Careers with Code US 2017

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A wide field From big data to giant robots, computers are changing agriculture in a big way



estled in California’s Central Valley, the breadbasket of the country, a tractor rolls through a field with nobody at the wheel. But it’s not an accident – it’s a robot! Built by Blue River Technology, this robotic tractor uses a technique called machine learning. The equipment learns how to tell weeds from crops, and how to tell healthy plants from those that are struggling. The company says farmers will use 90% fewer chemicals by only spraying the plants that need it. It’s a tricky technique, but it’s one that Blue River thinks is worth mastering. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, investment in companies like Blue River Technology creates about 60,000 new jobs a year in agriculture, engineering, and business. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Dr. Laura Boykin is fixing bugs – literally. “I help farmers in East Africa grow more food for their families. Viruses and insects are killing plants that feed 800 million people. Our job is to help,” she says. The Phoenix, Arizona, native works in computational biology. By collecting and profiling the DNA of pests, she and her research team help find better ways to control them. CS and agriculture might seem an unlikely combination at first, but it’s one of the places where computing makes the biggest difference. From fields to factories, the number of coders and farmers working together is only going to grow. – Rockwell McGellin

CS+ agriculture Farmers and computer scientists are using data, math and coding skills to make farming greener, more productive, and more efficient.


Combine ag. studies with bioinformatics, computational biology, agribusiness, automation or robotics.


John Deere | Monsanto | USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture)


Bioinformatician $48,447–$107,939

If you want to get a job and you like biology, learn to program.” – Dr. Laura Boykin,

Agricultural engineer $39,150–$93,701 Automation engineer $53,807–$99,401

computational biologist

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