I consider computers and technology one of my biggest hobbies outside of school. I started interacting with computers on my parents’ Windows 98 machine back when I was about seven or eight years’ old, and ever since then I have embraced technology as the useful tool and source of seemingly endless entertainment that it can be. This relationship has led me to assume a sort of “IT support” role in my family, as usually I am the first one who is called if someone in my family has an issue with their computer, smartphone, or their WiFi network.
This great relationship with technology I have is one of the reasons that I am considering switching majors here at Pacific from business to computer science, as it is something that I have a great deal of interest in. The world of coding, and how what you code makes the computer work and think, is something that is endlessly fascinating to me. Currently, coding and learning new syntax is a sort of side project of mine that has taken a back seat now that we are in the midst of the semester, but I have coded for my good friend’s web and software development company in the past, with some of my work currently online, and I plan on doing much more in the future.
To address the podcast, what I find interesting is the connection with the smaller percentage of women involved with computer science and the advertising for technology that focuses mostly on men, as mentioned in the podcast. For some reason, technology still seems to be something that is targeted more towards men, or at least the specifications of the technology and the inner workings are targeted more towards men, with the entertainment value more often targeted towards women. While that targeted audience is slowly changing, I feel, from my experience there does seem to be a disproportionate amount of men involved and interested in technology. If this is a primary effect of advertising and perceptions or computer science as a field for men, then I believe marketers should promptly reassess who they are targeting, and make the change to target both genders. As it stands now, many women who are interested in technology are effectively shut out from the field because they may not have the exposure to it or may feel intimidated because it appears to be such a male-dominated field.
Moving on to the interesting point that the Williams article touched on, specifically the need for accessibility built into software and hardware, I think this is of great importance because technology is now being used by more and more people, with increasingly unique sets of needs. Rather than coding a program, or a website, two or even three times to prepare for the different accessibility needs, it makes much more financial sense to use a universal design when you are creating the website or program. I think that this is an important precedent to set for all programmers, as it will create hardware and software that can effectively be used by everybody, regardless of any needs they may have.
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