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Re: [school-discuss] Gen Y not as interested in IT

Looking through the emails that arrived while I was moving from NY to NC.

Did anyone discuss this question?

I began programming C64s before I was a teen. I was one of the few HS students to hand typed (printed) assignments in, instead of handwritten {actually, my handwriting is horrible as a result}... Then, I went to college. I loved programming and computers so much, that it never occurred to me that it could (or even should) be a career... It only became a later fact of life that I felt a great need to author software.. a drive... so I turned my career around toward it ... (guided it away from sales/marketing to technology advocacy (Linux/OSS in a large corporation that is still very M$ centric) to software development..))

But as I have paid attention, and dealt with children of varying ages... the below data seems correct. Much in the way that people used to work on their own cars (not just oil changes, either) .. people "used to" develop software, or at least be pretty savvy about the machines if they wished to run one at home.

I am not sure if it is technology in general, or the Windows revolution, that dumbed down the "computer user" society to a point where if it doesn't power up and do what it should, we put a call in to the "Geek Squad"... I know that the danger of having the "geeks" of this teen era be the ones who can write really cool CSS mods to MySpace ... or some such other cosmetics, frightens me..

Anyway..I wonder.. is there anyone who has worked with children for long enough (and with depth enough in the IT realm) to see if there are still a good portion of tinkerers?
knowtree@xxxxxxxxx wrote:
The other day I argued that FOSS should not be the focus of study. When I
say this I do not mean that no student should ever study IT. What I do mean
is that IT should be taken for granted, FOSS included. Perhaps I should
even say will be taken for granted.
Today Slashdot picked up a simple story published on the Computerworld web
site about how differently today's young folks view IT. I especially like this:


This is the group that simultaneously IMs, blogs, surfs the Web and
downloads podcasts. In the end, ironically, it might be this extreme
comfort with technology that most deters these young people from pursuing
IT as a favorable, even desirable, career.

"To another generation, IT was cool because no one else knew much about
it," notes Kate Kaiser, associate professor of IT (and one of Lee's
instructors) at Marquette. "This generation is so familiar with technology,
they see it as an expected part of life" -- and therefore not worthy of
consideration as a full-time career."



You have to understand that the speaker has a vested interest in getting
young people interested in IT careers (see the bio at the end of the
story). From that context her words are a problem statement. To me they are
what's so.
Where do you position yourself on this issue?

Gary Dunn
Open Slate Project http://openslate.sourceforge.net/