An anonymous reader writes "I've been lost in thought for a while on the direction I want to take with my life, and since I'm in IT like most of the readers on this site I thought I'd poll my peers. I've previously acquired an associate's degree in business for information systems and in a few months I'll have a bachelors of science in information technology. At the same time I'm one of the lead developers for a software development company that will remain nameless. At this point in my life I'm not sure what direction to take next. While I enjoy working with code and software systems I find that the joy of learning new things pales in comparison to the thought that the software I develop is nothing but useless in six months to anyone who uses it.
I've been toying with the idea of graduate school but I'm lost as far as the direction to take. I really want to become involved in technology that actually makes a difference and affects people's lives other than these corporate applications. If you were me or have gone through a similar situation what did you do to find the right path? Is there a graduate field of study that I should be looking into or a known career path that IT people can follow in order to get into a field where they're developing applications or technology that you can see the difference it makes? People who program machines for NASA get to see the fruits of their labor, people who develop embedded systems for medical uses get to know their work helps others, and that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. I'm sorry if this comes off as another lame thread. I've never posted to Slashdot before but I've been reading it for years. I hope I can get some constructive criticism or feedback. Thanks everyone."