Main image of article How Do Software Engineers Want to Change the World for the Better?

For many software engineers, working isn’t just about the money or perks. A sizable percentage have entered tech because they want to make the world a better place. But how do they actually want to change things?

Hired’s 2022 State of Software Engineers report offers a bit of insight into that crucial question (it’s based on a survey of more than 2,000 software engineers, along with data from 366,000 interactions between companies and software engineering candidates). The top three ways engineers want to make the world better through programming: public health, education, and the future of work. Check out the full chart:  

Smaller percentages of technologists see cryptocurrency, transportation, and spaceflight as ways to improve the world—and there are prominent companies working on all of those issues in a for-profit capacity. For many of these other issues, though, technologists may find themselves gravitating towards nonprofits designed to tackle issues such as food scarcity and public health.

Working for a nonprofit is a very different experience than a typical corporation. For starters, many nonprofits don’t boast the budgets necessary to maintain a sizable tech stack or kick off next-generation initiatives driven by bleeding-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (A.I.). Second, they’re not driven by the same product and release cycles as the for-profit world; those technologists entering the nonprofit world for the first time might be surprised at the pace.

At certain nonprofits, much of a technologist’s time might be spent simply maintaining the tech stack and/or pre-existing initiatives. However, others may have a budget commensurate with what you’d find at a large for-profit company—and within those institutions, a technologist would have the resources and space to launch something intensive, such as a data-science program.

Of course, there are lots of other ways to help save the planet with your tech skills. Government agencies are always on the lookout for tech talent. In order to burnish their reputations, many companies are also launching charitable and “world saving” initiatives. Whatever route you choose, your creativity and skills can make a difference.