasoning in intelligent game-based learning environments. His research has been published in more than 30 journal articles and refereed conference proceedings, and been recognized through several best paper nominations including Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction.

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