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Stijn S.





I just graduated as a computer scientist. How do I know what job would suit me?

There are a lot of job opportunities with a Master's degree in computer science. However, most jobs on job hunting websites seem to be rather boring (not only to me, but to my peers as well). How do I find either a really mentally challenging job or a kind of job that benefits the world somehow (even if only in a very tiny way)? Am I being too picky? On the other hand, I think I'd be happy to work in any sector where my computational / algorithmic skills might be of some use.

I just moved from Ghent, Belgium to Wellington, New Zealand (literally the other side of the world) and I have the same experience in both countries. #computer-science #computer-software #software #software-development

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3 answers

Congratulations on your degree, Stijn. There is still only a fraction of the population that gets to this level in computer science, and (overall) we need all the help we can get. :)

One reason that job sites are boring is that they are a tool for the Employer... and not you. Lots of degrees are NOT in demand, and the "rather flat" advertising doesn't matter if you get 10 applicants for one position. Not the case for high level CS jobs, but you can see that the bias dies hard... and may obscure what is actually a good and meaningful job.

I have had the privilege to watch the impact of computers grow over my 30 years in the industry. I have seen banking, finances, medicine, transportation, telecommunications, printing fundamentally changed. Industries like publishing are impacted by the concept of "social media" ... which really didn't exist a decade ago. To amplify the earlier advice, select an area where you want to do good... that excites you... and then fill out a "boring job application" for a job in that sector.

Realize that a lot of exciting advances are actually pretty boring under the covers. Having a glass fiber that had another 4db of gain in the output isn't too impressive... but that may have allowed someone to extend the reach of the internet by another 50 kilometers to a town or village that previously was out of reach. And that 4db of gain may have been the result of minor tweaks to very obscure processes. Very boring... but with very exciting results. :)

With your training, you should be able to see both the forest and the trees. And you should be able to see the paths that need to be followed to get people to a solution they are looking for.... perhaps desperately needing. Keep your eyes on both... try to do something worthwhile... and I think you will have good career.

Best of luck... and keep looking!

Last updated Dec 13 '16 at 11:53 PM
Congrats, Stijn! I started my own company that developed curriculum that schools use to teach computer programming and other skills like design thinking and 3D art through game design projects. Since computers touch just about every sector, you have lots of opportunities. When you say you want to make a difference, is that in the environment, politics, education, or something else? Then, within that field you will find plenty of companies who need technologists. Or consider starting your own company—solve a problem you really care about!
Last updated Nov 29 '17 at 08:16 PM

Hi Stijn,

I am working in an IT company running an analytics group myself. My team is spread all around the world as we also allow for remote work. They do analytics, some of them are programming, however they also have direct interaction with their business stakeholders. This is far from being boring, as the business changes rapidly and so are the requirements for out BI output. I guess you will need to figure out for yourself what really inspires you and then make you choice. It is not only what a given job offers but also what you make out of it.

Good luck, regards Ulrike

Last updated Dec 14 '16 at 12:31 AM
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