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Seven in 10 teenagers polled for CompTIA’s latest study, “Youth Opinions of Careers in Information Technology,” said they are open to the possibility of a career in the tech arena. Those results show a 62 percent increase over our 2015 survey.

These numbers are welcome news for our nation, as we face a looming tech talent crisis that foreshadows negative consequences for workers, employers, and our entire economy. Some analysts estimate at least half a million open IT positions go unfilled in the U.S. during any given calendar quarter. Meanwhile, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that through 2024, more than 1.2 million IT jobs will need to be filled due to business growth and employee retirements.

Greater interest in tech jobs among young people between the ages of 13 and 17 – the group we studied for our report – is a promising sign. This emerging cohort already makes up a quarter of the US population and will account for more than 20 percent of the workforce in less than five years.

However, seven myths discourage these tweens, teens, and their parents from exploring pathways to technology careers.

As an executive committed to attracting new generations of workers into the technology industry, I have made it my duty to blast fallacies about tech careers. To date, I have slammed the following myths:

  1. “Technology is all about coding, math, and science.”
  2. “Working in technology requires a four-year college degree.”
  3. “If it’s not at Facebook or Google, it’s not a technology job.”

In this installment, we’ll explode another stubborn misperception:

Myth No. 4: A Tech Career Means Being Stuck at a Desk.

For an example of how a technologist steps from behind a desk and into the larger world, consider the career of Chicago-based artist, agent, writer, and independent curator Jenny Lam. Lam uses a digital platform as a basis for her business mission: Shining a spotlight on artists and their work (including her own) through unfiltered interviews. Her Artists on the Lam blog fosters art-based discussions and gives a behind-the-scenes view of the process of curating and installing works of art. Lam posts about the artists she represents, the exhibitions she curates, and her adventures discovering art and artists around the globe.

Lam’s blog covers art-related topics at local, national, and international levels. She brings the world to her local readers, while making her surroundings more accessible to a global audience. Lam is a true technologist, using social media tools to position herself and her clients in the local press while dipping into other sites as a guest blogger. She is also a featured Instagram photographer, which provides her with a compelling business reason to unchain herself from a desk and explore the world – in a figurative and literal sense.

An excellent example of the way Lam integrates her personal and professional passions as a technologist is her annual trip to Hong Kong that she shares on her blog and Instagram.

Technology connects us globally. The industry is growing all over the world, reaching into diverse, exciting businesses – and many places you may not expect. What is happening with technology today stretches far beyond what can be displayed on a desktop monitor. No wonder teens are increasingly excited about working as technologists.

In my next post, we’ll burst the “Money is the main benefit of a tech job” bubble.

Charles Eaton is executive vice president of social innovation for CompTIA and CEO of Creating IT Futures.



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