This rant – and I apologise as this is overtly a rant – is borne out of my experience over the last decade of working in the tech sector. Specifically, it is a rant about parents who are ill-informed and provide possibly the world’s worst career guidance to their children.
Everyone knows the biggest inhibiting factor to the growth of the digital sector locally, nationally (and I’d argue internationally) is the lack of talented people. It is important here not to fall into the first piece of misinformation – the talent required in the tech sector is not just coders/programmers/techies. The tech sector needs (just look at the job adverts): sales people, project managers, marketing people, administrators, HR teams... the list goes on.
So why then do many people like me spend days on end in schools, talking to kids about career opportunities in the tech sector, for those same kids to go home and for their parents to immediately – and without real insight – knock any enthusiasm out of their own offspring. I’ve heard many examples of:
- “there’s no local tech companies around here”
- “all the computer-related jobs are in India and China”
- “you can’t earn a living making computer games”
- “don’t think about that, get a proper job”
So, let’s quickly march through some real insight:
One – there are thousands of live vacancies across the country for jobs in the tech sector. I challenge you to find an area of the UK that doesn’t have good, thriving tech companies. If you think you live in one – just look at the Tech Nation report and I think you’ll be wrong.
Two – yes, there are lots of ‘computer related jobs’ in China and India (and other areas) but they are not replacing UK jobs. See point one and the vacancies as evidence of this.
Three – whilst I’d agree that tech jobs shouldn’t be limited to those companies who make computer games (just look at the tech jobs in the financial, engineering and public sectors as examples) there are some amazing games companies with vacancies in the UK. See Ubisoft, Coatsink and Double 11 as just a few North East examples.
Four – if I really have to comment on the tech sector being a ‘proper job’ you’ve perhaps missed the point of this blog. If you aren't convinced, I challenge you to come along to any of the events held at Sunderland Software Centre, and see for yourself what a thriving sector we have in the region!
Tech Talent Charter among UK initiatives to boost diversity in tech