Starting Early in STEM
Some years back, there used to be a significant interval between the introduction of new technologies, but these days, it’s almost negligible. Technology is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and it’s affecting almost every other industry you can think of (in a positive way). The world is changing, and it is changing fast. STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) occupations now play a key role in the sustained growth and stability of a nation’s economy. Science is everywhere in the world around us, technology is expanding into every aspect of our lives, mathematics is in almost every activity we do in our lives and engineering makes up our present and future.
There was a time when one had to be studying in a technology-related field before actually having anything to do with technology, but the times have changed. Technology now powers almost everything around us, and its more pronounced in our various occupations. The knowledge of how such technology works is almost as important as the knowledge in the said occupation. Technology knows no bound and this makes it one of the most lucrative fields right now. Anyone from anywhere in the world with a good idea that can solve people’s problems can sit at the table with leaders.
According to research conducted by 2Roads, Software development is one of the occupations with the highest growth rate, at 30.7%. This is largely due to the low entry barrier and the availability of adequate support and free resources which can be accessed by anyone, from anywhere and at any time. Many times, years of experience does not come to play here, technology gives everyone a chance especially in software. With resources (power, internet, and a computer) and good skills, anyone can reach great heights facing little or no educational, racial, professional, geographical and age barriers.
A classic example is the story of Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of the 540 Billion dollar social networking platform, Facebook. He founded the company as a student in college by solving a basic communication problem for the millennial, a problem the world didn’t know existed. With over 2 billion users already registered on the platform, Facebook is currently quarter-way into its journey to connect the 7 billion humans in the world. One thing very much underrated most times stories like these are told, is the place of preparation.
Mark Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software in middle school. Edward Zuckerberg (Mark Zuckerberg’s Father), taught Mark BASIC Programming in the 1990s, and later hired software developer David Newman to tutor him privately. Edward got so tired of fighting with his four kids for internet access on one phone line, that he had the entire house wired for high-speed cable. Mark said to his father, ‘Well, you already have everything networked together in the house. I can build you a network’. This was called ZuckNet, and it allowed Edward’s front desk and his other exam rooms to communicate with each other through the network.
This was the beginning of the journey for Mark to connect much more than his home — the world.
Mark Zuckerberg was prepared for the future we all so much admire today
Q: How are we preparing our kids and the kids around us for such future?
Nigeria runs largely on a consumer economy, and this doesn’t give the kids much to look up to. This is carving the experiences of these kids and showing them a future without the ability to create, invent, innovate, build and solve problems. Whether these kids are specializing in tech as an occupation or not, it is very important that they are exposed to STEM early enough.
Partnering with TechQuest on her mission to train one million kids in STEM by 2020, and vision for every African child to know how to program a computer, has been both challenging and fulfilling. It almost feels impossible and daunting right now, but when I see kids’ faces light up in excitement when they figure something out, or when they understand how something works, I get excited about the journey and super motivated to keep at it. These are exciting times, and I’m really excited about the future we are creating.
Coding is a new language. Every child deserves to be fluent.” — AfricaCodeWeek
Its never too late to start out in tech and also never too early.
No matter who you are, where you are, what you look like, what you do…realize this; Tech has or will have a great impact on whatever you are currently doing or you will ever do. So, if you will like to start your kid out on the right journey, you can hit up TechQuest; and if you will like to start out yourself as a college student or an adult, feel free to hit up the guys at Consonance Club or Forloop and you’ll get the guidance you need to get started in creating our future.
“Our future must be built by us, and not imported (no matter how cheap)”