Nearly half of teens say they would consider a career in tech, but perceived barriers and lack of career information persist
Sydney – New research published by CompTIA, the leading trade association for the global technology industry, finds that teenagers in Australia believe that technology is generally moving in a positive direction and is a force for good that will play an even greater role in their lives as they grow older.
The CompTIA report “International Youth Perspectives of Technology and Careers” reveals that 45 per cent of the Australian teenagers surveyed would consider a career in technology, compared to 50 per cent globally. Australian teens are generally positive about what a job in tech entails; solving problems, doing work that’s interesting and fun and earning a good salary.
But the survey also finds that barriers are still in place that may be keeping even more young people from looking at the technology field as a profession. More than 1,500 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 from 11 different countries (1) participated in the online survey.
“It’s encouraging to see that a sizeable percentage of young people see tech as a viable career option,” said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO, CompTIA. “But it’s also quite apparent that we still have work to do to correct misperceptions about tech occupations and to provide career instruction and resources that reflect the reality of the 21st Century tech workforce.”
For example, the data shows that 35 per cent of Australian teenagers are of the opinion that they lack the preparation and exposure to technology in high school or college that would prepare them for a career. A like percentage believe there are limited job opportunities in technology in their local area. Slightly more than one-quarter of teens cite the lack of affordable schooling and training options; and feel the technology field is too competitive and difficult to enter.
The report also confirms that gender bias is still present when it comes to career advice. Boys in Australia received notably higher levels of encouragement from parents, teachers, peers and other to consider a career in tech than girls did (55 per cent vs. 33 per cent).
When teens were asked about specific career opportunities in tech, the most popular choices were designing video games, working in emerging technologies, such as robotics, running a tech business and working in cybersecurity.
“These are all great career choices, but there are many more job roles in tech that provide the opportunity to earn a good salary, take on new and greater responsibilities and, most importantly, have a positive impact on society,” Thibodeaux said. “We need to expand our outreach to get that message out to the next generations of workers.”
To aid in the education effort, CompTIA has created The Future of Tech, a free and growing library of resources designed for anyone interested in learning about new and what’s next in technology.
CompTIA’s Australia New Zealand (ANZ) Channel Community also recently launched a new initiative to train and certify 3,000 students in the fundamentals of technology. Free courseware materials and certification exam vouchers will be made available to 3,000 students age 25 and under in Australia and New Zealand. More information on the program is available at https://www.land.certification.comptia.org/ITFANZ.
Interacting with technology
Among Australian teenagers, 54 per cent generally believe that technology in a positive direction compared to 13 per cent who feel that tech is heading in a negative direction and 33 per cent who are unsure. The corresponding global figures are 54 per cent positive, 11 per cent negative and 35 per cent unsure.
Factors contributing to the positive feelings include the expectations that innovation and technology breakthroughs could drastically improve lives; offer more choices to meet the needs of just about everyone; produce apps and devices that are faster, better and more feature rich; and narrow the “digital divide” by providing access to more information and services to more people.
A majority of young people (69 per cent) report seeing or hearing something about automating technologies and the future of work. They also expressed a degree of concern over the uncertainty of automation.
“Teens astutely anticipate the need for more training and hands-on experience in various technology disciplines to ensure that they are well positioned for the workplace of tomorrow,” said Anna Matthai, senior manager, research and market intelligence, CompTIA.
To access a free copy of the full report “International Youth Perspectives of Technology and Careers” visit https://comptiacdn.azureedge.net/webcontent/docs/default-source/research-reports/comptia-international-youth-technology-and-career-perceptions.pdf?sfvrsn=f0dfb41e_2.
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.
(1) Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States.