Think of a musical, a theatrical production that requires harmony between the backstage crew and the actors for a successful performance. If it weren’t for the crew, the actors would be confused during each scene. This is comparable to the state of the world amidst the pandemic. People usually appreciate medical professionals for putting their lives on the line but often forget the programmers who work tirelessly, developing technology to stop the pandemic and connect the world virtually. They, too, deserve to be appreciated, as their significant contributions have played a significant role in fighting COVID-19.
According to a McKinsey Global Survey, North America has witnessed a dramatic acceleration in the digitization of customer interactions. Many tech-focused startups were founded in 2020, and other well-known companies, such as Zoom and 3M, saw a boom in users when most in-person events were held remotely. Dive, for example, is a social audio space startup that allows users to interact with professionals from different industries, allowing for more social connection through the pandemic. Synctera is a banking company that provides data analytics and financial technology (fintech) to community banks to support the surge of online banking. The push for online interaction has increased work for some programmers, who are now working “hard as ever.” They are making diverse, virtual opportunities accessible to anyone by creating online platforms for socialization, productivity, and much more. People can still thrive in a social workspace and continue their daily life without leaving home. Not only that; there is increased dependence on one-to-one networking to keep the workspace active. Programmers are working hard to ensure we can still interact with each other from the comfort of our own homes.
Aside from supporting the production of virtual networking technologies, developers have also contributed to pharmaceutical breakthroughs. Several businesses now require intense collaboration between programmers and medical professionals, currently studying COVID-19 to find and exploit its weaknesses. In addition, software developers face a rising demand and urgency in vaccine generation, requiring them to work efficiently with researchers to accelerate development of vaccine technology. In a pharmaceutical company like Moderna, both researchers and software developers must work together to create therapeutic breakthroughs.
The pandemic has also taken an unfortunate toll on the productivity and well-being of some programmers. A group of researchers conducted a Pandemic Programming survey to investigate the impacts of the lockdown on software development. The study concluded that, among software developers, the hardest hit were women—struggling with a lack of representation in STEM, parents—juggling personal and professional life at home, and disabled developers—experiencing difficulty communicating through the new platform.
It’s time to raise awareness about these problems and create support services to specifically target and solve these issues. Programmers have done so much for us. Our appreciation is long overdue, and it’s time we give them the recognition they deserve for all their effort, contributing to the local community and fighting the global pandemic. So to the programmers, who are working hard and perhaps struggling, we appreciate you. Thank you for working tirelessly through these times.
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Seiler, D. (Ed.). (2021, February 18). How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point--and transformed business forever. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/how-covid-19-has-pushed-companies-over-the-technology-tipping-point-and-transformed-business-forever#
List of top startups founded in 2020 - Crunchbase Hub Profile. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.crunchbase.com/hub/startups-founded-in-2020
Valinsky, J. (2020, May 11). Business is booming for these companies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/business-is-booming-for-these-companies-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-1.4933907
Kobielus, J. (2020, April 09). Coding together apart: Software development AFTER COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.infoworld.com/article/3537168/coding-together-apart-software-development-after-covid-19.html
Hastie, S. (2020, June 29). Pandemic programming survey results show negative impact of covid-19 changes. Retrieved from https://www.infoq.com/news/2020/06/pandemic-programming-survey/