Meet Ilvin Parker, a 35 year old IT (Information Technology) professional, and also the CEO of Techsterz. It’s a company that offers IT support to homes and businesses across the US. When he’s not in the field, you can find him in the classroom, where he says his goal is to teach kids about IT right NOW, so that later in age, computers won’t replace them.
I had the privilege of shooting one of his TechShop for Kids Workshops last week. Kids attended from all walks of life and their ages ranged from 9 to 16. Two things I noticed were 1) how knowledgeable Mr. Parker was about the subject matter and 2) how engaged the kids were and how well they could keep up with the lingo. Fascinated by this, I asked him how could this be? Here was his response:
“This generation is growing up with technology from the crib to the iPad. In addition to, being taught the shortcut for everything and missing out on things hidden.”
This is so intriguing because, we use all these gadgets on a daily basis, but never think twice about how they actually function and what they are doing with the information we feed to it. Then, I asked how does he bridge that gap in his workshops? And this was his response:
“It was very humbling because the kids were interested and aware of technology but did not quite know all about or how to identify it. These kids go to websites and enter their email address; they just didn’t know this is called a database that’s housing their information vs just “signing in”. I used to be a teacher, so it’s easy for me to create that understanding.”
Looking back at the photos, it’s funny to see so many young people taking an interest in coding and stem robotics and all this techy stuff because at some point our generation will be needing help from them, just as our grandparents need us now when they're trying to operate that smart phone that they just bought…..AND don’t know how to turn on……. AND have no clue what an app is, LOL.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these young folks and what sort of innovative devices and software they bring to the world. Understanding how these devices work as opposed to just knowing how to operate them is the key. Workshops like this are a great place for young aspiring geeks to start exploring. It could mean, for them, the difference between a job vs a career vs entrepreneurship. For parents, in return, could be the difference between perfumes for Christmas vs that new BMW you had your eye on. After all, the average salary of an IT professional is about $80,000 per year. Software developers are around the $90,000 range. That’s not bad for simply understanding and problem solving the very devices you have glued to your hands on a daily basis anyway.
“It’s like being the lab rat versus being the scientist. When Angry Birds was the trend, every phone had that [swipe] motion, but because I know what appeals to you and captures your attention….. (shrugs)” said Parker. “Technology will be in every industry and will grow with or without these kids, so they need to have basic computer skills and know how to identify technology in its simplest form.”
On that note, I think the workshops are very informative and on top of that, they are FREE! They will do a robotics project where they learn to code the movement of a robot. The robot parade at the end is always the highlight of the evening! If you want to register your kids for the upcoming March 2016 workshop in NOLA, do it here, but what do you think? In my generation, it was ideal to pursue becoming a doctor or lawyer, could this be the new ideal profession? Should our kids be getting a head start in unlocking their inner geek?