I have a homework assignment for members of the CIO community with children in elementary
This evening, ask your child to draw a picture of a scientist, an engineer or a technology
worker other than you. Make a digital image of it, send it to me, and with your permission
I’ll post them on our website.
I can tell you right now that the pictures will depict geeky-looking guys with horn-rimmed
glasses. Few kids will draw women. It will be easy to see the challenge facing IT’s public
Because of this image, fewer young Americans today opt for IT careers. Meanwhile, Baby
Boomers—possibly including yourself—are preparing to leave the workforce. Yet
many enterprises today rely on staff with skills in both legacy systems and new Web 2.0
With the current economic crisis, older workers may stay on the job longer. But how are we
to interest young Americans in IT careers? Based on my 14 years of experience as founder of
Tech Corps (a non-profit that organizes technology volunteers to help in schools), the sweet
spot for getting children interested in tech careers is between the fourth and seventh
grades, particularly for girls.
We reach these kids by ratcheting up national efforts to find the best elementary school
science and math teachers who can have a profound impact on the future career aspirations of
our children. That’s how we’ll change the image that they have of us.