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What will be the impact of what I do in life on other people?

I plan to go to school and major in software engineering. I'd like to create methods for people to use to create news ways to disburse useful information or make improvements to existing ways of using information. I would like to know if the effort I put in will help solve the problems in this field that people face so I don't waste time doing something that is not useful. #information-technology

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Dhairya’s Answer

Hi Anthony,
It's fantastic that you're interested in software engineering and are passionate about making a difference. The short answer is that there are many opportunities to do good with a background in software engineering. I've listed a few below.

As you start looking for jobs you'll find that there are many opportunities to provide meaningful impact with software. Medical researchers use machine learning to detect tumors in xrays, financial software is developed to support small business owners in developing companies, and even sites like this are created to help teach students around the world.

My advice would be to find areas you are passionate about and want a make a difference in. And look at what of technology and information challenges they are facing. For example, I've spend much of my time volunteering with crisis mapping efforts to support natural disaster response. I've helped build software to support the collect information in real time from Twitter and other news sources and build digital maps that first responders on the ground can use to provide real time support during crisis situations.

Good luck!
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Jacob’s Answer

Hi Anthony,

The issue with creating new methods of communication is a broad one, and is dependent on the point of view of the audience you wish to reach. When you create something someone will find it useful/helpful but not everyone because each person has some assumptions about how they wish to communicate.

I believe the best way to build something useful is define for whom you are building something for example people with a certain disability, or the elderly. Once you have defined the group you can start conversations with people who belong to the group to discover what they want, this is what companies hold focus groups for. Then you build your tool and deliver it to them.

Just be aware as with all things you can't make the entire world happy or deliver an offering that resonates with everyone. Only after you have brought something into the world will you understand if it meets the needs of the audience you have selected based on their feedback.

If this feels like a long process then I suggest you just build things for you and your friends/family since you understand them the best. After that they might spread your creation for you. Similar to many Open source projects.

Jacob recommends the following next steps:

Search for "Open source" and any area you want to explore, there are lots of projects and you can start contributing now
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Sonya’s Answer

Software engineering is the most sought out education streams currently and in the future as well there are many options to make a difference, apps, and programs that can be created to help differently-abled individuals. Currently, we have many corporates who are looking out for innovative solutions to help differently-abled individuals also we are facing the greatest digital transformation in history now and we need people who are inclined to technology.
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