May 22, 2007
As part of OSC, I'm involved in trying to get more kids into science and technologies. We've done a very unscientific survey, the top three issues to enrolling in engineering for the students surveyed 1) No time for the additional work classes in computers bring, 2) no money in Hi-tech 3) Hi-Tech is boring. About 1) in Ontario they have eliminated grade 13th, which means they have one less year to take as many sciences classes as before, so students shoot for maths, and since they want to have high avg they don't take more difficult classes than necessary. About 2) the bubble burst is a possible explanation, the FUD about all jobs going offshore is also probably to blame. About 3) they picture all computer people working on a computer, not talking to anyone and typing away. On a more positive note where I relate more with them about their job in the future, 1) they want to work in something the will enjoy, 2) they want to have a job when they graduate and 3) they want to make more money. As for my assessment - We need to get more students in tech - between now and 2010, ICTC is evaluating there will be a need for 89000 people in the tech business, already now we're literally at full employment in tech from ictc and stats can, and we graduate about 1500 students with bachelor degrees in comp sciences and eng across Canada - we have a problem! - We need to get the students who are interested in eng to consider it - if they like solving problems and building stuff - engineering is for them, we need to find a way to reach out to them. Same thing with women - engineering is mostly a male populated field. The field is literally turning off 50% of the population, how do we open up?