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How Can You Most Impact Climate Change in Your Career? by City Tech Blogger Wei Wang

We had a guest speaker come to our class to talk about the research and the types of work typically done regarding climate change. That day, they spoke about how these centers are more likely to accept those with knowledge in computer programming but who are also interested in learning more about climate change. This goes to show that even though scientists knowledgeable in climate change are needed, those with other skill sets, such as computer programming have a higher chance of getting the job. As a computer programmer, this is interesting because although I understand how I could contribute to climate change, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to impact climate change in my career. This changes my perspective as a computer programmer because now I understand that the more I learn about climate change and how it works, the more of an impact I could have regarding climate change. I always thought that with computer programming I could contribute to climate change. Except without an interest in learning about how it works, then even if my skills are good, I won’t be able to make much of an impact compared to if I was interested in climate change. Regardless of which path I take, there are many different ways and opportunities to contribute, but perhaps only with an interest in climate change or creativity, in this case, can you better contribute to such a cause.

In the article “How Coders Can Help Fight Climate Change” by Christopher Mims, he states that although some of the computer models which scientists develop are pretty kick-ass, not all the software which scientists crank out are elegant. According to Steve Easterbrook, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, regarding the data handling and analysis tools used in the research of climate change, “there are only a handful of fields in which scientist write their own code – bioinformatics, mathematics and physics.” It is also why he states that “formally-trained software engineers have a lot more to offer in climate science.” As programmers, we can contribute and impact climate change by, “developing tools that can handle the massive datasets and earth-system models required to simulate a changing climate.” This is because these models are typically run on an always up to date supercomputer which scientists can reproduce via individual experiments. As far as knowledge goes, we as humans have a limited lifespan, and thus, it’s difficult for us to be masters of multiple fields of study. This is especially so when you consider the number of programming languages that exist and the types of applications those skill sets require, such as knowledge in databases and possibly security as well. As such, it could be said that the more skill sets I have while furthering my skills in programming would mean I’d have a bigger impact in the field of climate change. It also goes back to what the guest speaker said that day, that there is a higher likelihood of landing a job if you have multiple skill sets which could be utilized in said job. So, regarding the question as to how I can most impact climate change in my career, it really depends on the skill sets I have that can contribute to climate change. Otherwise, without a certain amount of knowledge in the field of climate change, it will be a lot more difficult for me to contribute in the field. 

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/420595/how-coders-can-help-fight-climate-change/https://www.technologyreview.com/s/420595/how-coders-can-help-fight-climate-change/


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