These Behaviors and Characteristics May Signal That a Student is Well Suited for a Career in Technology
Bill Gates had no problem knowing that technology would be his “calling.” He got his hands on a computer for the first time as a high schooler, when the Mother’s Club bought an ASR terminal and also purchased a block of time from General Electric for the students to use. Bill and a couple of friends purchased more time from another corporation but were banned for a while, because they found a way to hack into the system to get more time free. That same company later hired Gates and his friends to fix bugs in its system. Gates was hooked. He knew immediately that his life’s work would involve technology.
For many students, the signs are not as clear. They might be considering several widely different careers. These may have been presented to them as the result of interest inventories that they have been given in high school. These tests will place them in categories of careers based upon interests and skill sets that they have found attractive. But these tests do not tell the whole story. If you are wondering if a tech career might be right for one of your student, here are 8 signs for which they may not have been tested.
1. They Love Games of Strategy
A lot of video games require strategy – developing a plan to out-maneuver your opponent, real or on the screen, in order to move through levels and become a “master.” Talent/skill in strategy goes beyond video games. Do you know a student who loves to play chess? How about the board game “Risk?” Even some card games require strategy – bridge and poker for example. Playing a team sport and making suggestions to the coach on plays. All of those plays involve strategizing, which is an important skills in technology development, implementation, and troubleshoting.
2. They Stick with Problem-Solving Activities Because They Enjoy the Process
When given puzzles of logic or problem-solving simulations in school, how do they go about solving them? Many people use the “guess and test” method or just depend on others to come up with solutions. Some students, on the other hand, take a logical approach, think things through, weigh pros and cons, and then finally work through a solution. If they enjoy math word problems and geometric proofs, not just to get the answer but to go through the process too, then they are problem-solvers.
3. They Tend to Enjoy and Win Arguments
Arguments are won by a systematic and logical lining up of persuasive points. Students how have been on debate panels in your classes or belonging to a debate club have an interest and probably a talent in systematic thinking. If, when assigned a persuasive or argumentative essay or paper, while other students panic, but they like this kind of assignment and go about doing the research and lining up arguments in a logical way … that's the kind of logical mind that can excel in the world of technology.
4. They Enjoy Other People and Like to Work with Them to Problem-Solve
It is a myth that techies are introverted and like to work in isolation. True, some do work by themselves. But as a career develops, techies will be working with others to develop programs, design and develop websites, and resolve technology issues for businesses/organizations. And if a technology pro works on his own as a consultant, there are still clients with whom to interact and sales presentations to make. If a student likes solving problems with others, they have a soft skill that is valuable, especially to employers. And if they can explain highly technical “stuff” in simpler terms to lay, people, all the better.
5. They Enjoy Making Things
As a young child, some students may have liked taking things apart to see how they worked. When introduced to technology, some begin to think about how things in the digital world might work better. They dabble in hardware and software and you like it. Perhaps they design and develop a website; maybe they repair computers for friends; others go to them when they have viruses or malware that needs to be wiped. This is a maker and a fixer that has the makings of a future technology professional.
6. They're are Motivated by Internal Rather than External Rewards
Sometimes tech work can be without lots of external rewards and praise. It is expected that you know your stuff and that you can create, develop and/or solve without a lot of “hand-holding” or commendation. Technology pros often have to be able to find their motivation from within, even to the point that it is more important than the paycheck. When a student can complete a task and pat themselves on the back, and their motivation comes from making or solving something, it will motivate them again the next day.
7. They Have a Musical Talent/Skill
The connection between music and math has been a subject of research for a number of years, and the correlation has been well-established. Students who are musically inclined, play an instrument, or have talent in rhythm, melody, and harmony, may also be math-inclined. Interestingly, up to 50% of techies employed do have musical talents.
8. They Just Love Technology!
While a student may not yet be a software developer or a programmer, future techies will likely have an abiding interest in tech, constantly teaching themselves more, reading and researching, and experimenting with design, development, game creation, etc. In their spare time, they are drawn to tech. The latest digital and technology trends excite them. They are, frankly, hooked.
These are all “signs” that a student may be well suited for a career in tech. These may not show up on any interest inventory or career exploration test or survey. These eight factors, though, are pretty telling. If they describe a student you know, you might want to show them this article and encourage them to consider the ever growing world of tech for an exciting career!