Tweens and Technology

Cybersecurity interns and entry level recruits aren't dropped off by the stork - they need to be nurtured!

I have written much about the need to better equip the children of today for the jobs of tomorrow, particularly when it comes to building a knowledgeable and capable cybersecurity workforce. The Cisco Annual Cybersecurity Reports and many other organizations with a vested interest in a ensuring a good pipeline of entry level recruits, have been highlighting the gap between available resources and cybersecurity job openings for many years now. Despite theirs, and many others, best efforts, the gap between demand for cybersecurity professionals and the available supply, appears to be getting larger each year. 

This is not that our cyber and technology-equipped school leavers aren't increasing numerically or in the depth of their skills, but that those numbers are not increasing fast enough to keep pace with demand. 

A lot of children are also being left behind, starting school with little to no exposure to math, sciences or technology. Many lack a computer at home or any form of access to the Internet till they get to school age, by which time they are well and truly left behind. Many children today learn the basics of computing and technology at 2 or 3, at or before Pre-School. They arrive in Kindergarten with the know-how to operate a computer, engage in educational games and other learning content and will be on their way to basic programing by second or third grade. Starting early appears to be critical to success in life, and with technology as perhaps the critical pillar for academic study, work, and success after school, who can blame parents for wanting their children to be provided every opportunity for development and future success. 

But many children are disadvantaged by poverty, unequal access to education and parent(s) working 3 jobs and therefore are not able to spend time with their off-spring at a critical stage of their development. This is where Tweens and Tech comes into play, providing educational technology-based summer camps and free computers to primary and middle school children in the Raleigh Durham area of North Carolina. But Tweens and Tech provides much more than that, so please read their words on their website rather than mine on this one - a great organization performing a worthy and noble cause, and one replicating quickly in other states across the country.

Today I was pleased to join a Fireside Chat with Dr. Anindya Kundu, a Senior Research Fellow at the City University of New York who has written extensively in early childhood development, Rob Martin from Cisco who helped start the Tweens and Tech organization with Derrick Thompson its founder, and two participants of the program - one a current student, the other a graduate of the program and now a teen volunteer.  
Watch the video recording of our discussions below:

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