How do you find a meaningful career in computer science?

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The booming technology industry has changed the world for the better and for the worse. If you want to work in the industry but want to make sure your work has a positive impact, consider pursuing meaningful careers in computer science.

Within this growing field, there are career paths in computer science that offer valuable services, such as those in health care, education, and non-profit organizations.

Here, we explore these and other meaningful career paths in computer science, plus how to get these jobs.

Computer Science Salaries vs Meaning

Job seekers often balance their paychecks and the pursuit of their passions and values.

While computer science salaries attracting many people to the field, computer science jobs also provide meaningful opportunities. According to PayScale’s Meaningful Jobs SurveyNearly 50% of computer executives, research scientists and systems analysts reported high job significance.

In each of these roles, computer professionals have opportunities to improve the way individuals and organizations use technology and information.

They help people and organizations to perform better and make better decisions.

Career paths in computer science that make the world a better place

The best careers in computer science are the ones that offer competitive salaries and personal benefits. The following list highlights career paths in computer science that allow professionals to make meaningful contributions to the world.

1. Non-Profit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations, including both technology-focused organizations such as NPower and general organizations such as Feeding America, offer numerous career paths in computer science.

Nonprofits tackle a myriad of issues and come in many shapes and sizes. According to PayScalethe median base salary of nonprofits is $58,000.


SEE: Nonprofit Tech Jobs: Support a good cause


2. Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)

Computer science professionals can find NGOs that serve most passions and interests. These nonprofits often have an international focus, which can increase their size and salary expectations.

Oxfam and Partners in Health are among the NGOs that hire IT professionals.

3. B-corps

B-corps are organizations that meet high standards for social and environmental impacts. They create career paths in computer science that help underserved populations and the environment. Compared to other companies, some B-Corps, such as Participate Learning and Dr. Bronner’s salary more balanced proportions between the highest and lowest paid professionals.

4. Clean technology

Cleantech organizations offer career paths in computer science for professionals with environmental interests.

Organizations such as AeroFarms and Planet use data and technology to research and solve environmental problems. According to PayScaleClean energy workers earn an average base salary of $83,000.

5. Education Technology

Ideal for professionals with a passion for education, the edtech industry aims to make learning more accessible and effective. Career paths in computer science can be found at organizations such as Duolingo and Apex Learning.

These professionals earned an average annual wage of $71,640 in May 2021.

6. Healthcare Technology

Healthcare technology is a desirable career path in computer science for those seeking to improve healthcare and health outcomes.

Tech professionals who work in healthcare earn an average base salary of $86,000, according to PayScale† Organizations in this industry include Illumina and 3M Health Care.

7. Civic Technology

The civic tech industry empowers people to get involved and solve socio-political problems. For professionals interested in politics and engagement, this informatics path offers many opportunities, including organizations like DataMode and Clear Ballot.

The annual median wage in this field was $64,320 in May 2021.

How do you find a meaningful career in computer science?

1. Choose a cause you care about.

Finding a meaningful career path in computer science starts with identifying your purpose or passion. You may want to help people with specific problems, help certain populations, or help prevent certain problems.

2. Look for companies and organizations that support that cause

From there, you can search for organizations working in those areas. You can focus on a specific industry or look across industries at organizations that focus on issues you prioritize.

Examine the impact the organization has had and what plans they have for the future. After determining whether their values ​​and direction match yours, see if the organization is recruiting and reach out.

3. View industry specific job boards

Search industry specific to find a meaningful career path in computer science job boards

For example, if you are interested in healthcare or education, you can search the sites that focus on careers in those fields. You can also use problem-specific search terms, such as climate change or renewable energy, on general job boards.

Check out these industry and cause-specific job boards to get started. These sites link job openings from education, healthcare, and non-profit organizations.

Other ways to use your computer science skills to give back

If you can’t find or pursue a meaningful job right now, there are other ways to give back and make a difference.

Volunteer work

Nonprofit organizations are almost always looking for volunteers. You can lend your time and talents to these organizations and industries, tackle projects for them or mentor others in the field.

Help others with your current job

You find meaning in every job. Try to make a difference from within by stimulating your organization to become involved in social issues; create ethical business practices; and introduce diversity, equality and inclusion initiatives.


TO SEE: This is how tech companies are diversifying recruitment and hiring


This article has been reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long dark hair, smiles in a headshot.

2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor’s degree in computer science, which gave her the foundation she needed to excel in positions as data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer and computer science instructor.

Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a non-profit named COOP CareersMonali helps graduates and young professionals overcome unemployment by teaching them data analysis tools and guiding them on their professional development journey.

Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocacy for mental health, empowering women and educating young people. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skills and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Last reviewed on May 4, 2022.

Unless otherwise noted, salary and job growth data is from the US Labor Statistics Bureau as of June 20, 2022.

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