How to find a meaningful career in computer science

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The thriving technology industry has changed the world for both good and bad. If you want to join the industry, but want to ensure that your work has a positive impact, consider pursuing a meaningful career in computer science.

Within this growing field, there are career paths in computer science that provide useful services, such as those in healthcare, education, and nonprofits.

Here we look at these and other important career paths in computer science, plus how you can find these jobs.

Salaries in computer science versus importance

Jobseekers often balance wages and the pursuit of their passions and values.

While computer science salaries attract many people in the field, computer science jobs also provide significant opportunities. According to a study by PayScale Meaningful Jobs, nearly 50% of computer managers, researchers and systems analysts report high importance of work.

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

They help people and organizations work better and make better decisions.

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

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

1. Non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations, including both technology-focused organizations such as NPower and joint organizations such as Feeding America, offer a variety of career paths in computer science.

Non-profit organizations deal with countless problems and are available in many sizes. According to PayScale, the average base salary offered by nonprofits is $ 58,000.

SEE: Non-profit technical jobs: Support a good cause

2. Non-governmental organization (NGO)

Computer scientists can find NGOs that serve most passions and interests. These non-profit organizations tend to have an international focus, which can increase their size and salary expectations.

Oxfam and Partners in Health are among the non-governmental organizations that hire computer science specialists.

3. B-body

B-Corps are organizations that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. They create career paths in computer science that help the underserved population and the environment. Compared to other companies, some B-Corps such as Participate Learning and Dr. Bronner’s pay a more balanced ratio between the highest and lowest paid professionals.

4. Clean technique

Clean technology organizations offer career paths in computer science to professionals with environmental interests.

Organizations such as AeroFarms and Planet use data and technology to investigate and solve environmental problems. According to PayScale, clean energy employees earn an average base salary of $ 83,000.

5. Educational technologies

Ideal for professionals who are passionate about education, the edtech industry aims to make training more accessible and effective. Career paths in computer science can be found in organizations such as Duolingo and Apex Learning.

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

6. Health technologies

Health technology is a desirable career path in computer science for those who want to improve healthcare and health outcomes.

Technologists working in health technology earn an average base salary of $ 86,000, according to PayScale. Organizations in this industry include Illumina and 3M Health Care.

7. Civic tech

The civic technology industry enables people to get involved and solve socio-political problems. For professionals interested in politics and engagement, this time in computer science offers many opportunities, including organizations such as DataMode and Clear Ballot.

The average annual salary in this area was $ 64,320 in May 2021.

How to find a meaningful career in computer science

1. Decide on a cause you care about.

Finding a meaningful career in computer science begins with identifying your cause or passion. You may want to help people with specific problems, help certain groups of the population or help prevent certain challenges.

2. Look for companies and organizations that support this goal

From there, you can look for organizations working in these areas. You can focus on a specific industry or look for organizations in different industries focused on issues that you prioritize.

Investigate the impact the organization has had and what plans it has for the future. Once you determine if their values ​​and direction are in line with yours, look at whether the organization is hiring and contacting them.

3. Examine industry-specific dashboards

To find a meaningful career in computer science, look for industry-specific job search sites.

For example, if you are interested in healthcare or education, you can search sites that focus on careers in these areas. You can also use problem-specific search terms, such as climate change or renewable energy, in common worksheets.

To get started, take a look at these industry-specific and cause-specific boards. These sites link job postings from educational, health and non-profit organizations.

Other ways to use your computer science skills to bring back

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


Non-profit organizations almost always look for volunteers. You can lend your time and talents to these organizations and industries by working on projects for them or mentoring others in this field.

Help others in your current job

You can find meaning in any work. Try to change things from within by encouraging your organization to get involved in social issues; create ethical business practices; and introduce initiatives for diversity, justice and inclusion.

LOOK: This is how technology companies diversify recruitment and hiring

This article was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long dark hair, smiles at the shot.

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

Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a captain in data analysis at a non-profit organization called COOP Careers, Monali helps new graduates and young professionals overcome underemployment by training them in data analysis tools and guiding them in their professional development.

Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women and educating young people. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in his field, expand his range of skills and do meaningful work that will have a positive impact on the world.

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

Last reviewed May 4, 2022

Unless otherwise noted, data on wages and job growth are derived from the United States The Bureau of Labor Statistics as of June 20, 2022

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