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Five Insights from Studying Teen Views on Tech Careers

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The IT industry lacks qualified applicants, despite the promise of attractive wages and upward mobility. So when good jobs are available, why don’t more teens consider IT careers? The Creating IT Futures Foundation commissioned research to better understand how teens plan for their futures — including awareness of IT careers, outreach efforts that work best, and the role parents play in decision-making. During BDPA’s Annual Conference, Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures, presented the research, along with lessons learned from projects in Chicago that are preparing young people for entry-level IT positions.

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Five Insights from Studying Teen Views on Tech Careers

  1. 1. Five Insights Studying Teen Views on Tech Careers Presented by Charles Eaton CEO, Creating IT Futures Foundation
  2. 2. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org About the National Study 326 students and 325 parents of teens were surveyed: – Enrolled in a public school – In the 11th or 12th grade – Grades in school are mostly B’s or C’s – No history of expulsion – Lives in an urban area – Household income less than $65,000 – African-American or Hispanic/Latino
  3. 3. Insight #1 Urban Teens Want Tech Careers 3
  4. 4. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Teens Choose Computers & Technology over Other Careers Top Ten Careers of Interest Business owner 18% Software Programmer 17% Nurse or Doctor 16% Civil Engineer 15% Lawyer 12% Computer Technician 11% Military Job 11% Computer Design Engineer 11% Architect 7% Engineer 7% Career Categories of Interest Computers/Technology 42% Building and fixing things 32% Business and retail 31% Helping people 31% Law/Military 29% Music and art 23% Science 15% Managing money 14% Sports 10% Writing and reading 10% Social studies 9% Nature 5% Interest in Computer & Technology Careers Computers/Technology, including: 42% Software Programmer 17% Computer Technician 11% Computer Design Engineer 11% Web or App Developer 6% Database Administrator 4%
  5. 5. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org People Skills Are More Common than Tech Skills Strong Skills & School Subjects Being friendly 54% Being creative 51% Being a good listener 47% Accepting responsibility 40% Listening to others 39% Art 34% Math 34% Working with my hands 33% Thinking logically 32% Music 31% Working with technology 31% Solving problems 30% Managing money 29% Developing relationships 28% Computer science 27% Motivating others 24% Writing 24% Strong Skills & School Subjects Organizing things and information 24% Developing goals and sticking to them 23% Counseling others 23% History and social sciences 23% Meeting deadlines 21% Leading others 20% Science 20% Drama 19% Researching information 18% Reading and analyzing literature 16% Planning events 15% Editing others’ writing 15% Foreign languages 14% Selling ideas and products 14% Public speaking 13% None of the above 1%
  6. 6. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org6 Source: Change the Equation
  7. 7. Insight #2 Teens Want a Job They Love 7
  8. 8. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Teens Want Careers & Education, and Many Want to Help Their Parents 30% 34% 44% 37% 35% 34% 45% 40% 30% 38% 34% 38% 37% 31% 27% 23% 30% 36% 39% 29% 34% 46% 39% 44% 41% 51% 61% 61% 66% 67% 71% 72% 74% 74% 76% 76% 78% 79% 88% Getting married or starting a family Traveling to new cities or countries Making a contribution to society Moving into a better neighborhood Having a career that others respect Having a lot of money Helping other people Gaining more independence from my family Owning my own home Helping my parent(s) with money or housing Going to college Getting more education and training after high school Having a job I love Very Important Extremely Important[n=336 Teens]
  9. 9. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Boys Want Homes, Girls Want College Top Three Aspirations for the Next 5 to 10 Years (% citing as very or extremely important) African American Boys African American Girls Hispanic/Latino Boys Hispanic/Latina Girls 1. Having a job I love (88%) 2. Owning my own home (81%) 3. Having a lot of money (81%) 1. Having a job I love (85%) 2. Getting more education and training after high school (83%) 3. Going to college (80%) 1. Having a job I love (83%) 2. Getting more education and training after high school (78%) 3. Owning my own home (77%) 1. Having a job I love (94%) 2. Helping my parent(s) with money or housing (82%) 3. Going to college (81%)
  10. 10. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Careers and Learning Are More Important than Power and Prestige to Teens 26% 29% 36% 36% 32% 33% 33% 38% 41% 39% 44% 42% 42% 36% 46% 39% 22% 22% 19% 21% 26% 29% 29% 26% 25% 33% 28% 30% 31% 36% 32% 45% 48% 51% 54% 57% 58% 62% 62% 64% 66% 71% 72% 72% 73% 73% 78% 84% Working in an office Having authority or power over others Being a manager Solving puzzles or problems Working for myself or having my own business Being the CEO or the main person in charge Getting to travel to new cities or countries Working independently Working with others as a team Being creative or artistic Leading and inspiring others at work Helping other people Working in a field where it is always easy to find a job Making a lot of money Learning new things all the time Having a career, not just a job Very Important Extremely Important[n=336 Teens]
  11. 11. Insight #3 Parents Matter 11
  12. 12. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Who Do You Rely On Most to Talk about… Teens Rely on Parents for Planning Their Future …what you will do after high school? A parent/guardian 77% A teacher at school 32% A friend 34% Another family member 27% School counselor/staff 25% A coach 19% Somebody else 1% None of the above 2% …what you might be good at and enjoy doing? A parent/guardian 67% A teacher at school 34% A friend 33% Another family member 26% School counselor/staff 21% A coach 15% Somebody else 1% None of the above 3% …different types of jobs and careers? A parent/guardian 68% A teacher at school 29% A friend 27% Another family member 19% School counselor/staff 25% A coach 10% Somebody else 1% None of the above 2%
  13. 13. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Fewer than Half of Teens Are Often Discussing their Future with Parents … discuss and help you with homework assignments? … give you feedback about things you are good at and might enjoy doing in the future? … talk about different types of jobs and careers that might be available to you? … talk specifically about your plans for after high school? … talk about specific colleges you might attend or training programs you could enroll in after high school? 30% 47% 39% 45% 42% 29% 66% 58% 63% 56% Teens Parents % Reporting “A Lot” of Discussions about Homework and the Future How often do your parents . . . [n=336] [n=325]
  14. 14. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Half of Teens Say Parents Expect Them to Go to College 49% 62% 43% 34% 7% 4% Teens Parents They would not mind if I didn’t go to college They want me to go to college, but if I got a decent job, it would be OK not to They say I have to go to college or I will not be successful in life I would not mind if my child didn’t go to college I want my child to go to college, but if he/she got a decent job, it would be OK not to My child must go to college or he/she will not be successful in life Parent Attitudes about Going to College [n=336] [n=325]
  15. 15. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Most Teens Plan to Go to College Teens’ Plans after High School (multiple selections allowed) [n=336 Teens] College or Trade School, including: 90% Attend a 4-year college 57% Attend a technical or trade school 26% Attend a 2-year college 17% Get a job 29% Go into the military 6% Start a business 4% Don’t know / Haven’t thought about it 4% What Parents Hope Teens Will Do (multiple selections allowed) [n=325 Parents] College or Trade School, including: 94% Attend a 4-year college 74% Attend a technical or trade school 25% Attend a 2-year college 33% Get a job 25% Go into the military 13% Start a business 7% Don’t know / Haven’t thought about it 1% What Parents Say Teens Plan to Do (multiple selections allowed) [n=325 Parents] College or Trade School, including: 84% Attend a 4-year college 57% Attend a technical or trade school 18% Attend a 2-year college 30% Get a job 18% Go into the military 11% Start a business 3% Don’t know / Haven’t thought about it 8%
  16. 16. Insight #4 IT Occupations Need Explanation 16
  17. 17. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Teens and Parents Have a Vague Understanding of the Term “IT” 28% 20% 26% 22% 24% 29% 21% 30% Teens Parents I definitely know what IT is I’m pretty sure I know what IT is, but I’d want to check to be certain I might know what IT is, but I’m not really sure without looking it up I definitely don’t know what IT is Familiarity with the Term IT [n=336] [n=325]
  18. 18. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Few Teens Know People in IT Jobs 23% 36% 51% 35% Teens Parents Have an IT Role Model Have a personal connection to somebody in IT Have a personal connection to somebody in IT Have an IT Role Model Including: • 40% someone they know • 8% celebrity or famous person • 4% person or character from TV or movies Including: • 29% someone they know • 5% celebrity or famous person • 3% person or character from TV or movies [n=336] [n=325]
  19. 19. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Most See IT as Requiring an Excellent Math and Science Background 12% 18% 32% 8% 25% 29% 17% 33% 14% 12% Teens Parents Up to one year of training and classes after high school Two years of training and classes after high school A four-year bachelor's degree A master's degree or higher I have no idea 2% 1% 4% 12% 39% 48% 54% 39% Teens Parents Agree strongly Agree somewhat Disagree somewhat Disagree strongly Based on what you know, how much do you agree or disagree with this statement: People with information technology (IT) jobs need to do really well in math and science classes at school. How much training and education do you think people with information technology (IT) jobs need? [n=336] [n=325] [n=336] [n=325]
  20. 20. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Most Think “Good Pay” When They Think of IT Careers 45% 41% 37% 37% 36% 26% 25% 24% 22% 18% 15% 8% Teens Pays well Requires good math and science skills Getting to think of ways to use technology to help people Getting to play with lots of cool technology Fun, interesting work Easy-to-get job because there is always a need for IT workers Working alone sitting in front of a computer all day Difficult, complicated work Competitive, with too many IT workers looking for jobs Hard-to-get job with work sent to other countries Just for tech geeks Boring 59% 45% 53% 44% 36% 25% 20% 16% 25% 10% 13% 5% Parents[n=336] [n=325]
  21. 21. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Teens Express Strong Interest in IT Careers 12% 18% 22% 17% 22% 39% 38% 45% 42% 31% 40% 38% 36% Something I am definitely interested in Something I may be interested in Something I am not interested in Don’t know/Haven’t thought about it 70% at least some interest 78% at least some interest 83% at least some interest 78% at least some interest Overall Build, Install, & Repair Write Software & Programs Consult on Technology Usage
  22. 22. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Focusing on IT in Other Chosen Fields Generates Interest as Well 22 19% 58% 23% It would make me a lot more interested in IT It would make me somewhat more interested in IT It would not change my interest in IT What if you could have a job in information technology (IT) within a career field you selected earlier. How would this change your interest in IT, if at all? [n=124 Teens]
  23. 23. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Pay and Love of Technology Drive Interest in IT Careers 47% 47% 43% 43% 43% 35% 30% 23% 1% It would pay well I like working with technology, computers, mobile phones, etc. It would involve learning new things all the time as technology changes It would be fun, interesting work I like using technology to help people There are a lot of career paths and opportunities to grow I like solving logic problems It would be easy to get a job because there is always a need for IT workers Other reasons Reasons for IT Interest [n=300 Teens]
  24. 24. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org But Teens Say Parents and Teachers Often Discourage IT as a Bad Fit A teacher A parent/guardian or grandparent Another adult in my family A coach A school counselor or other school staff Somebody else 26% 28% 13% 10% 5% 1% 32% 27% 12% 8% 4% 3% 51% of teens say somebody has told them they are not good at math or science 49% of teens say somebody has told them an IT or STEM career is not a good fit for their personality [n=336] [n=336]
  25. 25. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Nine out of Ten Feel They Could Succeed in an IT Career 35% 32% 52% 57% 12% 11% Teens Parents I would be a natural With hard work, I could be good at these things I would probably struggle — They’re just not my thing My child would probably struggle — It’s just not their thing My child would be a natural With hard work, my child could be good at these things [n=336] [n=325]
  26. 26. Insight #5 Show, Don’t Tell 26
  27. 27. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org School Resources Are Least Favored as Ways to Learn about Careers 40% 38% 37% 36% 35% 34% 29% 28% 27% Going to work for a day or a week with mentors who do these jobs Online career exploration tools and apps Doing an internship during after-school hours Doing an internship over a school holiday or summer Going on site visits or tours where people do these jobs Regular classes at school Guest speakers in classes at school Extracurricular activities at school Activities through community programs outside of school How Teens Want to Learn about Jobs & Careers [n=336 Teens]
  28. 28. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org But Those Who Have Say It Encouraged Their Interest 62% say classes increased their interest in IT 62% say after school activities increased their interest in IT 8% 6% 11% 15% 18% 18% 41% 46% 21% 16% Classes Activities I became much more interested in IT I became somewhat more interested in IT It did not change how I felt about IT I became somewhat less interested in IT I became much less interested in IT [of n=131 teens] [of n=89 teens]
  29. 29. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Most Teens Express Interest in IT Skills Development Programs 38% 40% 42% 48% 46% 50% 56% 50% 46% 39% 33% 31% 94% 90% 88% 87% 79% 82% Interest in Learning about IT Programs If . . . Very Interested Somewhat Interested … you could get paid for it as a job while in high school … it would help you get into college … you could get high school course credit for it … it were related to other areas of career interest to you … it involved helping to solve a problem in your community … it involved helping to solve a problem in your school
  30. 30. Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, 2015 | CreatingITFutures.org Seven Things You Can Do 1. Appeal to their interest in the softs skills that are so relevant in tech careers 2. Educate their parents 3. Give them role models 4. Show them the breadth and depth of IT jobs and how many industries those jobs touch 5. Debunk the myth about math and science ability 6. Get them jobs – work-based learning 7. Don’t let them give up when it gets hard 30
  31. 31. Download the full white paper and all survey responses at CreatingITFutures.org

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