A lot of people don’t understand how software engineers help society and the overall benefits they bring. Software engineering is incredibly important and will become even more essential as technology adoption increases. It isn’t the act of writing lines of code that benefits society. But instead, the products that arise from this development go on to be used by millions of people.
Let’s take a closer look at the various ways we all benefit from the work that software engineers do and how they generally help the public. in general.
How do software engineers help society?
Software engineers help society in a range of different ways include:
- Keeping the wheels of modern life spinning
- Developing new technology to save lives
- Creating technology that saves money
- Allowing disabled people to use the web
- Developing product that saves time
- Keeping our data safe and secure online
- Connecting people
- Encouraging entrepreneurship
- Making day-to-day life far easier
- Providing entertainment
There are a whole host of other reasons why software developers have an enormous impact on society. It’s part of the reason developers are paid so much. Let’s explore some of the reasons above in more detail.
1. Keep the wheels turning
Modern life as we know it simply couldn’t exist without software engineers. The solutions they create keep society chugging along. Technology impacts every aspect of our lives from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. Your work life, social life, downtime, and hobbies would all grind to a halt without the tools that programmers create.
During tough times technology allowed people to continue with some form of normalcy. Throughout the pandemic of 2020 software allowed people to stay in touch and make sure food was on the table. Food delivery companies like DoorDash grew by nearly 50% during this period because of the service they provided.
2. Saving time and money
People often think of the good that developers do in terms of the profits for businesses. But software engineers also help ordinary members of society save a tonne of time and money.
Apps like Uber and Lyft have allowed people to save time on transport by offering on-demand services. Banking apps have increased competition in the finance sector and lowered costs for the average consumer. Queue times in supermarkets have been slashed thanks to self-service machines. Forget going to a store, everything can be purchased and delivered to your door at the push of a button.
All of the little conveniences that technology offers eventually add up and save everyone time and money. These products wouldn’t exist without the work of skilled programmers.
3. Saving Lives
Better technology in hospitals has saved more than 50,000 people by lowering preventable deaths by 17%. By improving communication and unlocking crucial data points, technology has enabled us to save people.
In terms of prevention, the app developers by software engineers are helping people seek help before it is too late. From online consultations with a doctor to therapy sessions to prevent depression, the knock-on effect is that the power of technology is allowing people to seek help before it is too late. Rather than having to take time out of their day people can now reach out to specialists at the click of a button and get the help they need.
Although we’ve looked at saving lives in a medical context, the same rings true for the automotive, agricultural, and transport industries.
The beauty of the web is that it is for everyone. Regardless of your background you can enjoy the internet and make use of the benefits it brings. Two decades ago it was incredibly difficult for people with disabilities to take advantage of the web. Thanks to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines this is changing. The guidelines provide best practices and approaches to make websites and apps usable by people who have issues with sight or sound.
There is now a push within the software engineering community to make sure products are being built to be used by everyone. Without effort from WCAG and the surrounding communities, disadvantaged members of society wouldn’t be able to use the internet.
6. Encouraging entrepreneurship
The internet has opened up the business world to everyone. With little to no startup costs, people can create a business online in no time at all. Whether it’s a blog like this one, an e-commerce store, or advertising a local business, improvements in web technology have made all this possible.
There is a reason Shopify, the e-commerce platform, has skyrocketed in value since its 2015 IO. The stock is now 5600% times higher than when they first floated and it’s driven by people’s desire to start something for themselves online. Before WordPress or sites like Wix, people would have to create everything from scratch. But now you can buy pre-built themes and get your business up and running in minutes.
Overall entrepreneurship is great for society. It creates jobs and allows people to create their own wealth.
7. Connecting people
Platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp, and Facebook have meant falling out of touch with people is now a personal choice. Before programmers created these platforms moving across the country or abroad meant you would never speak to someone again. However, these and other social media platforms make it easier than ever to stay connected.
For family members who live far away, it’s incredibly beneficial to be able to keep up to date with what is going on. Now that travel is so accessible and cheap, more people than ever are moving away. Rather than feeling isolated or alone, technology has meant their loved ones are just a phone call away.
8. Proving entertainment
Before programmers created platforms like YouTube, Patreon, Netflix, and other services, entertainment was restricted. Cable TV and newspapers were the primary sources of information for most people across the globe.
Now you can consume sources of information from every country on earth. Not a fan of your local news station? You can simply stream one you prefer. Don’t like what is on TV tonight? Fire up Netflix and choose something you prefer.
The level of entertainment available is now staggering, more than 1 billion hours of YouTube content is consumed every day!
Overall, having access to varied forms of entertainment helps people learn about things they would otherwise be oblivious to. Whether it’s economics, knitting, movie trivia, or yoga, the technologies created by software engineers have helped people broaden their horizons.
Software engineers have helped society by simplifying our lives, saving us all time & money, and helping to connect us with others. It is now easier than ever to connect with like-minded people or start a business, all thanks to the technologies built by developers.
Technological advances have made our lives far easier. But more importantly, software engineers have helped save lives by writing code that has a genuine impact on communities around the world. For many, our phones and laptops are a gateway into our hobbies and interests. Thankfully the days of boring content and minimal choice are long gone.
Nathan Britten, the founder and editor of Developer Pitstop, is a self-taught software engineer with nearly five years of experience in front-end technologies. Nathan created the site to provide simple, straightforward knowledge to those interested in technology, helping them navigate the industry and better understand their day-to-day roles.