On it Bill Gates had asked a general question; What can we do to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology?
My response is below:
It boils down to Respect and Reputation. One of the reasons that young people admire and purse careers is that they see the position as one of respect and authority in the community.
For example, the big time lawyer, the life saving doctor, the helping policeman; these are all positions which come with a large degree of respect and reputation.
Currently I believe that youths tend to view technology jobs as high paying white collar jobs. Reputable well paying positions but not very "exciting".
I think we, the technology group, have done ourselves a dis-service by marketting technology as easy to learn and any one can learn it. This takes away from the respect that one can get for having this job. We may be making it look too easy. I say look because I am well of aware just how hard it is to do things correctly and succeed in our industry, but I wonder how many young adults are aware of this.
Now this is counter to what a lot of folks and groups are doing to encourage technology in our youths. And I certainly would not stop any of these efforts. This might be considered a different tact.
An action that could be taken is to either create another title or pick one that is out there , I believe we have enough, and work at creating an image of that title. An image which will stand beside and out "shine" the Lawyer, Doctor, Buisess Exec career choices that young adults face.
I mean no disrespect to all the great technology leaders out there. I am awed and very respectful of your reputations.
These thoughts come after volunteering teaching young minority kids in the 9 – 12th graders .NET web development for the past 4 years. This is through a community driven organization. I have found the childgrens thoughts and actions very insightful and for anyone that has not taken the time to give back to the community in this well.
I am no author but these are some things that I thought I should share.