Middle School Girls Can Do More Than Code

TechGirlz founder, Tracey Welson-Rossman, is a contributor to Huffington Post. In this article she discusses recent studies about the technology workforce and the need to broaden the scope of technology and provide fun educational opportunities to engage kids with technology.

The workforce of tomorrow will not be one dominated by coders, but rather a tech-enabled workforce that understands how to successfully integrate technology into disciplines ranging from healthcare to marketing to farming. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor forecasts that 80% of all jobs will be technology-enabled by 2018. Another recent study by CompTIA tackles this problem more broadly and helps chart a course to larger impact, sooner. The urgency driving this study was data showing that 9 in 10 HR professionals are already challenged to fill IT job openings at their organizations, and that US employers are expected to create 600,000 new core IT jobs by 2024. These are not just coding jobs, a fact reinforced in a recent LinkedIn study of open job posts that identified the top ten in-demand skills for U.S. employers in 2017. Spoiler: all of them involved technology, but few were coding-only.

So if we’re not broadening our funnel, we are facing a dire IT hiring landscape. By focusing on coding as a one-size-fits-all solution, we are perpetuating the core problem of diversity by limiting the types and number of role models and areas of interest that our middle schools can draw upon.
The voices from our girls themselves supports the need to aim higher and wider. In working with middle school girls since 2009, we have continually asked for their input on technology related instruction, topics and careers.

Overwhelmingly, they feel that technology is a way to solve the issues in their own lives, and that they hunger to learn more about how it applies to their core interests. Girls then are asking to be more than coders – they want be technologists.


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