When was the last time your parents asked you for help with their computer? Maybe your father is struggling to figure out how to FaceTime with the grandkids, or your mom’s computer is doing that “thing” again where it “keeps closing out of programs.” Whatever the problem, one thing is for sure: your older relatives are sure you can fix it. It seems to be a given that almost any kid — and even your 5-year-old — can help the older generation with any given technology snafu. But it turns out, that doesn’t translate into wanting a career in information technology.
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According to Campus Technology, while more and more of us young people seem to be growing in our comfort and skill with technology, a surprisingly small percentage have expressed interest in careers in technology. Ninety-six percent of people aged 13 to 24 say they like or love technology, and yet less than 20 percent say they’d be interested in an IT career. Why could that be?
The Youth Want Meaning
Looking at PayScale data on what exactly an IT career breaks down to be, the possible careers you might go on to have with an IT-related degree include: Project Manager, Software Engineer, IT Consultant, and Business Analyst — not exactly mindless work or minimum wage jobs. Even the lowest paying job on the list, Systems Administrator, boasts a median salary of $61,117. So why don’t millennials have more interest in the field?
It could be because they don’t sense that there’s a great amount of meaning coming from some of these jobs. This isn’t to say that all IT jobs are meaningless or unsatisfying — building the future, one line of code at a time, could feel pretty amazing. But, let’s face it: not every Software Engineer will wind up developing world-changing technology. Maybe that’s why, according to our job survey data, only 29 percent of Computer Software Engineers report that their job has high meaning. In fact, less than 50 percent of the people working as either Computer Support Specialists or Network & Computer System Administrators find high meaning in their jobs.
More than a paycheck, millennials are concerned with their jobs having a greater sense of meaning and impacting culture.
Trouble With the Ladies
The other problem that the tech industry faces overall is that they aren’t attracting women. This won’t be news to most, but at companies like Twitter and Facebook, women only account for about 10-16 percent of the technical workers. Coding boot camps are finding success in empowering women to jump into that realm.
Filling the Gap
If you’re looking for work, this might be your chance. While perceptions may be that working in IT is a boring boys’ club, it doesn’t have to be that way at all. And if fewer people are interested in working in technology than playing with the finished products, that means that companies might be quick to grab anyone who is well trained in the field — and hey, that could have even better implications for salary negotiations.
Tell Us What You Think
Does IT need revamping? Are you in the IT world and find this article to be completely insulting? Tell us what you think in the comments below or by joining the conversation on Twitter.