I was interviewed some time ago for computerscience.org. The site has recently become active and here’s the link to my interview:
Honored by the Interview
I was excited to give this interview for quite a few reasons. First, it’s always an honor to be interviewed and asked about the path that has brought me to my current point. Second, I have genuine love and appreciation for a discipline that tries to maximize the most productive tool humanity has ever realized. Third, this discipline has declining numbers but ever-growing usefulness and application.
Importance of Computer Science
Most everything that we use today has a microprocessor nestled into it: your car (think cruise control, warnings, ride quality, audio, engine performance), your phone (GPS, audio, video, networking), your thermostat, appliances, and hundreds of things that I haven’t even mentioned. Clearly your tablet and laptop are driven by microprocessors (several each, now). Internet security (like when you do your online banking) and networks (for when you post that Instagram photo from the road or when you binge-watch Netflix at home) are all applications of different branches of research within computer science. “Big data”, a field of such growing importance that President Obama created http://data.gov/, requires computing–it cannot be done by raw manpower.
Yet, today, we find a dearth of people entering this field. Why? Is it because we’ve portrayed computer scientists as nerdy? Is it because it’s becoming male-dominated? Is it because the pre- and co-requisite studies are too difficult? The answer to all of these may be “yes, but…”
Computer science, an application of mathematics on the computer, has pure theory at its heart. However, like mathematics, computer science is an underlying discipline at which many sciences can merge. Biological, meteorological, and environmental sciences are all points at which computational ability is necessary and exceptionally valuable.
As time progresses, skills of mathematics and skills with computation continue to merge with applicable sciences. For most people who seek industrial jobs, “problem solving” and “computational abilities” are hand-in-hand for the best jobs out there. A choice of a career in the vast diversity of fields associated with computer science is not only lucrative (that’s right–this field pays well) but it’s important.
We need men and women (especially women!) who are willing and able to learn this field. I strongly encourage anyone interested to do so. Will it be easy? No. Will it be rewarding? Yes.
If you’d like to learn more about this field, contact me and I’d be glad to point you in the right direction.
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