Children and teens nowadays spend more time using technology than ever before. There is not much time when they are not connected to the internet, be it via mobile phones, net books, or tablets. Does this mean that the next generation will overrun the current occupants?
The Future is the ChildrenNot so. The simple fact is that the adaptability of children is self-evident, and the ability to assimilate new experiences, and absorb new information is a matter of record. However, children’s learning does depend upon guidance and learning IT skills are not always intuitive.
There is a programme running in South Africa dedicated to improving pre-school age children’s technical and scientific ability and acumen to make them more ready to fill a perceived skills gap in their society. This is not unique. Many countries in the world are doing their utmost to treat technical inability as illiteracy. But it does not mean that the established generation is redundant?
The Future is InclusiveThe secret to being a valuable asset to any company is being adaptable, and always learning. By looking at a salary survey in the sector for the past year it is evident that for different IT job roles, the salary remains more or less static, until a level of seniority is achieved. This means that the ability of younger members of society is not really any more threat than any other time in history.
Whilst it may be true that youth unemployment is high and technology is more prevalent in the everyday world, it does not mean anyone need be left behind. Training, searching out new solutions and promoting new systems requires not just intelligence, but experience.
The Future is NowIn broad terms, staying ahead of the curve is key. We are not talking about the old cliché of kids being more able to set up VCRs faster than parents. This is the big time. Whilst the familiarity with technology is evident, young persons entering the job market lack experience.
There is a valid need for guidance and mentoring, as shown in the South African TekkiTots programme. Knowledge is always essential but without the ability and experience to know how to apply it and form your own conclusions, it becomes trivial.