How Can We Get More Young People Excited About IT?

There are a lot of exciting things happening in the IT field, which means there’s a tremendous amount of growth occurring in a lot of businesses. With that growth comes the need to hire cost-effective talent. This begs the question: How can we get more young people excited about launching careers in IT?

Why IT?
When you ask children what they want to be when they grow up, you’ll hear an array of answers. From firefighter and police officer to professional athlete or doctor, there are a handful of occupations that always seem to draw interest from children.

Kids typically don’t grow up pretending they’re IT pros or dream about fixing computers, coordinating corporate security strategies or deploying advanced new software programs, but maybe that’s our fault as adults. The IT career field is an exciting one, and we’re doing our youth a disservice by failing to get them excited at a young age.

For starters, there’s the positive industry outlook, with both wages and employment opportunities outpacing most other industries.

Then there’s the fact that IT pros can work in just about any environment. There are Fortune 500 positions, as well as opportunities to contract with small businesses. This change of scenery can be refreshing for people who like to move around and see new things.

Making IT attractive to young students
As you can see, there are a lot of positive things happening in the IT industry. The goal has to be for educators, adults, and those already in the field to shine a light on its positive trajectory. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make the push online. Today’s youth (and tomorrow’s professionals) spend a lot of time online. For companies and organizations that want to reach this segment of the future workforce, there needs to be a greater online push for visibility. Since social media is a hugely popular destination, there’s value to be extracted from sharing engaging content and strategically funneling users to landing pages. There’s also something to be said for tapping into visual social platforms like Snapchat and Periscope to provide some behind-the-scenes content about how exciting a career in IT can really be.
  2. Focus on creativity. Creativity is a big thing when young people search for jobs. They want careers that allow them to use their talents and enjoy the freedom to innovate and create from the start. Unfortunately, very few career fields – especially at entry-level positions – leave room for imagination and vision. However, IT professionals are like artists in many ways, constantly being called on to use certain tools to maximize resources and build new solutions.
  3. Highlight the low cost. For high school students who won’t be having their college paid for by a parent, the rising cost of tuition and the ever-present burden of student loans is enough to scare even the most optimistic child away from pursuing a college degree. Thankfully, you don’t need a four-year degree to be an IT pro. Some specialized training/certificates can get people started in the field.

IT isn’t exciting in the sense that you get to fight fires or hit a 95-mph fastball in front of 40,000 fans, but that doesn’t mean today’s children can’t grow up wanting to pursue a career in this growing field. It’s up to us to shed light on just how stimulating it can be.

Larry Alton, Writer,

[ISACA Now Blog]

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