Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

Back to Listing

October 18, 2016

Educating the Next Generation of Technologists

By Charles Eaton

Charles EatonRarely a day passes without a headline in technology trades, business magazines and newspapers about the tech skills gap. More than half a million information technology job postings exist for open positions in businesses of all shapes and sizes at any given time in the current U.S. market, according to estimates by the job analytics firm, Burning Glass.

Compounding the issue, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the availability of IT jobs to grow by greater than 10 percent annually through 2022. If most of these tech-related positions go unfilled now, how will the tech skills gap ever be closed?

At the same time, rarely a day goes by when the parents of up-and-coming teenagers -- from middle school through high school -- don’t work passionately to help their kids plan and prepare for a successful career as an adult. These parents, a group to which I belong, live in a time when College Board statistics tell us typical tuition at a four-year institution costs $48,000 a year, which has led to more than 40 million people carrying more than $1.3 trillion in debt from student loans.

Like the tech skills gap, this situation is daunting and unprecedented. Yet, as the CEO of a philanthropic organization in the IT realm – and a parent raising two kids approaching their tween-age years – I’m optimistic. Why? Because Generation Z, the cohort of children born roughly during the mid-90s, is rising to meet this trend. Already making up a quarter of the U.S. population, Gen Z will be as much as 20 percent of the workforce in the next five years, according to employment researchers.

And who will influence this rising generation the most? Their parents. According to the Teen Views on Tech Careers study by Creating IT Futures Foundation, teens report relying on parents for career advice 2-to-1 over any other source.

This is why Creating IT Futures is developing “How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM Education.” This handbook, which will roll out next March, will provide insight and information that helps connect the mounting demand to the growing supply.

Our book is poised to become a primary counselor to the advisors that parents want to be. Parents of Gen Z, eager to give their kids a bright future, will learn that technology is about logic, creativity and solving problems. They’ll see that a career in technology is accessible with or without a four-year degree through multiple paths to positions across companies and industries. Not only will we point the way for parents to direct their teens, we will lay stepping stones and share stories from other parents, executives and educators who have made the journey.

As the guide’s author, I have my head and heart engaged in this subject matter for personal, as well as professional, reasons. I’ve raised two children through college and now, as mentioned, have two more approaching middle school years. So, for the next six months, you’ll see a series of blog posts from me dedicated to the cause of educating the next generation of technologists. You’ll also see me interviewed by various media about this topic, as well as speaking at select events.

But what was that word I just used? Not “IT worker?” “Technologist?”

Well, that’s a subject for another post. Stay tuned.