In the U.S. job market, as many as half a million positions working with technology at organizations of all kinds across the spectrum of industries go unfilled during any given quarter. Business analysts call this continuing employment crisis the “tech skills gap.” In simple terms, there’s an abundance of job vacancies and a shortage of qualified applicants.
Creating IT Futures CEO Charles Eaton believes that teenagers – i.e., young people who today are in their middle and high school years – are the generation that ultimately can close this skills gap. That is if we – parents and other mentors to these teens – can inspire them to start pursuing tech careers now.
Eaton calls this mission “nurturing the next generation of technologists,” which he has articulated for parents and teens in his award-winning book, “How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology” and illuminated for listeners through his podcast, Technologist Talk with Charles Eaton.
Who is a technologist? In short, a technologist is someone with a mix of what are known as hard technical skills (such as proficiency with cybersecurity technologies) and what often are called soft business skills.
Which “soft skills” are the mark of a true technologist? In this Podcast Flashback to an episode of Technologist Talk with Charles Eaton at this time last year, Charles discusses the first of five traits of a technologist: “A Technologist Thinks Strategy First.”
As Charles articulates in one of his most popular blog posts:
“The first definition of ‘strategy’ is a ‘plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.’ Technologists favor strategies before tactics – i.e., actions and activities implemented to achieve an objective. Rather than a reflection of values, this intellectual sequence is a simple acknowledgement of the way most technologists are wired. Before they start working with technology or put technology to work, technologists step back and plan.”
How can parents encourage teens to think strategically like technologists during their middle- and high-school years?
“One thing [a parent] can do is ask a few questions at the dinner table,” Eaton explains during the podcast conversation with Technologist Talk host R.C. “Bob” Dirkes. “You can start to get them to think about some of the bigger issues. You’ve got to make it super relevant to them, and that's the hard part with kids.”
In the Eaton house, Charles says, that means dinnertime discussions about the popular video game Fortnite:
“That's why I started playing, because we have a conversation … and I get to ask them a lot of questions: ‘Why did you do that in the game? What was your decision-making process? How did you think about that? What was your strategy going in? If you did this, would it be different?’ It's a way for me to get them thinking critically.”
Click here to listen to this Podcast Flashback, just in case you missed the episode first time around.
Related Posts from Creating IT Futures
- Heads up to parents: Half a million tech jobs are waiting for employees (blog post)
- 7 Myths Deflecting Teens from Tech Careers – Part 1 (podcast)
- 7 Myths Deflecting Teens from Tech Careers – Part 2 (podcast)
- 7 Myths Deflecting Teens from Tech Careers – Part 3 (podcast)
- Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures, earns International Latino Book Award for “How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM Education.” (blog post)