Teens’ interest in technology doesn’t translate into technology career paths; lack of interest may be due to lack of knowledge about technology career options.
Teenagers love technology. But according to a new study by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry, the teen love affair with technology doesn’t necessarily lead to interest in an IT career path.
While 97 percent of teens and young adults report loving or liking technology, just 18 percent report a definitive interest in a career in IT, CompTIA’s Youth Opinions of Careers in IT study finds.
Though a small number of students are definitely interested in IT careers, the CompTIA research reveals a much larger pool of possible future technology career candidates – 38 percent of girls and 48 percent of boys. The lack of familiarity with IT careers and actual positions is usually cited as a reason why young people aren’t interested in the field.
However, interest levels spike when young adults are presented with specific career options. Nearly half of the respondents can see themselves potentially designing video games; 41 percent envision creating applications for mobile devices; 39 percent, designing web pages; and 34 percent, applying technology in field such as healthcare or education. In fact, six in ten respondents perceive an IT career as an opportunity to help people.
“It’s sometimes easy to overlook the vital creative, collaborative and problem solving elements of technology work, as well as the diversity of occupations within the field,” said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA.
This lack of understanding of the variety of career options in the IT field is reflected in other findings in the CompTIA study. For example, 21 percent of respondents perceive the job as working alone in front of a computer all day. Additionally, only 26 percent believe IT occupations are in demand despite evidence to the contrary from job boards and other surveys.
When asked if they have first-hand knowledge of what’s it’s like to work in IT – based on a family member or friend working in the industry – 61 percent say they do not.