American Students Don't Want To Go Into Tech Because Of Their Colleges

Photo: AP

Technology is one of the few sectors that isn’t suffering from unemployment, yet there aren’t enough talents to fill positions, and it’s because colleges are doing a bad job of selling the industry.Michelle Furyaka, executive vice president at NPD Global, an IT staffing firm that provides talent mainly for the financial sector, says universities need to do more to educate their students about the kind of opportunities that exist and what a career in tech really entails. 

She says schools should start by bringing in successful companies like Facebook and Google, as well as recruiting firms who can tell students what jobs are available and what a typical day would be like.

Instead, most computer science programs place a heavy focus on mathematical applications and so students assume they’ll be crunching code all day. In other words, they’re just not inspired. 

“There’s so much in technology aside from call centres and helping someone set up their computer. Not enough people know this. A lot of my clients say it is very unfortunate that not a lot of young people are going into [computer science].”

Furyaka says there’s also a misconception that most IT jobs are being outsourced to countries like India, but the jobs that go abroad are mostly low-paying, low-skill roles like call centre services. 

“Americans don’t want to do those jobs. They’re not patient and they really can’t walk a customer through let’s say helping them set up their computer,” says Furyaka. 

Most of the candidates her firm places, for instance, are in financial firms like Morgan Stanley, where they help develop proprietary software for the company and can earn an average of $100-130,000 a year.  

Despite the reluctance to enter the field, Furyaka says a background in computer science could benefit everyone, since it’s so applicable to a variety of interests. She says even if you major in something like art history, you should at least get a minor in computer science so you have something to fall back on. You could help build an online gallery, for example.

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