Software development is a great profession! One way to get a sound footing in this field is a major in computer science. Unfortunately there are various biases against both the profession and the major which is why there are way too few freshman. Therefore I am making the case for new ways to pitch the software development profession and with that motivate students to study computer science.
Disclaimer: I never thought I would ever write a “x reasons to do y” post but the computer science major needs some serious marketing!
Recently I was talking to a friend who is a doctor that had issues to get her medical studies accredited in Germany. It struck me how comparably easy things are in my profession, which is software development. While doing some further research on the subject I realized that there is an unfortunate combination of negative bias and missing education about the software development profession, which is also contributing to too few freshman starting university studies relevant for the software development industry.
As I have been working in this industry for a couple of years now, and feel strongly that this is a great field, I want to excite people about our profession, because it is a really great one, once you get to know it!
So here 6 good reasons to study computer science:
Working abroad is easy! You need to speak English, and you are pretty much good to go. In the EU you can travel freely, and fairly easy get the necessary papers to work in any of the EU countries. Non-EU citizens can get a blue card, given that they have a degree of higher education. Even getting a working visa in the US is doable, although that takes a bit more effort from what I hear.
Teams are intercultural by default. Due to shortages in qualified applicants, companies consider a wider geographic audience than in other professions. It is common to work in teams where every colleague represents another nation. That adds a lot of energy to the team dynamics.
You can switch between domains because software is now used everywhere. Education, banking, government, gaming, manufacturing … you name it. All these industries are buying and building software these days, so you can choose an industry that you are excited about. In other words, what you do now, doesn’t necessarily determine what you will do in 10 years from now.
Working from everywhere is not a far-fetched illusion in the IT field. Some companies go as far as making office work entirely optional, although I personally don’t consider that an efficient approach. In any case, working remotely for a couple of days here and there usually isn’t a problem.
Software is still a young and developing profession and you have many opportunities to actively shape this industry. Contribute to open source projects, organize conferences, and work in your local communities. Want to use your skills to find other ways to make a difference and do something good? There are an abundance of ways to do that.
Financing your studies yourself is doable. There are many student jobs that you can do, even while still in your undergrads. Especially once you have your first programming experiences, many companies have jobs that you can apply for.
Excited yet? You should be! Talk to teachers, doctors, and people in other professions and I believe you will find that the IT industry is uniquely positioned in many different ways!
One last thing: It isn’t exclusively about programming! Really, it isn’t! So if you have an interest in this field, you should get more information and explore the different opportunities that it offers. If you need it, I am happy to help.
In Germany there is an initiative called “Informatik studieren” that aims to motivate more students to study computer science. If you are an experienced IT professional, consider becoming an ambassador for this initiative.
Image Credit: Commodore PET computer woolamaloo_gazette @ flickr