Why should we study computer science? Because in this day and age, almost every aspect of our lives is dictated by technology—be it the latest installation of the iPhone with all of its new features, or a computer chip implanted in the brain that can improve cognitive performance several times over. Looking forward, it is inevitable that the influence of technology will continue to change the way we interact with the world. To study computer science is to embrace the surge of the technological industry that is making its way across the world. It is a desire to have a firmer grasp on the rapidly changing world and an assurance of stable job opportunities.
As proven by Isaac Newton’s derivation of the laws of motion, and Sigmund Freud’s groundbreaking, if somewhat misguided, theories of the human psyche, it seems as if humanity has taken on the responsibility of trying to understand the natural world. Questions must then be asked: At what point does that responsibility extend to the unnatural? If technology has become so ingrained in our society that we cannot live without it—and I am sure it has—then shouldn’t we start treating it as a natural part of our lives? You may not have your own lab like Newton, or a host of patients serving as test subjects like Freud, but I would guess you probably have a laptop on hand, or at least access to a computer. It doesn’t need to be some sort of overclocked HAL 9000-esque contraption either—I don’t think my laptop can run games much more powerful than the 2011 version of Mortal Kombat.
There aren’t many excuses left for not at least thinking about learning computer science skills. I would not say that I am an advocate for ‘selling out’ for career opportunities, but I also understand that at a place like Princeton High School, you probably do spend some time thinking about the number of zeros you will find on your paycheck. If not, more power to you. However, if you are one of those people who take salary into account, the monetary potential a profession in computer science holds should be enough of an incentive to get started—I personally recommend the website Codecademy as a first step. As technology develops, countless jobs will open up on the forefront of this new wave of industry. Case in point: Snapchat pays its top programmers upwards of $132,000 per year, just to seemingly develop an increasingly complicated and nonsensical system of emojis to confuse both you and your friends alike.
With an endless list of potential research, career opportunities, and learning resources for programmers of all levels, it is no surprise that more and more universities are increasing their emphasis on computer science education. You do not need to sign up for one of the many classes offered here at PHS—although I do recommend it—but you do owe it to yourself to at least give computer science a shot. The doors opened by an education in computer science are sure to surpass the expectations of anything we can imagine today.