As a parent, if your child says they want to be a footballer, you might organise after-school football coaching sessions. For active pre-schoolers with dreams of performing on stage, dance classes nurture that passion.
But what future career paths lay ahead of children who show an affinity for technology?
We’ll let you in on a little-known secret — there are more options than you might think!
How children’s love of tech translates into a career
Today, for International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), we’re highlighting the range of careers available to girls — and boys — that build on an interest in tech, science and engineering but go way beyond the usual suspects of video game designer and coder.
We asked Grant Smith, Vice President of Education for kid’s coding specialist Code Ninjas, about the opportunities — and why parents should encourage them to explore their love of tech from a young age. Here are some of the possible careers for your child’s interests.
Tech & engineering careers for your child’s interests
What your child likes: Art, clay modelling, drawing, photography
Possible careers: Creative industries – graphic designer, architect, marketing professional
The UK’s creative industry contributed £101.5 billion to the UK economy in 20171, and much of that is down to the demand for digital creative professionals, like video game designers and videographers. Children that are more creative – the ones who love an afternoon of finger painting or Playdough modelling – could actually be cultivating skills perfect for a career in the creative sector. And understanding the fundamental systems that operate in their field is just as important as their natural flair for creativity.
The occupations listed above demand an ability to utilise digital tools confidently. Exposing your child to these digital skills as early as possible will help them stand out from competitors once the time comes for them to enter the workforce.
What your child likes: Their toy doctor’s bag, biology, playing teacher
Possible careers: Healthcare and public services industries – doctor, nurse, teacher
All healthcare professionals utilise some form of technology-driven system in their daily work. And as technology continues to advance, teachers are expected to keep up with the digital resources that schools use to deliver their curriculum.
Training to become a doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, a primary school teacher or any other public service role takes a lot of dedication. If your child is passionate about helping others – whose child hasn’t wanted to play doctors and nurses after a sibling has taken a tumble? – then encouraging an interest in STEM subjects, and exploring this interest early on, means they’ll be equipped with some of the initial knowledge required before the word ‘university’ has even been mentioned.
What your child likes: Airplanes, cars, organising games
Possible careers: Corporate industries – banker, CEO, accountant
Okay, so your daughter – or son – may not necessarily have aspirations of preparing profit and loss reports, but many do show early on that they love numbers and will grow up one day to lead and inspire people. Ada Lovelace, the English mathematician and writer, was only 12 when she first became interested in flight and the economics of air travel.
All visionaries and leaders require technology to reach their goals – and the world still needs more female CEOs. Only six women hold positions of power at the UK’s top 100 firms2.
How many girls study STEM subjects?
Despite more girls than ever showing an interest in STEM subjects, only 26% opt to study these at university3. By exposing your daughter to the wonders of STEM skills early on, you’re equipping her with the ability to truly stand out from the crowd.
“First and foremost, it’s crucial that children are given the opportunity to just be children – to have fun and explore STEM education in a safe environment. During lockdown, families are spending more time than ever before at home, which provides a fantastic opportunity for parents to recognise their children’s passions and encourage exploration of those,” Grant Smith says. “Try free gaming software or online tutorials that teach children the basics of coding – a digital language that covers so much more than just how to play video games. Coding teaches children how to communicate effectively, how to work as part of a team, and how to have confidence in their own abilities. You never know, you might have the next Ada Lovelace in the making.”
For free coding activities that your child can work through at home, visit blog.codeninjas.com.
1 Creative Industries Federation, 2019, Global Talent: Securing the future workforce of the UK economy.
2 Hampton-Alexander Review, 2019, Improving gender balance in FTSE Leadership.
3 WISE, 2019, Campaign for gender balance in science, technology & engineering annual report.