Let’s Democratize Tech Learning

Every once in a while, the debate about whether or not schools and colleges are teaching students the skills they need to face the rapidly evolving future of jobs ignites again. This debate includes the need to eliminate certain careers to prevent unemployment rates from increasing and avoid wasting a student’s time pursuing a career for which there are no job openings available. Judging by the available job offers today and where the market is headed, one could guess there are obsolete careers today, or at least careers that are less necessary than others.

I do not believe this is a matter of either obsolete careers or careers with demand in the job market. But I do believe the strategy must change providing degrees with the tools the 21st century requires. For example, a Literature major, from the moment the student picks this, he/she will be told that studying that is useless, as there are no job openings, and at the very least, he/she will end up teaching or helping customers at a fast food restaurant. But what if such student had enough tech insights, what if he/she could develop websites or apps, or maybe start an App to enforce reading habits among children and teens via smart books or an app to help them correct their syntax mistakes?

We would be moving from analogue to digital students. And I know some will think, but a literature major does not want to learn about code lines, Databases or CSS. And they may be right, but this is where we are wrong -again- as we have failed to bring tech education to the first grades. If we teach students, from very early on, to code, programming languages and all the technology involved in creating web solutions could be learned naturally and students will know about all the possibilities opened by this knowledge at a very early age.

Later in life, when in college, a young boy may understand the ways in which he can transform his major (law, engineering, or journalism) into a digital career. Tech knowledge should be as important as Math or Grammar, and it must be learned by all equally, because the world has moved forward and we cannot limit knowledge, as this could help transform the world not just for a few or only for 18 or 20-year-olds, but for everyone.

The democratization of this knowledge does not end at IT majors, each student will apply technology in a different way, and will always need Software Developers or System Engineers, who will create the platforms where the rest of the careers will be able to materialize their ideas. But everyone must have a strong, unlimiting base, with no reliance on third parties.

We are going through complex times, but this is a good time to start setting the foundations for a new educational model. Democratizing tech knowledge is no easy task, we are a few years behind, but this is a good time to break ground to build a better future for all our students.

By: Pete Pizarro

09/08/2020

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