Many of our students become interested in technology because of the video games they play. From Roblox to Minecraft and everything in between, video games are a great way to demonstrate a cool end product.
Not only do gamers enjoy playing the game, they begin to conceptualize what it would be like for them to create a game or the start to wonder what it would be like to modify an existing game and make it their own.
With games like Minecraft and Roblox providing opportunities to change the underlying code to create customizations within their preferred environment, these platforms are developing a whole new generation of programmers who may not ultimately enter the gaming field but will likely continue within a technological field.
When I was a child, we used to have career day. A series of professionals from a variety of fields would come in and talk more about their jobs. From accountants to engineers, this is a great way to gain early exposure to potential career options.
If you can’t be what you can’t see, we should make sure that we create abundant opportunities for kids to see themselves in the careers that are predicted to be fast growing over the course of their working lives.
Some kids are fortunate in that members of their immediate or extended family are working within an industry or concentration that is appealing to them. For those that may not have that exposure, we need to make sure that we don’t limit the number of future technologists because we did not give them insight into the careers of those they might like to emulate.
Once the next generation is sufficient inspired and identified role models, we need to be intentional on outlining the pathway for success. For those who are interested in technology, they need to build a sound foundation in mathematics and science. These subjects create the knowledge base to solve problems. Since we don’t fully know which problems will be most interesting or exciting for the next generation, it is best to provide this broad based exposure.
Over time, students can further hone their studies into specific majors like systems engineering or computer science. And, there should be key information for the next generation to process about what exactly that means.
Beyond that, it is helpful for students to understand which companies often utilize specific or more generic approaches to developing algorithms or software/hardware solutions.
As the need for technology based problem solving has continued to increase, we must make sure that we are not shortchanging the next generation. We must be intentional about the products, people and pathways that they are exposed to.
And this is not to say that everyone will ultimately choose to become an issue engineer or developer. Instead it provides the proper framework to make a decision versus feeling like if only I would’ve learned what a data analyst or developer does, I may have made a different choice. This is what we owe the next generation from an educational and preparation standpoint.