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Children lose interest in technology careers as they reach their late teenage years.
A study by firms Nominet and Parent Zone found 77% of children aged of 11 to 12 are more inspired by IT and would like a career in it, as opposed to only 63% at the ages of 17 to 18.
Development careers most interested children between the ages of 11 to 18, with almost a quarter wanting to be a games developer, 13% wanting a career in apps development and 12.6% aspiring to be a web developer.
Many believe that parents greatly influence the career choices of their children, with a most children asking their parents for career advice.
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of Parent Zone, claimed children and especially young women can be put off of careers in technology if their parents advise them to look elsewhere.
Shotbolt said: “It’s easy for parents to slip into the trap of being negative about technology, but it’s important they try to see it through their children’s eyes and remember that technology is likely to feature in their careers when they leave school.
"There are lots of resources available to parents when it comes to cultivating their children’s interests in IT, so they should know that help is available if they need it.”
The careers girls and boys want
Interest in careers in IT and technology varied by gender, with only a quarter of girls claiming they hoped to work in an IT department, as opposed to 43% of boys.
But 12.3% of girls said their dream career would be in games development – and 11.5% of girls claimed they wanted to be an entrepreneur.
The most coveted job for girls between the ages of 11 to 18 was in fashion design, with 13% of girls hoping this was their future career. The top career for boys in this age group was games development, with 36.5% of boys wanting to pursue the career.
Shotbolt said: “Young women are strongly influenced by their school years, what they learn and the role models they look up to. These influences can clearly make a difference to the choices they make later in life, so it’s paramount we do all we can now to ensure the success of our future IT workforce.”
Industry collaboration with education
In September 2014, the UK government made it mandatory for children between the ages of five and 16 to learn computing in schools.
But 45% of children said they wanted a better IT education to ensure they have the skills to enter a career in IT; and 35% of children claimed they were turning to advisors to help them understand how they can work towards an IT career.
Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, claimed collaboration between the IT industry and the education sector could help to ensure more young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a technology career, and claimed this is more important for girls.
Haworth said: “We’re putting the future of our digital economy at risk if we recruit from only half of the talent pool and fail to encourage more girls into IT. It appears that sustained collaboration between schools and the IT industry is what’s required to ignite girls’ interest and to develop their skills.”