Pioneering Research

Teen Views on Tech Careers

teen tech survey photo

In our survey of teen views on tech careers, we researched how urban minority teens as well as parents regard IT jobs, college and future careers. Our corresponding white paper discusses IT career myths and how to dispel them, career motivations for teens, and the role parents play in providing career guidance. Download the white paper or check out two infographics based on the survey results:


How to Interest Teens in Tech Careers




In our research to launch our NextUp initiative to inspire more teens to pursue tech careers, we worked with research firm IDEO, who sent researchers to several cities to speak with kids, parents, guidance counselors, and teachers. Over the course of their interviews, researchers found trends similar to the results of ourTeen Views of Tech Careers study. Those trends can be summed up in five key lessons:

  1. The college dream is powerful. It is shared by both students and parents regardless of socioeconomic status, gender or ethnicity.
  2. High school is viewed by most students and teachers as college prep. College is the dream, and high school is the path to get there. As a result, programs that focus on hands-on trades or hardware-focused tech skills are being minimized or removed from high school curricula because they aren’t perceived as preparing students for college.
  3. There is no silver bullet, no single source of information, no website that will draw kids to tech. Even if there were, it would have to compete with countless other websites and campaigns from other industries.
  4. Kids have bought into the “follow your passion” message. They want careers that allow them to do something they love.
  5. Role models are highly persuasive.Their ability to inspire and influence career choices down the road cannot be understated.


Targeting Dreamers & Reactives

IDEO also identified the target audience for NextUp. They found that youth in middle school and early high school are in an aspirational phase when thinking about their futures. They have yet to consider the practicalities of a career, money, or security. Their world is open and full of possibilities. In short, they are dreamers.


Once teens reach their junior and senior years of high school, they generally enter the reality phase. They start to think more realistically and logistically about their futures and the resources available to them to achieve their goals. IDEO called this group the reactives.


While we can influence both groups, the dreamers stood out to IDEO as the opportunity for the greatest impact. Because the dreamers are still discovering the world around them, they are more likely to be active participants than passive observers.


Learn more about NextUp and the actions we took based on the IDEO research in our NextUp Partner Guide


To get involved in NextUp or to bring NextUp programs to your community or school, contact Joan Matz.

4 P's of Internships

Creating IT Futures designed new models for internships so that students can get real work experiences as they develop their own education and career paths. Employers and schools can collaborate to innovate the internship model so that it works for both the student and the employer.


To give that opportunity to more students, schools and employers can build upon the 4Ps of internship:

  • Project for the student to work on that's both challenging and valued
  • Place for the student to work on the project
  • Personnel who will care about and supervise the intern
  • Payment, preferably monetary, to the students for the work they do

We’ve developed models for 4 types of internships that employers can implement to create student internships. Check out our infographic for more details.