Urban minority teens name computer-related jobs as 3 of their top 10 desired careers.
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., -- In its Survey of Teen Views on Tech Careers, IT Futures Labs, a signature initiative of the Creating IT Futures Foundation, researched how low- to middle-income urban African American and Hispanic teens, as well as parents, regard information technology (IT) jobs, college and future careers.
Three types of jobs in information technology – software programmer, computer technician and computer design engineer – ranked in the top ten of teens' career interests from among 60 career categories, from business and law to music and sports. The teens surveyed also believed that with hard work and/or innate talent, they could be successful in IT careers. This new research will help parents and educators understand how to inform and motivate youth to choose a path toward well-paying tech careers.
The surveyed teens were all B and C students in good standing in their junior or senior year of high school. The teens overwhelmingly indicated college was a high priority and that they wanted to feel connected to a career—not just punch a clock. "Having a job I love" was ranked number one by teens in terms of goals to accomplish over the next decade.
Plus, altruistic aspirations such as contributing money or housing to parents or "helping other people" tended to rank just as high as or even higher with the teens than, "having a lot of money," "owning my own home," or "moving into a better neighborhood." Motivational career messaging targeted at urban minority teens may miss this altruism angle.
IT Career myths
In terms of advice on college and careers, teens reportedly rely on parents 2-to-1 over any other source, according to the survey. But myths about the necessity of four-year degrees and needing to be a whiz in math and science still persist in the minds of teens and parents alike.
Based on the survey results, Creating IT Futures recommends that educators and school counselors:
• Rethink their marketing of tech careers to teens.
• Develop and promote hands-on tech programs.
• Help parents provide career guidance.
• Clarify what IT means so that teens understand the diverse options available in technology. (SOURCE: Creating IT Futures Foundation)
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