Computers have infiltrated almost every area of our lives. As technology races forward at an astounding rate, so too do the applications for the computer in so many areas of work and play. It is this phenomenon that has created what is now called the “information age,” and is providing so many new job opportunities for your generation, and even more for future generations.
Computers are more accessible to young people than ever before. Increasingly, schools and homes that have computers are becoming the norm. Are you interested in working with computers? If you are, you might want to think about what applications of the computer interest you. For example, professions like architecture and medicine are becoming more and more computer-friendly. Architects use Computer aided design (CAD) to create a visual image of how a house or office building will look from the inside. You can take a 3-dimensional “guided tour” through a building that hasn’t even been built yet! In the field of medicine, doctors are now able to plan surgery using 3-D pictures of your body that are generated by computers.
Most people only use computers for a few specific tasks, like word processing or sending an e-mail. But there are software programs on the market today that let you combine word processing with page layout and design.
This allows for what has come to be called “desktop publishing,” which enables a computer user to produce type-set, printed quality material from a home or office. Adobe Pagemaker is a popular program for the would-be desktop publisher.
In business, computers are used to create and update financial documents, often recalculating hundreds of figures with the touch of a button or the click of a mouse.
Scientists use computers to visualize the structures of microscopic objects like molecules, and then perform complex equations using statistical and mathematical models. In other fields, computer animation is creating a revolution in the way images are created. Advertisers who formerly used painted images on plastic sheets, called cell animation, are now turning to computers to help them create complicated and entertaining ads. You may have seen television ads like the Geico and NIKE’s Michael Jordan/Bugs Bunny commercial. These were both created using computer animation.
Computer Science and Engineering is a broad term for the field that creates both the hardware and software that make up the computer system. Hardware is like the “brain” of the computer, and software is like the “education” that enables the computer to perform the functions asked of it. Designers of both hardware and software must have strong skills in mathematics and be able to think logically. If you like electronics, you might enjoy working with computer hardware. The field of software design is growing tremendously. As computers are used for more and more applications, the demand for software will greatly increase. If you enjoy programming and are able to think creatively, you might want to consider software design as a career.
Find time and go to a book store and check out all the magazines about computers. Magazines like Info World, PCWeek, Byte, PC Magazine, and Windows Magazine are all about computer hardware and software, the companies that make them, and the people who use them. Companies like Microsoft and Oracle have turned the business of designing computer software into big money. Bill Gates, the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation is considered the richest person in the world.
Industry experts predict a significant increase in computer software companies in this decade. The start-up cost for a software company is extremely low when compared to other business ventures. All that is needed is a computer and one or more software creation packages. There is a current need for quality software in most fields, including science, business, education, and entertainment.
The newest frontier, one that is continually expanding, is the field of multimedia. Computers are becoming more advanced in their ability to integrate sound, graphics, and animation. CD technology is now being used to store huge amounts of data on small discs. This CD-ROM (read-only memory) revolution allows for so much information storage that it is now possible to buy one CD with every volume of an encyclopedia set on it. This is just one area of computer applications that is exploding with possibilities for the future.
The computer industry is really still in its infancy. The potential uses for computer systems are infinite, and the need for people to create hardware and software is likely to expand right along with the computer revolution.
Get on board!