Celebrity aspirations are being superceded by the desire to follow in the footsteps of technology pioneers such as Steve Jobs, as more children dream of a career in IT rather than entertainment.
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According to a study by online travel company Hotels.com, two in five children said they want to work in technology and almost 10% said they want to "invent gadgets" when they grow up.
Some 14.3% of children believe a career in technology means working in "cool" offices, the study found.
Questioning 2,000 British adults and children, the research found that many youngsters between the ages of eight and 15 want to follow in the footsteps of successful businessmen Steve Jobs (16.8%) and Richard Branson (17.5%).
In contrast, only 9.6% chose Simon Cowell and just 4.3% named US president Barack Obama as role models.
In terms of career choice, "gadget inventor" came ahead of more traditional professions, such as doctor (7.8%) and pilot (4.5%).
According to the survey, IT has become one of the top four favourite subjects for students, with 34.9% wanting to continue with IT and/or science at university.
Stuart Silberg, vice-president of technology at Hotels.com, said: “In recent years, developments in the tech world such as social networking, 3D TVs, or the latest smartphone have become cool and desirable by the mainstream, hitting headlines and sparking discussions in the playground or by the water cooler.
“Gadgets have inspired future generations, who want to design the next cool phone or website. A career in technology can open many doors – not only can you work on a diverse range of projects, but it also offers an opportunity to work on a global scale and have a real affect on society. That’s why many companies are investing in mobile technologies and technologists around the world.”
Adults envy tech geek careers
The responses of children were mirrored by the adults surveyed, with 23.7% admitting to being more envious of Steve Jobs’s career than Beyoncé’s. Almost a third of adults (30%) believe a person has to be "smart" to work in the tech industry.
Adults were also questioned regarding careers they find attractive when looking for a partner. Computer programmers were cited as being more attractive than pilots or actors, as it is considered a more “stable career” by 31.4% of the adult respondents.
Having a stable career and intellect (30.5%) were voted as being the most important factors in a long-term relationship.
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