6 Reasons Technology Skills Are Essential for Kids in School Today
The career landscape has changed vastly from the days when workers in some jobs didn’t need tech skills and could get by with the specialized skills associated with their trades or industries. The shift means all kids will need tech skills to some degree to get into college and excel in their chosen careers.
1. Multiple Studies Show Most Jobs Require Technology Skills
No matter which careers kids choose, those roles will inevitably require some tech skills, and ideally some advanced ones. A 2017 report from Brookings showed an increase in the number of jobs requiring high and medium tech capabilities and a decrease in those where people only need low-level tech skills.
Moreover, a different investigation from the European Commission came to similar conclusions. It emphasized the essential nature of digital skills for workers and confirmed that 38 percent of workplaces said when employees lacked digital skills, that problem negatively impacted organizations’ performance.
2. Tech Skills Encourage Kids to Think About What’s Possible
It’s clear kids need tech skills to succeed in their future jobs, but the benefits they gain from tech know-how are evident long before they enter the workforce. Tech skills help them learn things like problem-solving, following instructions, and communicating. And, kids can use tech as a career education springboard that highlights the kinds of roles available to pursue.
An educator can play a defining role in career development by focusing on career education activities such as bringing in people from the workforce to talk to kids and answer their questions or planning field trips to local businesses where students could work someday. When teachers connect learning to future earning opportunities, kids find their classes especially relevant and feel excited about what’s ahead.
3. Teaching Technology Bridges the Gender Gap
It’s well known there are far fewer women working in tech careers than men, and research suggests early education could help close the gap. More specifically, if females get early exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) or science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) through specialized classes or clubs, they could experience a world of future career opportunities they might not know about otherwise.
However, a report from Microsoft shows STEM interest decreases as girls get older. It highlights the need to connect those subjects to real-world needs and mentions that parental involvement and encouragement are crucial too. Jeff Bezos and Marissa Mayer are among those who cite tech education as an influence. Keeping kids interested in tech isn’t always straightforward, but educators and parents can help stoke the inspiration.
4. Having a Tech Hobby Increases the Likelihood of Getting into College
The people who make decisions about college admissions like applicants to be well-rounded. Having good grades is a start, but extracurricular activities speak volumes too. The Princeton Review recommends mentioning hobbies to help college applications stand out. If a teen gets involved in a tech hobby, such as a coding club, that kind of participation could lead to a future tech career.
In any case, admissions professionals look for people likely to positively contribute to their campus communities. When students have tech hobbies that allow them to interact with others, they learn skills books alone don’t teach.
5. An Interest in Tech Sparks an Inquisitive Mindset
Whether kids learn about tech by assembling miniature robots or learning how to do something new on a computer, an interest in tech urges children to question things and develop a passion for exploring. Many of the world’s greatest inventors came up with their ideas by noticing issues and wondering how they could address them.
Instead of merely accepting the way things are, a child who develops a tech background will likely start to think about how tech could bring about improvements, and maybe even how they could be responsible for the changes.
6. Technology Skills Nurture Determination
Indeed, other skills besides those related to tech teach kids how and why it’s worthwhile to keep their sights set on goals. But, learning about technology or using technology as a method for learning could especially reinforce why giving up early is not ideal.
If a child learns a new programming language or figures out the basics of a graphic design program, they’re doing things that necessitate working hard and seeing gradual progress towards a milestone. Also, YouTube is an excellent platform for learning how to do new things—tech-related or not.
A study from Google revealed the majority of people depend on YouTube to satisfy curiosity, learn something new, or fix things. By watching YouTube with parental supervision, children can dive into content that expands their knowledge and guides them through step-by-step processes that prove how they’re capable of things they might not have imagined before.
Tech Skills Prepare Kids for the Future
This brief overview shows tech skills get kids ready for life in various ways and helps them prepare for a successful future. Whether you are a parent, educator, or in another role that involves influencing kids, don’t overlook tech skills and how they can help young people thrive.
Being prepared for the future is essential for all kids, and that includes career exploration in addition to building technology skills. Be sure your child’s school teaches necessary tech skills and offers career exploration courses. Visit K12.com and Destinations Career Academies to learn more.
Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist with an interest in IoT, IT productivity, and continued learning. She's a senior writer for MakeUseOf and a contributing writer for Innovate My School, Teachers with Apps, and others. To see more of her work, visit ProductivityBytes.com.