Right now, entrepreneurship or more specifically tech-based entrepreneurship is definitely en-vogue. This glamorization of what is a really tough calling has been building for years with the current generation. From the pioneers in the field like Bill Gates (Microsoft) to the modern day champions like Mark Zuckerberg (Snapchat), Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Elon Musk (Tesla); it seems like entrepreneurship is part of career aspirations in a way that may not have been true even 10 years ago. For example, a recent study shows that while most MBA graduates from leading institutions do not start their own companies’ right at graduation, within 3 years nearly 25% have gone out on their own
. According to Harvard Business School Professor Howard Stevenson, entrepreneurship is defined as the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources currently controlled. So, what does this have to do with coding for kids? Our belief is that the learning of programming along with the associated creative problem-solving skills is closely aligned with the skills necessary to successfully launch and grow a business. Tech entrepreneurs are the modern day creative artists who are painting beautiful pictures and telling wonderful stories for us all to see. The real question is – how do we create an environment that supports this next generation of storytellers?
Mandatory Art Classes
Not only is learning programming helpful for facilitating the entrepreneurial journey, but this knowledge is helpful in a wide variety of careers. In fact, colleges and universities are beginning to update their general elective courses to require programming in order to graduate
. This evolution of curriculum beyond just technology-courses for engineers and computer scientists suggest that schools of higher education believe that there is a need to ensure all students are prepared for the ever growing presence of technology in the workplace. Going forward, we would imagine that nearly everyone understands how to leverage technology to build something useful. Whether, it is a simple website for their side hustle
or an expertly architected mobile application that improves the response time of ambulatory care, these mandatory courses will help expose more and more of our youth to the process of building. And, just as with more traditional art, there will be plenty of kids who are able to pick up programming on their own and create just as, if not more, beautiful projects as those who were formally trained. The key is to encourage more creators to learn how to tell stories.
Artists on the Team
With the recent explosion of interest in technology-based entrepreneurship, there has been a corresponding growth in accelerators and incubators. From YCombinator to Techstars, there are a number of organizations that fledgling entrepreneurs can tap into in order to help their concept grow into a sustainable enterprise. Some of these programs have a lower acceptance rate than many Ivy League schools. However, nearly every accelerator or incubator mandates that there needs to be a co-founder as part of the team with technology skills. This suggests that innovations are not just business model based but also need to be executed with the full knowledge and understanding of the technology stack. This can even be extended to how efficient companies are with their resources due to the leverage of technology. Outside of the energy and healthcare industry, technology based companies like Google, Facebook, Apple & Netflix generate multi-millions of dollar/employee.
The Tech Canvas
As kids grow up, they often take advantage of every opportunity that they have to create. From drawing pictures for their parents or building Lego structures, young people love to start with a blank slate and use their natural talent to build something new. As we move towards the incorporation of more and more technology advances throughout their frame of references, we will see technology emerge as the new canvas for demonstrating creative talents across industries. When kids shows us some of the projects they have created using the latest software and hardware platforms, not only does it blow us away; we are also surprised by their expectations for creation. They see kids at school making cool trailers using editing software and they think, I could make something like that.
Going forward, we’re so excited about what pictures and stories the next generation of artists will create.