Why we should all know about Computer Science – #SU Edition

Intro

The futuristic ideas of the capabilities of technology are no longer a distant hypothesis, but a reality in our present. No longer are virtual personal assistants a fantasy. Self-driving cars are no longer a far-fetched idea and space exploration is not a concept from science-fiction entertainment. In the blog, I am going to highlight why everyone no matter what sector they aspire to be in should have a core understanding of technology.

How far we’ve come

One of the first GPRS enabled mobile phones with colour displays is exciting. The Nokia 3510 and its polyphonic ringtones, data transmission capabilities and Internet WAP services was a revolution in communication technology in 2002. How far technology has developed within our lifetimes both astounds and intimidates me. Within 20 years, smart technology has become an integrated part of our lives. Watches now have capabilities to track our fitness whilst providing wireless telecommunication. Smart speakers don’t only play music on demand but can also provide video calls and enable home automation to control home appliances all by voice command.

How computer science effects our day to day

Due to the increasing integration of computing and smart technology in our day-to-day lives, the purpose of studying computer science is becoming more relevant. The primary aspect of problem-solving within computing is transferable and beneficial for many aspects of life. As a fertile ground for critical thinking, the nature of computer science allows for students to explore and question problems within the business, social and scientific contexts. As stated by Steve Jobs, “computer science is a liberal art”. Whilst it is grounded in logic and mathematics, a large part of computing is relevant to philosophy, natural sciences and other liberal arts.

For instance, during the software development life cycle, we are required to use an array of skills and expertise are needed to reach the final product. If you are more business-minded, the planning stage and analysis of requirements allow you to outline and set a project schedule for the final commercial product. For the more creative, the design and prototyping stages are just as prominent as they allow us to create a user-friendly and responsible interface. Due to the increasing cross-platform nature of many software, the design of their flexibility and behaviours within different environments is essential. Lastly, for those who think outside the box and innovatively, the testing, integration and maintenance stages allow us to enhance, collaborate and support the product and its future versions. Computer science isn’t just for coders, but for all backgrounds as with different strengths and ideas. I believe we should not only experience the capacities of technology but contribute towards them.

Being inspired by computer science evolution

Having experienced all of these changes and developments over my life encourages me to study computer science to gain an insight into the machines we’ve created and their artificial intelligence. How machines learn and the capacity of their superpower both thrills and disturbs researchers. As said by Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, “unintelligent” machines are already far smarter than we are. We don’t call a computer program smart for calculating masses of numbers, but we reserve the term intelligent for computers that can perform human abilities. Nowadays, a string of characters is not only the extent of our security, but computers can perform face recognition and scan our fingerprints to allow access to data. During navigation, computers can also provide real-time traffic updates, suggest alternative routes and predict our arrival time. Lastly, computers can predict our future text in search engines and automatically correct our spellings and grammar in word processors and within emails. 

As a language student, the concept of programs that can predict text to complete our sentences, recognise speech and provide instant translations fascinate me. Not only has technology enabled more efficient means of communication but has normalised mass communication and enabled global audiences. Furthermore, the accessibility features enabling text-to-speech for those with hearing impairments and the introduction of text to sign language translators making use of neural machine translation proves the unstoppable nature of machine learning. The linguistic capabilities of computers through natural language processing show how machines do not only perform human abilities but exceed them. 

Technology transcends all sectors

Smart technology is no longer just a luxury, but an integrated part of our day-to-day lives. As users of smartphones, computers, and GPS devices, we have also become exposed to troubleshooting and maintenance, an essential part of any system’s life cycle. Learning about technology is not only a hobby but a lifestyle that enables us to use the devices we have access to. Therefore, learning about computer science gives us an insight into the software and hardware we not only benefit from but have grown to rely on as it becomes a further embedded part of our society. 

Conclusion

At SkillStruct University, we encourage the learning and observations of computing and the many companies working towards a more innovative future. We allow students to connect within the computing industry and prompt further networking opportunities. From regular interactive sessions with leading technology companies such as Computacenter and Accenture to inspiring talks for aspiring students of all backgrounds, SkillStruct University thrives in creating opportunities for growth within computer science. As technologists, content creators and early career specialists, we believe we should all know about computer science. 

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