I was sitting in a Women in Technology luncheon recently when one of the other attendees talked a bit about her career. She said it had been filled with long hours, late night calls, stress, and plenty of other negative events. Although it had been a good career for this lady, challenging, stimulating, and she was well compensated, her daughter wasn't interested in pursing a career in this field. I'm not sure if that's because of the demands she had faced in this business, but I was interested in a (rhetorical) question from one of the panelists.
"How do we get people to enter IT in the future?"
As much as I do want to encourage more diversity in technology workers, I also just want more people working in technology. We have a shortage of talented workers for many jobs. I think there are lots of opportunities, better than average pay, and a career that you can enjoy for your entire life. It's a career that could easily be continued into your 70s and 80s if you chose to do so. I hope you don't have to work that long if you don't want to, but it's nice to have the choice.
With that in mind, how do we continue to excite and interest people in technology? I'm not looking to convince anyone to enter this industry if they don't want to, but I'd like to see more people experimenting with SQL Server, .NET, and other technologies as a career. I really just want more people to consider working in technology. If they choose not to, that's fine, but at least give it a try.
I'm always surprised at how many people I've met that studied other subjects in school, and even worked in other industries before discovering that they'd rather work full time with computers. I'd like to see those people get into the computer business earlier in their lives if that's a field they enjoy.
Of course, there's a down side to having more workers in technology. Competition will increase, and those of you already working with computers will need to continue increasing your own skills if you want the best jobs.