Imagine you're a 2000s kid, who innocently wants to discuss his new video game or a new idea on how to automate redundant tasks? What will happen is a no-brainer. You will get picked on and it will just be like a classic Hollywood teen movie scene. Such people were lovingly called ‘Geeks'. The Urban Dictionary defines Geek as someone who gets paid for doing work considered bizarre by mainstream society. Those days, working with technology was surely confused with something bizarre. Being a technology fanatic was the epitome of all geekiness. You couldn't bring up latest tech fads without someone rolling their eyes out. "You code? You must be such a geek!" was the sentence most high-schoolers (some adults, perhaps!) must've heard during their life if they lived in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Now, when I say ‘geek', does the image of a socially awkward guy with big, horn-rimmed glasses, layered check shirt and corduroy khaki trousers comes to your mind? If yes, then you've been living under a rock, my friend. It's 2016 and the scene has officially altered by 360 degrees. Tech people are now indistinguishable from regular ones on the basis of their clothes. They wear everything from Blazers to short dresses to miniskirts! (Since it is no more a male dominant field.)
Now people have realised the relevance of tech and incredible advancement technology has brought about in our lives. With this realisation comes the desire to be a part of the tech revolution. Naturally, more and more people are inclined towards working in IT and joining tech firms.
Be it medical innovations (like electronic aspirin, valve jobs of heart) or improving education with the introduction of the internet (which by the way provides enough knowledge to fill our 2.5 petabytes of human memory capacity!). Millions of databases, websites, web pages, online journals, scholars' papers, everything is aimed at improving our living standard. What made it possible to access free knowledge from anywhere, anytime? The answer is just one word: Technology. Robotics, Automation and Computerization are taking the world by storm.
Computer Science is for everyone. It is no longer about computers but about medicine, energy, space, research, entertainment and even contact lenses which have a computer in them. It is about problem solving, logic and creativity. Today, it has become foundational for any job you want today and in near future.
The growing interest of schoolers and adults in computers is alike. Public Education for CS is evolving a change with a speed never seen before. It is safe to say that CS is the fastest growing course in the history of public education. According to a press release by Stanford University in 2015, enrollments in the said course have increased by 25%. Reasons for opting for computer science are both quantitative and qualitative. Job opportunities in IT have increased to about 3.9 million in 2012 and are expected to rise to 4.8 million by 2024. 9 in 10 parents want their children to study CS (or more specifically to be a software engineer.) The tech industry has literally boomed in the past decade. This has generated approximately 30% more jobs since 2004 and percentage will project to about 12% more through 2020, which is faster than average for any occupation. CS salaries are very high which is attributable to the fact that tech is replacing entire industries. Also, it is easier to evaluate CS-style work crediting to its objective nature. It's pretty obvious that everyone is joining the tech world and wants to earn it big time. CS majors had the highest average salary of $66,161. Besides this, CS students are likely to find more jobs after college (31%) as compared to finance (29%) and arts (22%).
But that's not all. An increasing influence towards technology is also due to the genuine interest of young adult in it.
There are students, who are in it for long term career and not just for quick bucks. There is now a cool-factor associated with being a tech person. The jargon and abbreviations like XML, SQL, etc., no more send people running for their lives uphill. Rather, if now you speak tech, you are showing a sign of high intellect. Besides, the jobs allow you to create something that may change the world for good. Plus you mostly to get to work at your own will.
The interest in technology has gone the mileage due to more and more people promoting the technology. Over the past few years, there has been a battle cry to learn to code. There are TED talks given on it, hundreds of online courses, conferences, study materials, new books, seminars and everything that makes the general public aware and motivated to join tech firms.
Hour of Code is a global movement which aims to reach 10 million students across the world, to help them learn to code. One hour tutorials are available in 45 languages to teach people from ages 4-104. It is designed to demystify code, to show that anyone can learn to code.
Not only tech giants but leaders and celebrities are also espousing coding. Many of these supporters are beginners themselves, while some have a technical background. Chris Bosh, an NBA champion has always been tech-savvy from a young age and even coded in college. Will.i.am, frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, is now an upholder of design, technology, programming and execution of new ideas. In fact, he is taking coding classes. A surprising name (to some judgmental people!) in this list is Karlie Kloss. This American model and former Victoria's Secret Angel is extremely passionate about coding which drove her to even create a scholarship for young girls, wanting to learn code. Ashton Kutcher has come way beyond his route to fame, ‘That 70s Show'. He is now a technology investor and the brand ambassador of Hour to Code. Some other popular names promoting tech usage are Spanish singer-songwriter, Enrique Iglesias; former American President, Bill Clinton; Senator of Florida, Marco Rubio; Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Mehmet Oz and President of Stanford University, John Hennessy.
Since there is so much hype around IT sector, its job opportunities in diverse fields and the bucks it gives you, it is strikingly discernable that many people wish to be here and are joining it in large numbers. Tech is reaching to a wider population and is thus breaking stereotypes circling the typical computer geeks. Everyone wants to learn. Everyone wants to cipher and decipher. The age of digital has impacted people and now every individual is smarter than its previous generation's counterpart. The diverse professions include application analyst, database administrator, software design and the obvious ones like a programmer, software engineer, data entry clerk, etc.
Even if we keep career-related aspects of tech in the rear mirror, then also it is crystal clear that tech is for everyone. Internet, the biggest revolution of all time has made it possible for everyone to benefit from tech. There are 12 years old app developers now (read Thomas Suarez) and they are not like the child prodigies you expect. They are very much like the regular children but with specific interests. Saying your child is learning ballet or swimming is the same as saying he/she is learning to code. It is a skill of 21st century and it can be said that it is widely accepted now. Why keep something restricted to a special group of people when it is in interest and of interest to everyone?
Tech is something which is as much integral to future kids as it is to present adults. A diverse group of people ranging from actors (Ashton Kutcher), models (Karlie Kloss), singers (Will.i.am), physicists and scientists (Stephen Hawking), sportspersons (Chris Bosh) and leaders (Michael Bloomberg,Mayor,NYC) – all can code and are pretty tech-savvy. Even president Obama's New Year resolution is to code and he even did write one! No longer is technology limited to geeks. Gone are the days, when computers were a thing of the ‘intellectual ones' only. Technology is for everyone. Coding is for everyone. It is safe to conclude that Tech is no more a geek's monopoly. So, keep coding people and don't let anyone tell you differently!