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Resources for Students Considering Careers in Tech
Illinois Ag Connection - 01/11/2018

With new research indicating more teenagers are considering careers in information technology (IT), leading tech industry association CompTIA, Downers Grove, Ill., is spotlighting career resources available through its NextUp initiative and other sources.

Seven in 10 teenagers say they are open to the possibility of a career in the tech arena, according to the new CompTIA research report "Youth Opinions of Careers in Information Technology." That's up from 62 percent in a 2015 CompTIA survey.

But the survey also identifies shortcomings in providing students with comprehensive information to help them make career choice decisions. For example, just 33 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls know someone who works for a tech company or has a job in technology. (For more from the report, please see "Sparked by Girls, Teens Interest in Tech Careers is on the Rise, New CompTIA Research Reveals.")

"We have the ability to inspire the tech workforce of the future, but we must get to the students," said Charles Eaton, CompTIA's executive vice president for social innovation, CEO of Creating IT Futures and author of "How to Launch Your Teen's Career in Technology: A Parent's Guide To The T In STEM Education."

"NextUp was created to introduce teens to the many possibilities of technology careers. Through curricula, projects, partnerships and mentorship, we aim to tap into their passion for technology, spark their curiosity and build a generation of technologists for tomorrow," added Eaton. "Our CompTIA volunteers mentor students in hands-on STEM projects, while sharing why they love their careers."

NextUp works with partner programs that support and enhance existing youth engagement initiatives through curricula, clubs and camps, and inspire and engage teens through mentorship. These partners include:

- FUSE, a Northwestern University program that's expanding and enriching STEAM (STEM plus Arts & Design) learning, with particular attention to IT concepts and skills for students in middle and high school.

- The New York Academy of Sciences, where CompTIA's network of IT professionals mentors students attending the academy's afterschool and summer programs.

- TechGirlz, which offers fun and educational hands-on workshops, called TechShopz, and an annual Entrepreneur Summer Camp, all aimed at getting middle-school age girls interested in different kinds of technology.

- The Technology Student Association (TSA), made up of 250,000 students in 38 states who go head-to-head each spring in a number of STEM team-based competitions.

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