Cars and IT enrollments

At the final, for 2007, QUT Dean's Industry Working Breakfast last week I found myself discussing the disturbing trend in the decline in IT enrolments with Bobby Barnett, a secondary school IT teacher at John Paul College.

We talked about the fact that kids today1 are so comfortable with technology. They use it voraciously and for so many purposes, so why is it that we haven't seen an increase in IT enrolments. It seems that while they are more than happy to use technology, they aren't fired up with the idea of creating it.

As Bobby put it,

They want to drive the car, but aren't interested in building it.

I find it odd that there is a perception that, while using the technology is fun, designing and building it isn't it.

I love motorcycles, so to me, the passion with which they are designed is evident in the form and function of the bikes. You can't tell me that the designers of the latest Ducati 1098 or the MV Agusta F4 don't have the same passion for riding as they do for design.

Similarly, the developers of the iPhone or Facebook I'm sure were equally passionate about the design and development as they are in the utilisation of the final product.

The real challenge appears to me to be, how do we show potential IT students the challenges and opportunities in the development of technology? How do we fire up their desire to develop new technology and applications to the same level as their passion in consuming them?

1 – I suddenly feel old. 🙂

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