One industry group is hoping to educate youngsters on how the technology and devices nearly all of them use actually work, in hopes of inspiring the next generation of IT professionals.
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO of CompTIA, said last week that the trade association is launching a new effort in hopes of filling the gaps that STEM programs in grades 9 through 12 are lacking: a better understanding of how IT works -- from smartphones to Facebook.
“We’ve come into a period when use of the product and adoption of the product is the new geek, instead of understanding how the product and components of it work,” Thibodeaux said. “We have this generation of kids who aren’t quite as geeky as the ones who came before them.”
A recent CompTIA survey of 1,002 teens and young adults found that nearly all respondents (97 percent) said they either love or like technology. Many teens also are more than just technology consumers, with 58 percent reporting that they help family members or friends with questions or troubleshooting computers, software and mobile devices.
Still, while most teens have a love affair with technology, most aren’t interested in translating that love into a career, the study found. Only 18 percent of teens and young adults reported a definitive interest in an IT career, while 43 percent identified their interest in an IT career as a “maybe.” Many respondents (47 percent) said they did not know enough about IT occupations, according to the report.
As a result, Thibodeaux said CompTIA will be going to kids in grades 9 through 12 to educate them on the processes that underlie technology, such as how much infrastructure underpins Facebook, how a text message works and how online gaming is developed.
“Teens think they have to be massive science geniuses to work in IT and that there’s no real upward career path mobility,” Thibodeaux said. “All of those things are completely false.”