A recent tech article found that of 576 IT professionals surveyed, the majority believed that new entrants are deterred from entering the IT industry by the cliché of the nerdy tech worker. Compounding the image problem is a perception that IT is not a fun career, according to more than one third of those surveyed.
While many educators and parents encourage their children at a young age the importance of tech and innovation, the problem is that young people do not associate the technology they enjoy using every day, with IT. For example, they don’t understand the iPod, or the iPhone, that they brag to their friends about owning, can be directly attributed to the nerdy tech worker who put it together.
However, if we are able to link the IT profession with technology that young people enjoy – like social media, mobile and gaming- it could help destroy the geek stereotype.
So, should it matter? If young people are too concerned about labels, especially when it comes to their career, perhaps they don’t belong in the IT industry. They should continue pursuing their dream of becoming a professional baseball player. Leave it to the nerdy engineer to continue to do what he does best, without worrying what others are saying.
On the other hand, perhaps the IT industry could recruit from a deeper talent pool if the nerd-glasses, sweater-vest wearing geek label didn’t exist. Perhaps the United States would be the leader in technology if our kids in elementary school viewed working with technology as cool.
Perhaps one blog commenter summed it up best, when he said: “It’s not about nerd stereotypes. It’s about the fact, that a globally competitive IT salary can’t clear a student loan.”