Covid-19 Impact in Computer Science by Sarah Carey

Each year we meet incredible women at womENcourage™ celebrations. We ask womENcourage participants to tell their stories in blog posts. We continue 2022 with Sarah Carey who was studying Digital Media Design at the University of Limerick, Ireland when she participated in the event.

She wrote an article about the Covid-19 impact on Computer Science from her perspective.

My perspective on Covid-19 impact in Computer Science

My name is Sarah Carey and I am from Limerick in Ireland. I have a particular interest in UX and UI design and love designing technology to make life easier for people. I love studying here as I thoroughly enjoy my course and was able to stay in my hometown. I enjoy past times such as swimming and yoga. I feel these are two very important things to me as they help me relax and ground myself after a busy day. I also enjoy singing, sports and designing creative projects. I also work as a lifeguard in my local pool and as a beach lifeguard during the summer.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the world in many ways, but for the world of Computer Science this is not the case. Computer science is one of the few sectors that has survived and thrived during the pandemic. 

We all know the importance of computer science. Without technology and computer scientists our world would not be able to function like it is today. This was particularly highlighted during the pandemic. Many people lost jobs, schools and universities closed, social interactions were limited to households and all nightclubs, bars, shops etc. closed. Our lives were moved to the confinements of our homes to protect us. Thankfully we were able to move most of our lives online such as learning, work, interactions etc.

Once everything moved online many people began to consider careers in computer science as it was now seen as a surviving and thriving career. Many computer science courses became available on various websites and people now had the time to upskill as they were limited to exercising or spending time online. The pandemic became a blessing in disguise as we now have more people skilled in computer science than ever and more jobs that we had never even heard or dreamed of before available to people.

More young people are online nowadays too. Be it gaming, social media, video/movie etc.  The usage of all those categories skyrocketed during the pandemic. This in turn may have inspired more young people of today to apply for computer science courses as they now see it as a well-paying, secure, and “fashionable” career. The label for computer science nowadays is “you’re so smart” if you do computer science compared to the time of millennials and the time before that of “you’re a nerd” if you did computer science. I am currently studying a Computer Science degree called Digital Media Design in the University of Limerick. I am in my final year and my course currently has 14 students who all have a love for computer science. Now I will compare this to the current first year class of my course. There are currently 60 students in that class. That is 4 times bigger than my class. I wonder if this is now because they have been introduced to technology at a younger age and have more of an interest and understanding of computer science since their lives were moved online for more than a year during the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a major tragedy to the world and has affected us all personally in different ways both negatively and positively. Thankfully it has had a positive impact in the area of computer science, and I feel we will look back in years to come and be thankful for the growth and development we have made during this time. 

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