Morally-significant IT work?
May 13, 2012 4:41 PM Subscribe
For those of you who work in a computer field (IT, software development, etc.) and
you feel your work has some greater moral purpose (beyond paying the bills): what do you do? And how did you find your job?
(Background, which you can skip if you want): I’ve worked at a large software company for ten years. I like the work itself, but over time, I’ve found it unsatisfying that my job doesn’t really help anyone, doesn't make the world a better place, doesn't have any sort of a moral purpose. Ok, theoretically, software makes people more productive, which generates economic activity, etc., but that's pretty indirect and not especially satisfying.
So I'm looking for an application of my work background to something that's more morally meaningful. I've found a few small things: I manage the database for a food bank, for instance, and the web site for a free clinic. But I'd like to find a career, or at least a major hobby, that combines these two things.
I realize, of course, that the best way of helping people might have nothing to do with computers! Unfortunately, computer work suits my temperament pretty well: I’m a typical introverted, retiring computer geek who not only tolerates long hours writing code, but positively enjoys it! And, of the charities I’ve observed, most of them have plenty of volunteers excited to work with people, and too few willing / able to manage the infrastructure. So I figure IT is the rarer skill: I just need to find an outlet for it.
So I’ve thought of the obvious stuff: doing IT work for local charities, teaching, etc. What examples do you guys have from your own lives?
(I’m in Seattle now, moving to NYC in a month, if that's relevant)