Does IT need a fresh coat of paint?

I almost posted a shortned url, but I'm aware of how wary people are of them.

Today I returned home after working with 150 young people all keen to set up some sort of entrepreneurial activity (If you are interested, Click here) to see this in my email in box: 

Only 5% of Brits think IT is a fulfilling career choice

Ouch! I fear this comes back down to language, and the interpretation of what IT entails. I am afraid that in many schools, the teaching of IT has not been ideal, and I have seen and heard it said so many times: "IT is boring". This may be disputed, but the fact is that many IT lessons were not taught by people with any expertise - it was sometimes simply a matter for schools to get teachers who knew anything (or in some cases, next to nothing) to 'teach'

I have heard this before.  Having worked with students in the last 4 years or so, often in work experience scenarios, I heard it too often.  I also watched my own son who had some real physical challenges (he suffers from PSC and severe arthritic complications).  He has been keen on using computers all of his life. Because I worked at Apple, they also had access to some fantastic kit, but he hated IT. Isn't that strange?  He is at University now, studying Graphic art, and guess what?  He uses computers and tablets all the time.  There is little he cannot do, but ask him about IT and he'll frown. Why? It was school. IT seemed to consist of sitting him in from of a screen and asking him to create Powerpoints, to type documents, or name the parts of a computer - time and time again. I regret not intervening earlier, but I won't dwell on the detail (although it would astound you).  

Joke - yes, but it happened.....almost like this.

So - only 5% of young people would see IT as a fulfilling career choice. 

How do we get around such a dim view of IT.  What do the industry say?

"However, when asked which job would have the highest satisfaction, most IT and technology employees (14%) chose their own industry."

14%? Only 14%? Something is going very wrong, and bear in mind that the other 86% are possibly out there portraying the industry as less than ideal?

Of course, comedies such as the "IT Crew" hardly portrayed the industry as cutting edge, but it does reflect a certain amount of the stereotypes that brand IT.  It just gets close to the bone occassionally, and I don't know about you, but I see people I have met in the characters in the "IT Crew" as well as in cartoon strips like "Dilbert"

Yet, we know that there are strong individual models of what can happen when IT takes off. The fortunes to be made whether from the geeky starting point or not. 

Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad Technologies, said: “The IT and technology sector has yet to shake the stereotype of being an unfulfilling sector to work in. But workers on the inside of the profession know IT is constantly throwing up new challenges and opportunities for professionals in the trade. It is, after all, one of the fastest evolving industries of the 21st century."

Personally, I fear we have too many people in IT that have found it difficult to move their mindset over to new ways of thinking. For this reason, there needs to be a movement to change attitudes, perceptions and professional requirements.

Just over a year ago there was a similar survey that looked (this time) at how fulfilled UK IT professional felt.  Mike Beresford was quoted in that article also:

"The survey also revealed that more than a third (38%) of British IT professionals believe a person’s characteristics are the most important influence on achieving potential. Over two fifths (43%) said determination is the most important personal characteristic, while 39% said adaptability and 39% said a strong work ethic."

Didn't anyone listen?

Personal Characteristics, Determination, Adaptability and strong work ethic........ 

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