Two technology employment-related topics caught our attention recently here at Strategic Systems: 1) the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that it anticipates one million US programming jobs will go unfilled by 2020; and 2) a report produced by consultants at Deloitte found that over the past 150 years, technology has created more jobs than it has eliminated.
Due to a combination of factors, including Baby Boomer retirement, the overall gender gap in technology employment, and college graduates not pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career paths, in just five years, the United States could be facing a significant programming talent shortage.
But wait – there’s hope.
Deloitte researchers concluded that technology creates jobs three ways: by employing people who work in the technology sector themselves; by increasing career opportunities in knowledge-intensive fields such as medicine, business, professional services, and education; and third, by lowering the costs of everyday goods and freeing income for more spending on things like personal grooming and entertainment, leading to service and hospitality industry job growth.
Aside from the fact that we always are on the lookout for outstanding programming talent, why are these ideas important to us? Because Strategic Systems & Technology is a learning-driven organization. This part of who we are is vitally necessary, given that the technology that we use in our solutions is constantly evolving. From the earliest rudimentary uses of RFID for identifying friend-or-foe aircraft in World War II to the types of sophisticated multi-sensor applications that we create for our customers today, RFID technologies represent a dynamic, thriving field of opportunities. It requires a similarly dynamic, curious and adaptable team of developers and engineers to keep up with and drive forward these possibilities.
We recently had the privilege of supporting the metro Atlanta branch of PowerMyLearning, a non-profit that recognizes that not only is technology transforming the way we inform and educate ourselves on a daily basis, but also that a child’s personal technology experience can have a significant impact on their educational – and eventual career options – outcome.
These kids love the fact that they get their very own computer, they absolutely love it.
According to David Stokes, senior manager of development at PowerMyLearning, “We are closing the opportunity and achievement gaps – particularly in STEM subjects – in students in Atlanta’s underserved school communities,” he explains. “But we’re also preparing the workforce of tomorrow, so that businesses in the next few years have a deep pool of very qualified candidates to choose from.”
PowerMyLearning provides technology – in the form of laptops and a free, Cloud-based platform of more than 4,000 digital learning resources – for students and their families. They also provide (and indeed, require) training for parents to become active partners in their students’ education, and work with teachers and school administrators to offer technology training and resources to support their goals for their students and schools, raising technology awareness and adoption at all levels of a child’s education. “We believe in empowering all of these stakeholders’ in our students’ education to help them learn on their own,” Stokes explains.
As a sponsor of PowerMyLearning’s Inspire Gala on August 27, we were on hand to help celebrate the group’s work over the 2014–2015 school year. Working with three schools in the Atlanta public school system and a number of community centers, PowerMyLearning last year provided laptops to 770 students, helped engage 875 parents in their children’s active learning experiences, and provided training and curriculum resources to teachers and volunteers at schools and community centers throughout the area. To date, the group has helped more than 7,000 families across metro Atlanta.
“These kids love the fact that they get their very own computer, they absolutely love it,” Stokes shares. “Even if there is already one in the house – this is their own, personal device, and that really means a lot to them. They love the programs and the games, especially ones like World of Goo. It’s a physics game and the students – they’re having fun but they’re also really learning at the same time.”
That sounds good to us.
Want to get involved? PowerMyLearning has locations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area.