How to Prepare Teens for a Career in IT
Vocational education is resurfacing.
Slowly but surely, career education is once again gaining importance in the world. While in the past high schools focused on making their students ready for college, career and tech education programs are becoming more popular since they provide students with a mix of academics, technical and employable skills, that make for a smoother transition into the job market.
Particularly when it comes to Information Technology (IT), these types of educational programs can help prepare teens for a career in this vast industry, teaching them valuable skills that will be helpful when it’s time to look for a job. They can also be useful in narrowing down the specific path they want to focus on.
As a teacher, when you see a student with a high level of digital literacy, you want to help them reach their potential. So, how can you prepare your students for a career in IT?
Inform them about their choices.
As mentioned above, IT is a pretty big industry, with many career options available in it. One way you can help your students is by assisting them while they navigate through the seemingly endless options to hone in on their preferred choices. Keeping in mind their passions, preferences and where their skillset lies, together you can figure out where in the IT world they would fit best. Whether it’s writing code, developing new software, or maybe they’d like to be a support specialist. Once this is established, you can move on to the next step.
Research places where they can get educated and certified.
With their help, look into different schools and institutions that are the best fit for your students depending on what they wish to do. Some IT jobs will require them to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, while for others a technical certification is enough to get hired, it really depends on the position they’re after and the company they’re applying to work in.
Help them gain experience.
While having an education and the corresponding certifications are important, nothing quite trumps experience in most companies’ eyes. Help your students look for an internship or apprenticeship at an IT company, so that they can start learning on the job.
This will not only help them learn by doing and give them some hands-on experience. It will also prove a useful way for them to confirm if their chosen profession is the right one, or if they should start looking elsewhere. An internship or apprenticeship is also great thing to have to beef up their resume and gives your students the opportunity to network with people in the industry.
Though educators would all like to see their students succeed in their chosen careers, there’s only so much they can do to see them through it. Thanks to vocational education’s recent comeback, students now have more tools at their disposal. In the end, however, the best way to help them prepare for a career in any field, is to involve their parents, listen to what they want, present them with their options and, overall, be supportive of their choices.
David Gutierrez is a web designer and education enthusiast. In 2012, he founded a creative design agency, which supported a campaign for the implementation of IT in Middle School in New Jersey in 2014-2016.
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