Coders: are you ready to change the world?
All around the world, there are people using code to solve some of the world's biggest challenges. Find out why a future in coding might just make you the superhero the world needs right now.
It’s kind of amazing that if you’re a computer coder, you can be sitting at your laptop and have a positive effect on someone on the other side of the world. Technology gives us all the power to tackle both big and small problems, changing the lives of people that we’ve never even met.
Not sure where to start? Whether you want to try something yourself or build a whole career around helping to change the world, here’s some stories that show the power of code.
The student tackling… conflict
In Afghanistan, a girls-only coding school has been set up, called Code to Inspire. The founder says: “It’s not easy for a girl to find a job and go to work outside of her home in Afghanistan. Now, with just one laptop at home, she can work online and earn money and help her family”. One student, Khatera Mohammadi, is raising awareness around the issue of ridding the country of heroin by creating a computer game featuring a soldier navigating land mines, drug traffickers and hidden production labs. The player also has to plant saffron crops where the heroin was grown, which is a plant even more expensive than the drug, with the power to change the economic future of the country. In making that game, Khatera has not just raised awareness around the game’s issues, but also the fact that she’s a female coder in a traditionally male-dominated society.
The students tackling… wildfires
Two Californian students saw the devastation that the state’s fires were causing, and they decided to take matters into their own hands. They invented a device that could be strapped to trees and fallen logs, to measure and transmit the amount of moisture in the bark – data that could be used in software to predict whether they would provide further fuel to any approaching fire. And the students are just getting going with their Smart Wildfire Sensor. They plan to use drones to capture even more data, hopefully slowing the loss of the giant sequoia trees around them.
The student tackling… breast cancer diagnosis
When a 14 year old student found out that current methods for breast cancer screening were inaccurate a third of the time, she set out to design a more accurate testing model. She used data from 407 patients from Stanford University, classifying each of them and using them to build a whole new prediction model. The result? Brand new software that was 18% more accurate, allowing doctors to predict with far more certainty if healthy breast tissue was likely to develop cancer in the future.
The student tackling… Alzheimer’s
When one student realised that the greatest danger to his grandfather was when his Alzheimer’s caused him to get out of bed in the middle of the night, confused and risking injury, he decided to invent something to help. He invented a very special sock – one that had a sensor embedded in it that would alert family members via an app as soon as his grandfather stepped out of bed and pressure was recorded. It stopped 100% of his grandfather’s wanderings, and it’s been so successful that it’s now being trialled in nursing homes.
While the influence that coding has on the world is already massive, in the future, it’s going to get even more important. So start working on those skills now, because you might just be the person to fix one of the world’s big problems!